Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

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News Coverage

OSM director must go to protect W.Va. mountains

Citizens Are Ready to Fight for Clean Air

Coal activists face off on Broadway

Environmentalists protest mountaintop removal mining

Environmental protest targets Consol

Protesters blast chief
of surface mining

Longwall-mining opponents dying to get more attention

Consol targeted by mining protesters

Editorial from Daily Mail

 Fair Use Notice


Coalfield Justice Day

June 23, 2003
Photos by Abraham Mwuara and Vivian Stockman

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Groups in three states rally simultaneously

Fed up with the coal industrys destructive mining techniques and negligent regulators, citizens in West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania rallied simultaneously on Monday, June 23, to demand better laws and enforcement for coalfield residents. Costumes, puppets, poetry, street theatre, speakers and musicians rocked the street demonstrations, while visiting activists from other states piggy-backed on our events by hanging banners on city buildings in acts of nonviolent civil resistance.  TV, radio and newspaper reporters covered events in all three states.. 

In West Virginia, about 100 of us (Janet Fout counted 85 folks as people were still arriving) met outside the Charleston branch of the federal Office of Surface Mining to demand an end to mountaintop removal coal mining. We called for the firing of OSM head Jeff Jarrett, who is responsible for the agency's ultra-lax enforcement of mining laws. He believes the Environmental Impact Statement on mountaintop removal should be used as a way to get different permitting agencies to work together to issue permits faster--despite the studies that show just how permanently destructive MTR is to communities and the environment.  

During our protests a group of activists from North Carolina hung a banner--"Mountaintop Removal Destroys Our Heritage"--on a nearby parking garage. (See photo below.) The banner was still hanging after our protest, but was apparently later taken down without incident.

About 100 people gathered in Lexington, Ky. to hear--over a solar-powered PA--speeches and street theatre about the problems associated with MTR and some possible alternative energy solutions. Four visiting activists (from Tennessee and North Carolina) scaled a walkway over one of the city's busiest streets to unfurl banners reading, "Stop Mountaintop Removal''  and "King Coal is Killing Kentucky.''  The Lexington Police arrested the four banner-hangers. Two were released on bail a few hours later. The other two refused to do an eye retina scan, which is now apparently a "routine" part of arrests in Kentucky, and were held overnight. 

In Pittsburgh, Pa., about 50 people converged on CONSOL Mining's headquarters to demand an end to the damages associated with longwall mining.  The activists joined Brandon Hudock who had been camping and fasting outside CONSOL since the Friday before the protest.

Yes, it is sad but true, we had to set aside a day to demand justice, cause we sure arent going to get it without asking, demanding, suing, pleading, raising awareness, and continuing to organize. See you at the next event!

Sponsors of the Coalfield Justice Day of Action included the Awareness Foundation, Big Sandy Environmental Coalition, Delbarton Environmental Community Awareness Foundation, Coal River Mountain Watch, Citizens Coal Council, Eastern Forest Defense League, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Kentucky Heartwood, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Mountain Watershed Association, Ten Mile Protection Network, Ten Mile Creek Watershed Conservancy, Tri-State Citizens Mining Network, Sierra Club, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the Wheeling Creek Watershed Conservancy.                     

Pictures from the Charleston, W.Va. protest outside the Office of Surface Mining

George Daugherty, the Earl of Elkview, warms up the gathering crowd.

OVEC board member Gregg Anthony, center, gets his point across.

King Coal crashed our event and was interviewed by MetroNews radio.

MetroNews interviews Pauline Canterberry (left), one of the Sylvester
Dustbusters who are trying to stop Massey Energy from covering
their town in coal dust. 

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