SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 2009
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

National Day of Action report back from Atlanta and Chatanooga

From United Mountain Defense: Nationwide Rally in Opposition of Mountaintop Removal Memorials for the Mountains Held in front of EPA Region 4 Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA-October 31, 2009 – This past Friday concerned citizens nationwide rallied at regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters and other locations for a National Day of Action, The actions were organized by Mountain Justice, Rainforest Action Network and allied organizations to protest mountaintop-removal coal mining (MTR). Members of United Mountain Defense and Atlanta locals held a memorial for the mountains in front of the EPA region 4 in downtown Atlanta to raise awareness of the devastating impacts of MTR and to ask the EPA to intervene in the destruction of Coal River Mountain, WV, the site of a potential 328-megawatt wind farm which Massey Energy began blasting this week. “Mountaintop removal is one of the greatest environmental and human rights crises plaguing this country. Appalachia cannot continue to be ignored and it is the responsibility of the EPA to protect Coal River Mountain.” said Bonnie Swinford, United Mountain Defense Board Member. Participants rallied to raise awareness of the Obama administration's questioning but not cancelling MTR permits that violate the Clean Water Act and various other environmental laws. Concerned citizens and coalfield residents cite numerous “appeasements” of the coal industry, in spite of Obama's campaign rhetoric opposing the destructive practice. These include continued permits for dumping hazardous mining waste into streams and valleys, weakening mining regulations intended to protect waterways, and appointing several former coal industry executives to regulatory positions. Millions of Americans who voted for the ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ of Obama’s campaign promises have been sadly disappointed. Over the course of this year, coalfield residents and concerned citizens alike have watched time and time again as the EPA and Obama administration ignored their pleas for justice and are continuing to wait for EPA chief Lisa Jackson to accept the invitation to visit the coalfield of Appalachia and see mountaintop removal first-hand. [youtube JlG6kOQwEqc] Nationwide Rally in Opposition of Mountaintop Removal Halloween Protest Held at Scary Polluter TVA Headquarters in Chattanooga, TN Atlanta, GA-October 31, 2009 – This past Friday concerned citizens nationwide rallied at regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters and other locations for a National Day of Action, The actions were organized by Mountain Justice, Rainforest Action Network and allied organizations to protest mountaintop-removal coal mining (MTR). Members of United Mountain Defense and Chattanooga locals dressed in costume and rallies in front of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s headquarters in downtown Chattanooga where trick or treaters passed out ‘I love mountains pins’, and pamphlets about the devastating impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining and raised awareness about the destruction of Coal River Mountain, WV, the site of a potential 328-megawatt wind farm which Massey Energy began blasting this week. “Mountaintop removal is one of the greatest environmental and human rights crises plaguing this country. “ Said Scott Ellis, United Mountain Defense board member. TVA is the largest purchaser of MTR coal in the country and they are deeply involved in the entire death cycle of coal from the blasting of our mountains to extract the coal to the storage of coal waste that can devastate communities in one day .” said Bonnie Swinford, United Mountain Defense Board Member. TVA owns and operates the Kingston coal plant, where last December an impoundment failed, spilling over 1 billion gallons of heavy metal-laden coal ash waste over an area of 300 acres. The spill has been called the worst environmental disaster in US history, which disproves the energy industry’s recent “clean coal” smokescreen. “The massive toxic fly ash disaster is just one more reason that coal is filthy. Coal fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, is an end result of the dirty life-cycle of coal,” explains Bonnie Swinford, a board member of United Mountain Defense, “which often begins with surface mining and mountaintop removal, followed by a washing process that produces coal toxin concentrate known as slurry. Mountaintop removal coal extraction has destroyed almost 500 mountains, and, in addition to coal slurry, continues to destroy water sources across Appalachia.” Mountaintop removal is the most destructive method of coal extraction, in which mountains are blown up to expose coal seams. This process destroys fragile mountain ecosystems, fills valleys and streams with waste, and leaves behind billions of gallons of toxic coal sludge that contaminates essential drinking water supplies for many cities surrounding Appalachia.

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