OVEC Celebrates 25 Years of Organized Voices and Empowered Communities!

Wow! Happy 25th Birthday OVEC!

Let’s all eat cake!

 

Who would have thought that OVEC would still be going strong considering our humble beginnings—a small committed group of people that stood up, spoke out and said “NO” to a major polluter? But here we all are, together celebrating a significant milestone in OVEC’s life— 25 years of hard-won successes.

Photo

Crystal Good’s reading of BoomBoom wowed the crowd.

 

We want you to know that we couldn’t have done any of this important work without the thousands of supporters who have been standing with us—and if you are reading this, you must be one of them. We hope you know that you, our members, volunteers, sustaining members, major donors and foundations share in every victory—both large and small. You are the life-blood of OVEC—generous, heart-centered, and committed to environmental justice, as well as clean air, water and land. Thank you!

We know that the only way to overcome the power of organized money is through the power of organized people—a core belief that has been the basis for our many real-world victories. In our early years, with OVEC’s assistance, citizens took leadership in their communities and successfully prevented major new toxic pollution sources in the Huntington Tri-State area and forced dramatic pollution reductions at the former Ashland Oil refinery on the Kentucky-West Virginia border. For 5 years, OVEC organized and led a coalition of groups, as well as hundreds of OVEC members which prevented the construction of the biggest dioxin-spewing pulp mill in North America in Apple Grove, West Virginia.

Appalachia Rising: The power of organized people!

In our quarter of a century life, we’ve learned that major victories are not won overnight. That’s why OVEC also believes in “endless pressure, endlessly applied.” Major pollution reductions at the Ashland Oil refinery took over twelve years of citizen organizing and toxic tort litigation. Standing with impacted communities, OVEC has been fighting mountaintop removal mining and other abuses of the coal industry for fifteen years. While we haven’t won yet, your loyal support has allowed us to stand our ground against injustices perpetrated by a politically powerful coal industry.

Bottom right is what remains of Jarrell family cemetery. Flight courtesy of Southwings (www.southwings.org).

A story aired on MetroNews radio prior to our celebration.  You can read about it here:

http://www.wvmetronews.com/news.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=55884

You can read more about our celebration here:

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/features/x746103258/Huntington-non-profit-OVEC-celebrates-25-years-this-weekend

Today, while we continue to grieve and stand with those who still suffer the day-to-day assaults of mountaintop removal mining, we can take some solace in knowing that without our efforts, there would be many more active mountaintop removal mines now operating in West Virginia. Again, we want to express deepest gratitude to all of you— our faithful dues-paying members and hard-working volunteers, our board members and partner organizations, and all the attorneys who work with us providing significant time, energy, and resources to help save our precious mountains, streams and communities.

Blackwater Canyon

 

None of us knows what the future holds for OVEC, but we can all reflect with satisfaction knowing that OVEC’s presence in West Virginia has made a significant positive impact on the quality of life and the environment. We know with your continued support, we can forge a new vision for the state’s future—a future where all people are respected and valued, that preserves our mountain ecosystems and unique culture, is truly democratic, inclusive and, sustainable. That’s a tall order, but with your continued support, we can do this together.

Onward and upward!
Janet Keating, Executive Director
Dianne Bady, OVEC Founder and Co-Director

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The Author

Janet Keating

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