Published on October 29th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan2
West Virgina Activists Risk Arrest, Plant Trees on Mountaintop Removal Mining Site
Mountaintop removal is something we cover on here pretty frequently. It is the horrible process of blowing the tops off mountains to get out dirty coal to burn for electricity, which then contributes greatly to global warming, water pollution, air pollution, and other problems.
Luckily, we are not the only ones concerned about this issue and there are a lot of activist efforts to address it. Most recently, Beth Buczynski of Care2 covered a big activism effort in West Virginia.
On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of West Virginians and their allies rallied on Kayford Mountain to protest the way that mountain top removal mining locations are abandoned by coal companies.
During the rally, individuals walked onto a neighboring mountain top removal mine site to plant native trees on a “reclaimed” area in an act of non-violent civil disobedience.
This action represented a call for the abolition of mountaintop removal and thorough reclamation of the over 1 million acres flattened by surface mining in Appalachia.
Kudos to these Appalachian activists!
Beyond the initial damage mountaintop removal does to mountain environments and the people who live in or near them, the restoration work mountaintop removal companies are required to do afterwards is done without care and very inadequately.
“The coal industry does not attempt to return the landscape to its previous biodiversity – leaving it up to the citizens to reclaim it themselves. Fixing the ruined landscape will provide long term jobs for those put out of work by the abolition of mountaintop removal,”said forester and environmentalist john johnson [sic].
A report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office earlier this year found that proper post-mining reclamation and restoration is not happening in Appalachia. Part of the reason for this failure is that coalfield states all have different requirements and often do not adequately enforce their own standards (NRDC).
If we are going to protect our mountains, it looks like grassroots activist efforts like this one in West Virginia are going to be necessary.
Photo Credit: Climate GroundZero