Mountain Justice Spring Break

Written by Scott Parkin

Topics: Coal

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This week I’m at Mountain Justice Spring Break with folks from all over Appalachia and the east coast. Ex-coal miners, college students, people from Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, California, West Virginia and lots more are here. Here’s the scoop from Marley Green…

85 Supporters of Mountain Justice gather at Natural Tunnel State Park for Spring Break

Duffield, VA – About 85 young participants from coal communities in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia, as well as students from colleges and universities across the country, are convening this week at Natural Tunnel State Park in Duffield, Scott County, Virginia, to participate in Mountain Justice Spring Break (MJSB), a program of Mountain Justice. The week-long program features workshops on supporting local campaigns to stop mountaintop removal coal extraction. The event began Friday, March 12 and will end Saturday, March 20, and will include working closely with coalfield residents.

“We’re here, and we’re all working together with the community to stop mountaintop removal coal mining and support sustainable economies,” said Jessie Dodson of Richmond, Virgina, an organizer of MJSB. “Coal companies like A&G are destroying our communities by polluting our water and air and making people sick.”

Supporters are making trips to see mountaintop removal coal sites in the region, as well as lending a hand with area service projects such as weatherization. Participants hope that the weatherization will reduce the impacts of rising energy costs. Mountain Justice supports these efforts as part of the move toward a more sustainable community and economy.

Participants in the program are taking classes in appreciation of Appalachian culture, the history of coal mining, the impacts of mining on mountain streams and rivers, alternative economic development, and community organizing. Local citizens concerned about mountaintop removal coal mining held a panel Saturday evening. One of the panelists was Dorothy Taulby, a former resident of Stonega, Virginia, who told her story of being flooded out of her house and being diagnosed with lung cancer.

“As a resident of a major coal state, it’s great to come together in a space with other young people from all over the country in order to work with the people of Appalachia in their own communities to create new clean energy economies and move away from mountaintop removal coal mining,” said Beth Bissmeyer of Louisville, Kentucky, a participant in MJSB.

Mountain Justice is an organization that seeks to stop mountaintop removal coal mining and build sustainable economies in the Appalachian region. It works to protect the cultural and natural heritage of the Appalachia coal fields by contributing with grassroots organizing, public education, nonviolent civil disobedience, and other forms of citizen action.

To learn more about the organization Mountain Justice, please visit:
www.mountainjustice.org

To learn more about the week-long program, please visit:
www.mjsb.org

Contact: Marley Green, green.marley@gmail.com

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