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Coal, Dirty Lies and a time to Rise Up!

by Robert Gardner

August 19, 2010

Robert Gardner headshotThis blog is a collaborative effort from Robert Gardner and Carolyn Auwaerter.

Continued reliance on coal to power our economy is not just foolish, it’s dangerous.

From extraction to burning to disposing of the waste, coal costs more than advertised. Health and environmental costs are passed onto everybody but the coal companies. And the path from the coal seam to your house all too often begins in Appalachia.

Mountaintop Removal, or strip mining, is the most destructive form of coal mining that America has ever witnessed. The coal company blasts off the tops of mountains, takes the coal, and then fills in the valley with whatever is left.

They call the ridgeline above the coal seam overburden. Then they blast it off.

In a feeble attempt to comply with watered-down regulation, they ‘regrade’ or ‘reclaim’ the ridge, turning a once beautiful mountain into a barren molehill.

Regrade a mountain?

It doesn’t work.

Ridgelines are not a burden; they are a blessing. You can never ‘regrade’ a mountain that has taken generations to form.

Coal companies prefer strip mining, because they can operate 24 hours a day, with few staff and even less oversight. These companies just need explosives, some very large machinery and a disregard for the surrounding communities in their pursuit of profit.

Appalachia Rising picture

The good people of Appalachia should not have to deal with daily explosions, negative health impacts, and an ever-decreasing amount of jobs. Airborne dust, buried and contaminated streams, and leaking hazardous coal ash and toxic slurry impoundments should not be the norm.

Coal companies can never return lost biodiversity. They can never return the mountains to the people of Appalachia.

That’s why Appalachia Rising is taking action.

Appalachia Rising is a movement coming to D.C. September 25-27th to unite Appalachian residents, faith groups, national organizations and individuals to call for an end to mountaintop removal coal mining and demand that America’s water is protected from harmful surface mining practices.

Greenpeace will be participating in the weekend conference on September 25th and 26th.

America can no longer afford its reliance upon coal. The people of Appalachia are rising up; our silence is compliance with the destruction of Appalachia.

Gone are the days when we can flick on the light switch and not worry about the costs. We are blowing up Appalachia kilowatt by kilowatt.

It’s time to stand with coalfield residents and Rise Up!

Join hands with Greenpeace and Appalachia Rising. Sign up for the conference.

Don’t believe their Dirty Lie. Demand an Energy [R]evolution now!

The mountains, valleys and people of Appalachia are counting on you.

— Carolyn and Robert

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