Mountaintop removal protested in Washington

Washington, DC - Thousands of protestors came to the capitol today to draw attention to the devasting impacts of the nation's addiction to coal upon America's mountains and mountain communities. Organized by Appalachia Rising, about a hundred protestors were arrested in fron the the White House, including the well-known climate scientist James Hansen, while others planned to meet with EPA officials who are now reviewing a list of disputed permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.  "The science is clear, mountaintop removal destroys historic mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air with coal and rock dust," said Hansen. Appalachia Rising is calling on the White House to put a halt on active mines and a moratorium on new permits. An article earlier this year n the journal Science pointed out that there has been a global 30-year increase in surface minin, which is now "the dominant driver of land-use change in the central Appalachian ecoregion of the United States." One of the authors of this study, Margaret Palmer from the University of Maryland, testified last year before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, who pointed out that the impacts of mountaintop removal and valley fills are "immense and irreversible, and there are no scientifically credible plans for mitigating these impacts."

An article in the New York Times noted that many banks are now wary of investing in mountaintop removal practices. Rainforest Action Network and Sierra Club have been monitoring and reporting on bank investments in this area. Their report card notes that PNC Bank "finances mining companies responsible for almost half of all mountaintop removal coal mined in the US."

Some may recall that CitNet and the Appalachian Coaliation for Just and Sustainable Communities has hosted the Appalachian Coal-fields Delegation at past meetings of the United Nations to help bring this issue to a wider audience.

Video of Washington protest on YouTube.

Mountains and communities devasted by search for coal

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