The past few months have been exciting in the struggle for mountain justice.
At Mountain Justice Spring Break, over 100 community members, students and individuals of conscious occupied the offices of West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin over the permitting of a 2nd coal silo next to Marsh Fork Elementary. Marsh Fork Elementary has become the posterchild for mountaintop removal as outlaw coal giant Massey Energy has a coal silo, a mountaintop removal site and sludge dam a few hundred feet from the school.
Then in late March, a judge handed down a decision in the year and a half old lawsuit filed against the Army Corps of Engineers by EarthJustice and the Appalachian Center for Economy and Environment on behalf of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Coal River Mountain Watch. The decision rescinded the permits for 4 surface mines operated by out-of-state coal company, Massey Energy saying the Corps has been permitting valley fills in violation of both the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Protection Act. This is a major victory for folks fighting Mountaintop Removal
This summer, there is much growing grassroots momentum around Mountaintop Removal and the national debate emerging on coal. My friends in the coalfields of Appalachia and other parts of the southeast are gearing up for another exciting summer with Mountain Justice Summercamp. The camp kicks off on May 20th and goes until May 27. The camp will prepare activists and organizers with a whole toolbox of skills to take on King Coal, Mountaintop Removal and Coal Burning utility plants that the Bush Administration is trying to push through.
RAN folks will be there to help out our friends in Mountain Justice Summer and talk about who’s financing big nasty coal from the cradle to the grave. The momentum of grassroots organizing and legal victories is taking hold and it’s now time to step things up for our climate and communities affected by coal extraction.