RAN’s Mike Brune, Dr. James Hansen and Daryl Hannah Risk Arrest to Stop Mountaintop Removal

Written by Nell Greenberg

Topics: Climate

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Today, RAN’s own Michael Brune is joining leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, actress Daryl Hannah, former Representative Ken Hechler, Goldman Prize winners, Judy Bonds and Maria Gunnoe, as well as dozens of Coal River Valley residents and allies in a protest to stop mountaintop removal. They will be risking arrest by crossing onto the property of leading mountaintop removal coal mining company, Massey Energy—purposely trespassing to protest the destruction of mountains immediately above the Coal River Valley community.

The politics and the protests around mountaintop removal have been heating up like crazy. This is the latest in a string of increasingly dramatic protests on mountaintop removal. And, comes after the Obama Administration’s announcement that the EPA will reform, but not abolish, the aggressive strip mining practice. This also comes just days before a Congressional hearin focused on, “The Impacts of Mountaintop Removal Mining on Water Quality in Appalachia.

As Dr. Hansen said in an oped yesterday on Yale Environment 360: “The Obama administration is being forced into a political compromise. It has sacrificed a strong position on mountaintop removal in order to ensure the support of coal-state legislators for a climate bill. The political pressures are very real. But this is an approach to coal that defeats the purpose of the administration’s larger efforts to fight climate change, a sad political bargain that will never get us the change we need on mountaintop removal, coal or the climate. Coal is the linchpin in mitigating global warming, and it’s senseless to allow cheap mountaintop-removal coal while the administration is simultaneously seeking policies to boost renewable energy….

…Politicians may have to make concessions on what is right for what is winnable. But as a scientist and a citizen, I believe the right course is very clear: The climate crisis demands a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants that do not capture and safely dispose of all emissions. And mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, should be permanently prohibited…

…We must make clear to Congress, to the EPA, and to the Obama administration that we the people want mountaintop removal abolished and we want a move toward a rapid phase-out of coal emissions now. The time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries is over. It is time for citizens to demand — yes, we can.”

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. willie says:

    this is great! i’ve been very happy about the increase in direct and dramatic actions on this front and have participated in some of them myself. I do want to make a point about our movement though, we must must must prioritize alternative job sources for these communities right up there with halting MTR. when the courts halted all new MTR permits back in 99 (or was it 2000?) the industry went up in arms about how it was going to cripple the whole state and since it really would impact a number of communities starved for jobs (thanks to strip-mining, union busting and other coal industry ploys) everyday people got really scared and were mobilized against the ban. The Appalachian coalfields needs jobs and we need not only to say this, but to really come up with plans that would provide for it like the Coal River Wind Project. And we don’t just need to advocate for these things with our messaging in the media, the lobbying arm of this movement needs to see to it that we have jobs in legislation. What about big coal money going to create jobs for people to really put some honest-to-god work into bio-remediating the “reclaimed” strip mines? what about money for an appalachian wind industry?

    I must also say that i am very wary of Dominion Power, Massey Energy or any of these folks getting into the wind game because they’ll just use to greenwash their image. also, i would prefer a world where our energy, food and other basic necessities of life are produced locally and where those means of production are held commonly amongst the local community.

    anyway, great work everyone! keep it up!


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  1. The Understory » Appalachians Speak Out (part 3)

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