Today at RAN HQ, we had a visit from Larry Gibson from Kayford Mountain, WV. Larry’s been fighting Big Coal for 25 years. He faces the violence, lies and oppression of the coal industry almost on a daily basis. The mountain where he lives, Kayford mountain is, as he calls it a green “knob” sticking up out of the barren landscape devastated by mountaintop removal. He calls the view from his land to look at the devastation “Hell’s Gate” People associated with the coal industry have committed 70+ acts of violence and much more property destruction on Kayford Mountain all aimed at intimidating Larry and others from speaking out.
This week, EPA admin Lisa Jackson announced that they’d be delaying and reviewing two permits for mountaintop removal mining operations and calling into question more that 100 pending permits that threaten mountains, waterways and communities across Appalachia.
That’s a big deal for a region that has been devastated by mountaintop removal coal mining.
But one day after the big announcement, the EPA released a clarification saying that although the permits were under review, they expected that “the bulk of these pending permit applications will not raise environmental concerns.”
“Not raise environmental concerns?” WTF? Why?
Because Big Coal has some deep pockets, that’s why. In less than 24 hours, the industry quickly mobilized a massive army of lobbyists (2,000+ of them) and reactionary politicians (like WV Gov. Joe Manchin) to lobby against a mountaintop removal moratorium.
Right now, we may not have thousands of lobbyists and millions of dollars, but the No Coal movement is stronger than ever.
Today, RAN launched an online campaign to tell Lisa Jackson to ban mountaintop removal and revoke all existing permits (like at Coal River Mountain). Tell her now to ban mountaintop removal!
Lots more happening on the ground in WV and elsewhere to rock Big Coal’s world. They may have money and lobbyists and dirty politicians, but we have people power, creativity and the persistence to win.