Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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March 2010

Coalfield Residents and Scientists Meet with Governor
A Victory in Fayette County
Carol Warren: Living the Dream of World Peace
EPA Approves Hobet 45 Mine
Sludge Safety Project Legislative Update
MTR Disproportionately Impacting Low-Income Americans
Before I Was Hungry
Coal Going Down, Naturally
Lindytown Twilight-ed into Darkness
Holding Government Accountable: Meetings, Meetings, Meetings
No CONSOL-A-Tion, Workers Misled About Possible Job Losses?
West Virginias Greatest Resource: Water
Alert Residents Contact DEP About Spill in Area Creek
WV Council of Churches Sets Legislative Agenda
Blair Mountains Historical Status Revoked, Group Will Appeal
Cemetery Protection Bills Introduced At Session
Supreme Court Ruling Makes Clean Elections Work Even More Important
The More Things Change ... Granny D on Campaign Finance Reform
20 - 30 Years of Surface Mining Left
Clean Elections Advance in West Virginia
OVEC Files Notice of Intent to Sue Massey Energy Over Water Violations
Coal-to-Liquid Plant: Jobs Over Health and Water?
End DC-Style Business As Usual Join Us in A New Campaign
Ken Do! Hechler Honored
We Hereby Resolve to Make a Difference
Meeting with the Governor and Kathy Mattea
Hundreds Rally at DEP For The Mountains
Organizing for the Mountains in Mercer County
Going Solar in Roane County - Off-Grid is Good
Watch It, Read It, Groove To It All to Protect It
Global Warming / Climate Instability in the Mountain State
Study: Mountaintop Mining Damage Pervasive and Irreversible
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Coal Company Depredations Endanger WV Family Cemeteries, Part Two
Byrds Words Rock the Coalfield Status Quo
Byrd - Old Senator, New Tricks Has King Coal Confused
A Yell Out to Yale
Standing Our Ground

For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

Winds of Change Newsletter, March 2010     See sidebar for table of contents

Meeting with the Governor and Kathy Mattea

Singer and Grammy-winner Kathy Mattea has been working with several parties to arrange a meeting aimed at diffusing tensions in the coalfields.

On Sunday, January 24, she came to the Governors Mansion, along with professional mediator John Kinyon, who practices under the tutelage of world-renowned non-violence and de-escalation communications expert Marshall Rosenberg.

They met with OVEC organizer Maria Gunnoe and Coal River Mountain Watch co-director Vernon Haltom, Governor Joe Manchin and his policy advisor Jim Pitrolo, First Lady Gayle Manchin, Ted Hapney with the UMWA, Dennis Sparks, executive director of the West Virginia Council of Churches, and legendary organizer and musician Si Kahn. Bill Raney, President of the West Virginia Coal Association, was invited, but was unable to attend.

"We are the people who are, in the face of dangerous attacks, voicing our open opposition to the impacts of mountaintop removal on our streams, land, people and future." Gunnoe said. "We are the local UMWA underground miners and retirees and their families who are being pushed out of our native homes by the unlivable conditions that out-of-state, non-union MTR coal mining has wreaked upon our communities.

"We have been working for years to get the people

in DC to hear us. While we have worked, communities have disappeared because of the encroaching MTR. The decision makers in DC are finally hearing us. We wont accept anything less than a ban on mountaintop removal coal mining, and we made this fact very clear at the meeting.

"Governor Joe Manchin proudly and strongly supports mountaintop removal, and we that live with it just cant understand that," Gunnoe continued. "As we are more successful in our struggle to stop this attack on Appalachia the very real threat of violence against us escalates."

At the Sunday meeting, the governor did agree to make a public statement the following day, after another meeting with coalfield residents (see page one). He said, "There is no place in West Virginia for violence. I wont tolerate violence and my West Virginia State Police wont tolerate it. We must have peaceful dialog about these passionate issues."

Both Gunnoe and Haltom spoke of the dangers coalfield citizens face on a daily basis overweight coal trucks, coal impoundments looming over homes with no realistic emergency evacuation plans, mountains exploding a few thousand feet from homes and the associated dust and chemical clouds that come from constant blasting, the reoccurring floods from the runoff from strip mines, the buried and poisoned streams.

They spoke of entire communities forced into extinction and access to generations-old cemeteries now blocked. They reminded the governor of the failure of so-called regulatory agencies to enforce laws against scofflaw coal companies.

"The governor seemed to understand when we asked him to be quick to remind folks of the call for peaceful dialog when anyone in power says inciting things towards the environmental community," Gunnoe said. "No one should be reacting violently towards innocent, peaceful people that are being forced out of their homes by the practice of MTR."

"We cannot expect too much from this meeting as we are very aware of the fact that Joe Manchin supports MTR. However he doesnt support the violence towards the environmental community."

If you hear or see threatening or inciting behavior against anyone working to end mountaintop removal, contact Matt Turner at Governor Manchins office at 1-888-438-2731. Hold Governor Manchin to his word. Also report any incidents to law enforcement.

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