Posts tagged: mountaintop removal

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mountaintop removal


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
04 January 2010, 3:37 PM
Big Coal abandons its PATH to power

 "The problem is, of course, that not only is economics bankrupt but it has always been nothing more than politics in disguise ... economics is a form of brain damage."—Hazel Henderson

This lively little snippet came to mind the other day when we got news that the PATH project—that's Potomac-Appalachia Transmission Highline—a massive boondoggle that would have served Big Coal to the detriment of the burgeoning green-power industry (and to the detriment of the places it would have passed through) had gone off the rails.

The project's undoing, at least for now, were demand projections. The promoters of the plan had wildly overestimated the need for the line in the future, and experts rounded up by PATH opponents (Abbie Dillen of Earthjustice is their lawyer) pointed out the fact. PATH folded its tent.

A similar scenario recently played out in Florida, where promoters of a huge new coal plant also caved in when their projections were shown to be, shall we say, optimistic (that plant now will be solar instead of coal-fired). David Guest and Monica Reimer of Earthjustice were the lawyers on that one.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
13 November 2009, 1:00 AM
The world television premiere of "Coal Country" is at 8 p.m. eastern!

If you’re wondering what you should be doing on Saturday night, well, here it is: watch some television! At 8 p.m. eastern, the world television premiere of "Coal Country" will be on the Reel Impact series on Planet Green.

Now, about the film. Earthjustice is a proud sponsor of "Coal Country," and we’ve been hosting events in San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Chicago to show people this powerful film and educate them on the tragedy that is mountaintop removal mining.

There’s been a lot discussed in these pages about the destruction, pollution and impacts of mountaintop removal mining, but never before has there been such an insightful and moving depiction. "Coal Country" interviews miners, activists, politicians and coalfield residents to present the true impacts of coal in Appalachia. Phylis Geller—who wrote, produced and directed the film—and executive producer Mari-Lynn Evans weave a story that really gets at the true costs of our dependence on coal.

Take the time to watch "Coal Country" on Planet Green this Saturday night. If you don’t have Planet Green in your cable package, you can purchase a copy of the DVD here. And for those not in the eastern time zone, the film is being replayed at 11 p.m. eastern, so you can watch it during prime time.

View Bill Karpowicz's blog posts
03 November 2009, 1:08 PM
After NY premiere, coal documentary screens in Chicago, LA

Amid the hoopla for such mainstream movies as "Where The Wild Things Are" last week, another film opened in New York with its own fervent following. Nearly 1,000 people packed a premiere screening of "Coal Country," a documentary exposing the brutal impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Co-hosted by Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, the screening was followed by a concert featuring Kathy Mattea, The Klezmatics, Jean Ritchie, Diana Jones and a surprise appearance by Justin Townes Earle. Two more screenings are scheduled for this month: Nov. 10 in Chicago, and Nov. 12 in Los Angeles. To make reservations and to find out more about mountaintop removal, go to www.earthjustice.org/mtr.

 

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
28 October 2009, 4:51 PM
Mountaintop removal mining begins at Coal River Mountain
Coal River Mountain as seen from nearby Kayford Mountain. Photo: Coal River Mountain Watch.

The halls of Congress are echoing this week with debate over proposed legislation to fight global warming—a fight that can't be won without addressing a primary cause of global warming: our dependence on coal. As the rumpus goes on there, a real-life battle between coal and the future of American energy has reached a pivotal moment in Appalachia.

In an effort to protect their familial homes and water resources, residents of West Virginia's Coal River Valley have long fought to prevent Coal River Mountain from being blown apart for the coal beneath it. Local groups like Coal River Mountain Watch, an Earthjustice client, have argued compellingly that the mountain is an ideal site for a wind power facility, which could make the region a model for sustainable, green economic growth.

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
30 September 2009, 2:59 PM
Decision triggers environmental scrutiny of 79 mining permits

The Environmental Protection Agency has taken another positive step towards reining in the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
17 September 2009, 5:46 PM
Agency puts hold on dozens of mining permits for environmental review

On most environmental matters, the Obama administration scores high marks from us, especially for revitalizing the role of science and respect for the law in the agency's decisions. The shift in ethos from eight years of ruinous Bush policies occurred almost immediately after Obama took office. We have seen dramatic positive changes in how some federal agencies deal with the key issues of climate change and clean energy, roadless protections, clean air, and hazardous waste regulations.

But, until last week, Obama's actions on mountaintop removal mining largely tracked the course set by Bush. As we previously noted  in April we hoped that the EPA was going to put the brakes on 48 mountaintop removal permits. We were taken aback in May when the agency instead let 42 of the permits go ahead without further scrutiny. This was a disheartening setback.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
11 September 2009, 2:30 PM
EPA plans more scientific and legal scrutiny on 79 new mining permits
Photo: OVEC

The last year has been a roller coaster ride for mountaintop removal. Despite a loss in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in February (which we're now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court), the U.S. Senate was taking up the fight with some public hearings back in March. In April, we thought the EPA was going to put the brakes on some mountaintop removal mining permits, but then in May, it was a sad day for Appalachia when the EPA approved more mining permits.

Well today, we've got some reason to cheer. The EPA announced today plans to hold 79 pending mountaintop removal mining permits for further environmental review, offering a reprieve for the coalfield residents in Appalachia living near these sites. The news comes as part of a "Memorandum of Understanding" the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers signed earlier this year. The two agencies agreed to work together to review pending permits, and today's announcement sets the EPA and the Corps on a path towards closer scrutiny of these permits that is based on science and the law.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
19 August 2009, 3:08 PM
Want to keep tabs on mountaintop removal mining? Here's how.

Concerned about mountaintop removal mining? Hungry for minute-to-minute coverage of all things coal? Looking to keep the August doldrums at bay by organizing your internet browser bookmarks?

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, you need to click here. Bookmark the site. Read it daily.

I've just directed you to Coal Tattoo, a blog by Charleston (WV) Gazette environmental reporter Ken Ward Jr. It's the go-to source for coverage on mountaintop removal mining that is both timely and thoughtful.

The blog celebrated its six-month anniversary this month. The occasion ushered in congratulations and praise from folks on all side of the mountaintop removal mining debate—a testament to Ken's fair and accurate reporting.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
16 July 2009, 10:32 AM
Only a few boos mar debut of powerful documentary on Appalachia coal

The email came late Wednesday afternoon, just three days before the July 11 premiere that's been planned for months. The South Charleston Museum in West Virginia, which had agreed to show the documentary, "Coal Country," was backing out because of "concerns" about security at the event. Threats of protests meant the museum didn't want to take part in showing a film that offers an unbiased and frank portrait of coal and its impact and history in Appalachia.

When executive producer Mari-Lynn Evans (who produced the powerful documentary "The Appalachians" for PBS in 2005) got the bad news about the South Charleston Museum, she immediately sent an email to the local activists helping plan the premiere. By Thursday morning, a flurry of phone calls, emails, conference calls and meetings were taking place in a mad rush to find an alternate location to show the film.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
21 May 2009, 11:09 AM
 

Appalachia's mountains never seem to get a break. First, back in 2007, a district court judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit we brought on behalf of some West Virginia groups that stopped five mountaintop removal mining permits from going forward because of the permanent destruction they would have done to Appalachian streams and headwaters. It was a short-lived victory: the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision and the permits were moving forward again.

But then, the Obama EPA said it was going to review a slew of pending mountaintop removal mining permits that were awaiting the outcome of the court decision, and all were optimistic that the agency would put a halt on them and help prevent further stream and mountaintop destruction from happening. Appalachian groups hailed this decision, but again, victory was short-lived: just this month, the EPA said that despite having reviewed the permits (and despite mountaintop removal mining completely flattening entire mountain ranges and completely burying streams and headwaters) it was going to let 42 mountaintop removal mining permits proceed.

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