Headed to Appalachia – How ‘bout You?

posted by Josh Ran

As organizing director at RAN, I’ve worked to support our campaign to break our addiction to fossil fuels, stop financing for the coal industry and put an end to mountaintop removal coal mining. Now I’m going to see it first-hand.

I’ve read a lot about how devastating mountaintop removal mining is for communities in Appalachia. I’ve seen pictures of sites that were once beautiful mountains and are now hideous, open sores on the landscape. I’ve cheered on efforts to save Coal River Mountain and turn it into a wind farm that would produce renewable energy instead of just a one-time carb fix. I’ve even seen a jar of the disgustingly murky water that runs from the faucet in coal-country (didn’t you think the U.S. had national standards for drinking water?). And I’ve heard stories first-hand from community members who are fighting to save their homes and their heritage, most recently in an inspiring and infuriating panel at Netroots Nation where the speakers strongly encouraged bloggers and others to come out and see what’s happening for themselves.

When I heard their invitation, I already had my ticket. When I read the call-out for people to come to Appalachia to support the tree-sitters who have temporarily stopped blasting at a Massey site, I was boarding a train to the airport. I don’t know at this point where the tree-sit will fit in with our plans (I hear that they’re arresting anyone who tries to get near them.). I’m certainly hoping that the tree-sitters will still be safely in place and that I’ll have a chance to show some support. I’ll find out when I get there.

I’m not sure when – or if- I’ll have internet access during the visit, but I’ll keep on typing and post what I can when I can. Stay tuned!

(PS – my flight out of SFO was delayed, and I missed my connection and wound up spending the night in Chicago, so I won’t be meeting up with my traveling companions until later this afternoon.)