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.”