Coalfield Leaders Taking Mountaintop Removal to the United Nations

Written by Matt Leonard

Topics: Coal

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On the opening day of UN CSD-15, members of the Appalachian Coalfield Delegation attended the US Briefing on Sustainable Energy Policy. During the briefing, one of the US representatives to the United Nations commented that the “United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal”.

One of the Appalachian Coalfield Delegates commented, “It must be true that the US Government sees Appalachia as the Saudi Arabia of coal”, according to Bo Webb of the Appalachian Coalfield Delegation and resident of Coal River, WV. “Its interesting, because some citizens believe the United States is bombing the middle east for oil. Well, one of the differences in bombing Appalachia, is that we know the US is bombing Appalachia for coal – its permitted each day by our federal government”.

According to the Appalachian Coalfield Delegation’s Report on Coal & Energy , “One million metric tons of explosives are used each year in Central Appalachia -by the coal industry- to blow up the mountains for coal extraction. This equals the explosive force of 58 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs”. The report also over-lays a photograph, in red, of the Hobot Coal Mine, located in Central Appalachia, over the city of Manhattan, where the UN is based, to give delegates from around the world an idea of how large one mine can be. (see photo)

In the coming days, the rest of the 20-member coalfield delegation -composed of incredible leaders from all over Central Appalachian – will ascend upon Manhattan for the United Nation Commission on Sustainable Development meetings on sustainable energy. The delegates believe extraction is not being discussed as part of national or global energy strategies, and are worried that so called “clean coal” will increase mountaintop removal coal extraction – devastating their lives and homes.

As such, the delegates are calling upon the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, through the commission’s CSD-15 policy recommendations, to promote an aggressive transition to energy conservation, energy efficiency, and just, renewable energy production and to implement policies to prevent further human rights violations.

On Tuesday, May 8th at 2pm the delegation will host a press event open to the public. The press conference will serve as a vehicle not only to deliver the delegation’s policy report on coal & energy, but also to expose the true cost of coal via a living art display. Stay turned for more info, or email changesistemikly@gmail.com for more info.

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(photo one: a single coal mine in Appalachia is larger then all of Manhattan, graphic by Appalachian Voices & Google Earth)

(photo two: explosion for mountaintop removal, photo likely by Vivian Stockman;)

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