Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
Archive list of "E"- Notes newsletters

Click below to read articles online, or try the PDF version to view or print a replica of the paper newsletter.  Online version includes extra articles.

Winds of Change
December 2003


OVEC's Win in Clean Water Act Case Has Nationwide and MTR Permit Implications

Ode to Massey Coal - How to Do Energy All Wrong

Granny D, Doris Haddock: On the Road Again!

Massey Coal Ordered to Monitor for Mercury, Other Toxics

On the Road to Change

Flat Land, or Flat Out Lie?

Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Arouses Passionate Comments During Comment Period

Your EIS Comments - Big Brother at OSM Is Watching Us!

Corps Idea of "Minimal Impact" Challenged in Court

Jack Spadaro's Story:
Work for MSHA, Tell
the Truth, Get Fired

WV Supreme Court Agrees to Hear OVEC Member's Case Against Arch Coal

Mountaintop Removal Mining Photos

Another Massive Massey Sludge Impoundment Proposed

Global Warming Topic of Annual Conference on the Environment

Guess What? Those Rules SAVE $$$

Even AEP knows global warming is real!

Sludge Impoundments in Spotlight - Again

Meet the New Boss at the EPA - the Same As the Old Boss at the EPA ... Sigh ...

On Getting Along

Just Say NO to Mountaintop Removal / Valley Fills in Papua, New Guinea

They Get It in California...

Remembering Laura - Memorial Fund Helps Her Passion Live On

Gifts That Give Twice - Just in Time for the Holidays!



Web Extra Articles Below
(not in printed newsletter)

Six Million and One Reasons Why West Virginia Needs Clean Elections

Coal-bed methane attracts Halliburton to West Virginia

Public deserves a real
solution to slurry spills

For viewing the PDF version


Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Arouses Passionate Comments During Comment Period

by Vivian Stockman

As part of the comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on mountaintop removal/valley fill coal mining (MTR), several agencies that are supposed to regulate the mining industry hosted a public hearing in the Charleston Civic Center on July 24.

The hearing consisted of two separate three-hour sessions, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

At the evening session, folks opposed to MTR outnumbered industry supporters by about 3 to 1! Coalfield residents, including several who had never spoken out in public before, came out in force to tell it like it is to the people who are apologists for the destruction of the mountains.

Some MTR-supporters could be seen wiggling in their seats as they listened to our impassioned and informed tales of what is happening to our homes, communities and mountains. Some of the look-the-other-way regulators hosting the meeting looked quite perturbed.

Elaine Purkey brought tears to peoples eyes when, for her statement, she sang "Larrys Song." That song will be on the upcoming music CD about mountaintop removal. Novelist and lay preacher Denise Giardina also made outstanding comments, delivered as a sermon, which must have made some mountaintop removal apologists tremble.

"It was a privilege to hear the well-crafted words and feel the heartfelt sentiment of persons directly in the line of fire of the coal pillagers. These dedicated environmentalists and concerned citizens of a raped and diminishing West Virginia left no ugly stone unturned as they clearly presented not just the injustice being done, but the simple, how-be-it ignored solution: ban mountaintop removal and enforce coal laws already on the books. I am so impressed," Sandy Brady e-mailed after the hearing.

Freda Williams, Julian Martin, Larry Gibson, Bill Price, Judy Bonds,
Patty Sebok and others wait for the open doors outside
the EIS hearing venue in Charleston.

Chuck Wyrostok e-mailed, "One of the things that struck me was the coalfield residents mentioning several times to the agency reps that they (the residents) had never been visited, contacted or witnessed anyone examining MTR. How could you do an EIS without ever talking to anyone that lives there? Seems like the government doesnt want to experience the real deal, eh?"

Kathryn Stone e-mailed, "I felt as though I had attended a revival meeting last night as a true believer and got the call (or whatever the expression is!). Wow! I cannot help but believe that the consciences of some of the proponents of EIS were affected by those powerful speeches. Of course, they had to parrot the same old lines, but I thought I detected some deflation in tone. It definitely was a coalfield/environmentalist evening. What a great bunch of folks we have!"

Joan Mulhern, with Earthjustice in Washington, D.C., e-mailed, "It looks to me from the reports I have seen that everyone did a fantastic job of organizing for both hearings there were people speaking out, whatever the odds, about the travesty of mountaintop removal. And that it had an impact on the federal officials listening.

"I talked to several people on the Hill late this week who saw some of the stories, and I think it was very positive, from the inside-the-beltway perspective, anyway they saw (again) that there are people standing up for their rights, their communities, and their environment. That is so important. I hope everyone who participated feels good about it; I think everyone did great work."

To MTR true-believers the draft EIS is a dream document. The studies within the EIS document the massive destruction associated with MTR, but the recommended actions are to proceed as if the facts dont matter.

Everyone present knew that our speaking out that night wouldnt immediately stop the decapitation of another mountain or the burial of another streamnot right then, not the next day. But, everyone felt our power and our rational passion. What is happening in the coalfields drives us to speak out, sparks in us a commitment driven by an utter need to end the ecological insanity that is MTR. With so many committed people working to end MTR, we will prevail.

Remember to get your comments on the EIS in by Jan. 6, 2004. Please ask others to comment, too. We need to generate HUGE numbers of comments.

The 5,000-page EIS weighs almost 40 pounds and stands about 30 inches high when each of the 8.5 by 11-inch volumes are stacked up. Happy reading! But, dont worry, just please check the OVEC web site for information that will help you - and all your friends and family make EIS comments.

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