PRESS ADVISORY, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mat Louis-Rosenberg
Phone: 304-449-NVDA (6832)
Dozens of people to walk onto strip mine next week, shut it down
Who: RAMPS (Radical Action for Mountain Peoples’ Survival), local and regional allies, activists from around the country.
What: The Mountain Mobilization–largest in U.S. history protest to shut down a strip mine in Southern West Virginia. The movement against mountaintop removal has been gaining ground, with the longest tree sit in the history of the eastern US last summer, coal barge and truck blockades this Spring, and June’s sit-ins in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, environmental protections are under attack by politicians serving corporate interests. “Mountain Mobilization” is part of a national uprising against fossil fuels taking place this summer. In sharp contrast to Washington inaction, ordinary citizens around the country are turning to the proud American tradition of direct action– from July 28’s Stop The Frack Attack protest in Washington D.C. to August’s Coal Export Action in Helena, Montana. RAMPS and allies will not back down until the Obama Administration takes decisive action to protect American communities from these extreme extraction industries.
When: Wednesday July 25 – Wednesday August 1, with mass walk-on to a strip mine July 28
Where: Southern West Virginia. Contact us to be present for the mass walk-on on July 28.
Why: Demand the end to a mining practice that is destroying communities and an end to government inaction. Mountaintop removal is a high-technology mining technique that has reduced employment in Appalachia and endangered the health and safety of mountain communities. Numerous studies have shown clear links between the technique and cardiovascular disease, birth defects, cancer, and other illnesses. Junior Walk, a native of southern West Virginia’s Coal River Valley who has experienced first-hand the health impacts of growing up with polluted water, says, “King Coal is feeling the pressure like never before, and that means this is the most important time to ramp up resistance. Now is when we decide if we let the coal industry strip it all before deserting Appalachia or if we send them packing while we still have mountains.”
Pro-mountain activists board coal barge and blockade Kayford strip mine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Contact: Robert Livingston 304.731.1740
KAYFORD, W.Va. –Mountain Justice and RAMPS activists blocked coal
transport in two locations Thursday morning. Five boarded a barge
on the Kanawha River near Chelyan, with a large banner that
read “Coal leaves, cancer stays,” and locked their bodies to the barge. At
the same time, dozens of concerned citizens obstructed access to the haul
road on Kayford Mountain, stopping coal trucks from entering or
leaving the Republic Energy mine.
“These actions against coal transport were taken because the viability and
health of mountain communities are being destroyed by mountaintop
removal—the coal and the profits are shipped away, leaving disease and
destruction in their wake,” Rebecca Loeb, one of the people on the barge
According to Nathan Joseph, another activist on the barge, the struggle
against mountaintop removal in Appalachia is linked to the struggles of
other fossil fuel extraction communities across North America and the world.
“The coal industry's continued disregard for the well-being of Appalachian
communities is connected to the struggles of other North American
extraction communities. Strip mining tar sands for
low-quality oil, fracking for dirty gas and deep sea oil drilling are signs we are scraping the bottom of the barrel. The extraction,
transport, processing and combustion of these fuels all disproportionately impact low-income communities, indigenous communities,and communities of color,” Joseph said.
According to a
study co-authored by Dr. Michael Hendrix in 2011, a researcher at West Virginia
University, “Self-reported cancer rates were significantly higher in the
mining versus the non-mining area after control for respondent age, sex,
smoking, occupational history, and family cancer history (odds ratio =
2.03, 95% confidence interval = 1.32–3.13). Mountaintop mining is linked to
increased community cancer risk.” The study's researchers collected data from 773 adults in door-to-door
As people in West Virginia see the lack of opportunities, they often leave
the area to pursue a future elsewhere. Larry Gibson, of Kayford said, “Our
biggest export in this state besides coal is our young people.”
Marilyn Mullens of Coolridge, W.Va., said “Clean water and air is a human
right. My electricity is not worth my human rights being violated–I’ll live
with the lights off. I want my children and grandchildren to enjoy the
beauty of West Virginia. We’re tired of the corporations lording over us,
and no one is hearing our voices, so it’s time to take it further than
talking.” Mullens is an organizer of Women United to End Mountaintop
Removal, a May 28 event, in which women will shave their heads in front of
the W.Va. Capitol in protest of mountaintop removal.
“For the past 150 years the coal industry has been pillaging this place and
taking everything, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake.
I am personally very thankful to these young folks who ain't from around
here necessarily who decided to put their freedom and bodies on the line to
stop this vicious cycle, even if it is just for one day,” Junior Walk of XX
said, “I would love to see some of my native West Virginia brothers and
sisters stand up and tell this industry they can't do this anymore.”