Jun 30: 13 arrested in protest at Dominion today

A protester rappels from the Belle Island Bridge as police wait for him on the ground.
RICHMOND, VA -- "Thirteen people were arrested today for blockading the entrance to Dominion Resources’ corporate headquarters to protest the company’s plan for a new coal-fired power plant in Southwest Virginia. The protest blocked Tredegar Street for more than two hours, with four college students forming a human chain with their hands encased in containers of hardened cement and a fifth dangling by a climber’s harness from the Lee Bridge footbridge that leads to Belle Isle... Blue Ridge Earth First!, along with another group called Mountain Justice, say the proposed $1.8 billion plant would emit too much mercury and carbon dioxide into the air, promote strip mining for coal in Southwest Virginia and cost consumers too much for electricity," Michael Martz, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Jun 23: Protect the coast but not West Virginia?

CHARLESTON, WV -- "The year was 1981 when Congress decided to save the U.S. continental shelf by declaring a moratorium on offshore gas and oil drilling and exploration... My mind wanders back to1981, and I must ask why Congress really voted for the moratorium without thinking of the other ecologically sensitive places it was giving tacit approval to destroying for the sake of energy consumption. Places such as West Virginia. There has been very little discussion given to the way mountaintop removal mining is, in many ways, more certainly a destructive force than drilling a few miles offshore from California or Florida," Dave Peyton, Charleston Daily Mail.

Jun 19: New Yorkers weigh in on mountaintop removal coal mining; Festival set for July 11-13

NEW YORK, NY -- "NY Loves Mountains was created to educate New Yorkers about our connection to the devastation of one of America’s greatest natural resources, the Appalachian Mountains, by a form of coal mining called Mountain Top Removal (MTR). Our mission is: (1) To forge a movement of New Yorkers calling for our state to ban the purchase of MTR coal from Central Appalachia and replace that coal-generated energy with clean alternatives available to us through wind and solar power, (2) To support and promote the efforts of grassroots organizations to bring a clean energy economy to the communities of Appalachia, and to build a strong renewable energy infrastructure in New York, and (3) To create a dynamic network of artists from NY and Appalachia giving voice to Mountain Justice," New York Loves Mountains.

Jun 17: How clean coal cooks your brain

SEATTLE, WA -- "Several years ago, in Gillette, Wyoming, I fell into a long conversation with the vice-president of a large American coal company about coal's public image problem. Gillette is in the center of the Powder River Basin, the epicenter of the coal boom in America, where 60 foot seams of coal lay just below the surface. This vice president, who did not want his name to appear in print, was deeply concerned about coal's future and expressed frustration with environmental attacks on coal, suggesting that it was all a problem of perception: 'People don't like coal because it's black,' he told me. 'If it were white, all our problems would be solved.' Whenever one of those slick ads for 'clean coal' pops up on CNN, I think about that conversation in Gillette," Jeff Goodell, World Changing.

Jun 16: Nick von Stein, Congressional candidate, pledges to co-sponsor mountaintop removal ban

HAMILTON -- "Nick von Stein, Democratic candidate for Congress from Ohio's 8th District has pledged, if elected, to co-sponsor the Clean Water Protection Act, an effective ban on mountaintop removal coal mining. Von Stein is an U.S. Air Force veteran and a graduate student pursuing his Master's degree in Political Science at Miami University in Oxford. He is running against U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester), who has represented the district since 1991. The 8th District includes parts of Butler, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery and Preble Counties. Current Ohio co-sponsors for the Clean Water Protection Act include Cong. Betty Sutton, Dennis Kucinich, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, and Tim Ryan. Congressional candidates Mike Carroll and George Mays have also pledged to co-sponsor the bill if elected," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Jun 12: EPA finds no mayflies near mining

Because Mayflies are very sensitive to pollution they are good indicators of impacts on aquatic life and overall water quality.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "Federal government scientists have found that mountaintop removal is eliminating mayflies in the creeks downstream from large mining operations, according to a new study being published later this year. The findings not only indicate mountaintop removal is harming aquatic bugs, but also show large-scale mining is damaging overall water quality downstream from valley fills. Two U.S. Environmental Protection Agency experts drew this conclusion as they continued research started as part of a broad federal study of mountaintop removal prompted by a citizen lawsuit," Ken Ward Jr., Charleston Gazette.

Jun 11: Beyond Hell’s Gate

KAYFORD MOUNTAIN, WV -- "What is Hell’s Gate? It is a simple metal gate on Kayford Mountain that separates Larry Gibson’s property from an active mountaintop removal site. Once you pass Hell’s Gate it is like you are transported to an entirely different planet. Or, as the name would suggest, Hell on Earth," The Backwoods Drifter.

Jun 4: George Mays, Congressional candidate, pledges to co-sponsor mountaintop removal ban

NORWALK -- "George Mays, candidate for Congress from Ohio's 5th District has pledged, if elected, to co-sponsor the Clean Water Protection Act, an effective ban on mountaintop coal removal. He wrote, 'I will gladly co-sponsor this bill.' Mays, a small businessman in Norwalk, holds a B.S. in psychology from Campbellsville College in Campbellsville, Kentucky, and a Masters of Divinity from Ashland University. He is running against first-term Congressman Bob Latta in the 16-county Northwest Ohio district. Latta won a special election last December to complete the term of U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor, who died Sept. 5, 2007. Gillmor, who was 68 when he died, had represented the district for nearly 20 years. Current Ohio co-sponsors for the Clean Water Protection Act include Cong. Betty Sutton, Dennis Kucinich, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, and Tim Ryan. 4th District Congressional candidate Mike Carroll has also pledged to co-sponsor the bill if elected," Paul Ryder, Organizing Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Jun 2: Congressional candidate Mike Carroll pledges to co-sponsor ban on mountaintop removal

MANSFIELD -- "On Saturday, Mike Carroll, candidate for Congress from Ohio's 4th District, pledged, if elected, to co-sponsor the Clean Water Protection Act, an effective ban on mountaintop coal removal. In a message to Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director of Ohio Citizen Action, Carroll wrote, 'I will indeed co-sponsor this legislation when I am elected.' Carroll has been a steelworker at AK Steel in Mansfield for 24 years. He is running against first-term Congressman Jim Jordan in the district that stretches from Lima to Mansfield. District 4 was represented by Mike Oxley from 1981 to 2007," Ohio Citizen Action.

May 28: Bill aims to outlaw coal mined by removing mountaintops
Utilities say move would boost costs

Rep. Pricey Harrison North Carolina state Rep. Pricey Harrison proposed the bill.
RALEIGH, NC -- "Half the coal burned by Progress Energy's and Duke Energy's power plants would become illegal in North Carolina under legislation proposed Tuesday by state Rep. Pricey Harrison. The Guilford County Democrat wants to outlaw importation of coal that has been extracted by a controversial form of strip mining known as mountaintop removal. The process involves blowing up several hundred feet of mountaintop to expose embedded veins of coal. The state's power companies say Harrison's proposal would force utilities to buy more expensive coal and raise the cost of electricity for consumers," John Murawski, The Raleigh News and Observer.

May 21: Obama's coal stance, in Kentucky and beyond

Four Corners Power Plant KENTUCKY -- "Obama won back some support from coal interests in 2006 when he joined up with Sen. Jim Bunning, the Kentucky Republican, to push huge subsidies for developing liquefied coal as an alternate transportation fuel. If realized, the technology would greatly increase demand for coal in Illinois and elsewhere, but environmentalists are dead set against it, saying it would produce even more climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions than using petroleum in cars... Under fire from environmentalists, Obama a year ago backed away from his alliance with Bunning, voting against a large package of subsidies for the technology and for a more limited package that was opposed by the coal industry; in the end, neither passed," Alec MacGillis, Washington Post.

May 20: The mountain that lost its top
It's the one environmental crime that no US politician will confront -– the destruction of Kentucky's mountains

LONDON, United Kingdom -- "At 29, Ms Blanton developed cancer, which she survived. But many of her friends and neighbours from Harlan County died young, and she has dedicated the past two decades of her life to helping those threatened by coal-mining interests and getting the word out to an uninterested American public about the ecological devastation which is taking place in Appalachia. 'For the last 100 years Kentucky has provided the coal that fuelled America's growth and wealth,' she said. 'But our wages are low and our schools and hospitals are lousy. This is one of the poorest places in America and I often think that it is deliberately so, so that they can do whatever they want to this polluted community,'" Leonard Doyle, The Independent.

Apr 28: Mine's selenium deforms fish, expert says

Larva shows a deformed spine in an S-shape, typical of scoliosis.
CHARLESTON, WV -- "Selenium pollution from one of West Virginia's largest mountaintop removal mines is dangerously poisoning Mud River fish, leaving some with serious deformities, according to one of the nation's leading experts on the issue. Fish samples showed some specimens with two eyes on one side of the head, and others with curved spines, according to a report filed in federal court by fisheries biologist A. Dennis Lemly. Lemly blamed high concentrations of selenium in discharges from the Hobet 21 mountaintop removal complex upstream from the Mud and from the Mud River Reservoir. 'The Mud River ecosystem is on the brink of a major toxic event,' Lemly said in a report, filed April 18 in U.S. District Court in Huntingto," Ken Ward, Jr. , Charleston Gazette. Published April 27.

Apr 25: Three companies agree to limit mountaintop mining

mountaintop removal

HUNTINGTON, WV -- "A trio of coal companies has agreed to temporarily limit operations at three mountaintop removal mines opposed by environmentalists. The deal struck Wednesday settles the latest round in a long-running battle pitting the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and several other groups against the Army Corps of Engineers and coal mine operators. OVEC won a court ruling in March 2007 that the corps violated federal law by issuing valley fill permits for mountaintop removal mines without conducting extensive environmental reviews. OVEC contends three Clean Water Act permits the corps issued in March "suffer from the same defects" cited by U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers in 2007 when he rescinded permits issued for four Massey Energy Co. mines. Chambers followed that decision up in June with a ruling that using settling ponds to remove sediment from streams at mountaintop removal coal mines violates the Clean Water Act," Tim Huber, Forbes. Published April 23.

CHARLESTON, WV -- Coal operators agree to limit valley fills, Ken Ward Jr., The Charleston Gazette.
Published April 24.

Mar 25: WVU study: Coal counties have higher disease rates

CHARLESTON, WV -- "West Virginians who live in the state's coal counties are more likely to have heart attacks, lung disease and diabetes, according to a new West Virginia University study. Higher levels of coal production are associated with higher rates of a variety of lung, heart and other illnesses among residents, according to the study. Based on phone interviews with nearly 16,500 residents, the study may be the first of its kind to examine health effects of living in U.S. coal-mining communities. Researchers used county-by-county coal production figures to compare whether residents living in areas with more mining suffered from higher rates of illnesses typically linked to coal-related pollution," Ken Ward Jr., Charleston Gazette.

Feb 28: Mountaintop revival
Local evangelical Christians join environmentalists in an unlikely union to fight mountaintop removal mining in Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, TN -- "Pat Hudson gathers with a small group of Christian church leaders on a ridge overlooking a flattened mountain that was once higher than where they stand. On this trip to a 'sacrifice zone' in the heart of Kentucky coal country, they have heard the dire statistics and the bleak stories of the area families whose faucets run with poison water, whose children suffer from breathing disorders, and whose homes no one will buy. But it is looking down on the moonscape that once was a lush Appalachian mountain that brings on anguish and tears, as unavoidable as if standing before the open casket at the funeral of a beautiful child," Rick Held, Metro Pulse.

Dec 26, 2007: Coal's ascent is igniting a debate
West Virginians split over costs, benefits

Maria Gunnoe has been fighting to stop mountaintop-removal coal mining since her farm was flooded in June 2003. "Clean coal is a complete and total lie," said Gunnoe, who has reportedly received death threats. (Antrim Caskey/Boston Globe)

TWILIGHT, WV -- "On one side: environmentalists who want to sharply curtail coal use because of carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming and mining operations they say destroy the nature of a land and its people. On the other side: the coal industry and those who seek America's independence from foreign oil, who argue that technology can create 'clean coal' by burying the emissions in underground caverns. But almost no one in Washington - and none of the Democratic or Republican presidential candidates - has mentioned what increased dependence on inexpensive, plentiful coal means for the people living amid the excavations," John Donnelly, Boston Globe.


As of September 2, Ohio Citizen Action members have sent 28,512 messages and petition signatures urging presidential and congressional candidates to ban mountaintop removal coal mining.

Propose AMP Ohio coal plant

For more information:
Paul Ryder
(614) 263-4600