Mountain Heroes: Weldon - Photo #1352666241
My name is Weldon.
I want to end mountaintop removal
I care about Appalachia communities
Help Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining
Mountaintop removal coal mining, often described as "strip mining on steroids," is an extremely destructive form of mining that is devastating Appalachia. Earthjustice is working in the courts and in Congress to stop this destructive practice and protect Appalachia for future generations.» Learn more about this campaign
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A former officer for the United States Army and Iraq War veteran, he is working on transforming the energy profile of the one of the largest energy consumers in the world, the Department of Defense.
"We can make a similar choice today, if we want: We can say 'Yes' to growing our economy beyond reliance on deadly fossil fuels, which will inevitably run out, and embrace a profitable future with a balance of renewable energy and enhanced efficiency, supporting healthy communities for generations to come."Read Jonathan's Story
Dustin works to educate the public, elected officials, and members of Congress on the devastation mountaintop removal mining.
"Many don't realize the thing they cling to, coal, is the thing that is harming us. Even at home it is hard to get people to understand."Read Dustin's Story
In his early years in Congress, Rep. Hechler became an outspoken opponent of strip mining — and drafted the nation’s first law setting up safety measures for coal miners.
"There have been many uphill fights that have come out successful, and I wish we could see it for the fight to end mountaintop removal mining. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the tougher it gets, the more exciting it gets when you can see victory."Read Ken's Story
The son of a coal miner, James grew up on a small farm on Daupinspeck Mountain, in the scenic Gauley River canyon. Now, this area famous for its whitewater rapids is being trashed by mountaintop removal.
"To me, nothing is worth the loss of our mountains and streams. Without drinkable water, there is no life."Read James's Story
Donetta and her family's only source of water was contaminated with toxic chemicals. Hospitalized twice for liver problems due to the poisonous water, Donetta's resolve to stand up against mountaintop removal has only strengthened.
"I am going to do all I can to try to help, to save people's lives, and help them so that they won't have to go through this with their water."Read Donetta's Story
Teri has been fighting mountaintop removal mining and toxic pollution in her home state of Kentucky for 20 years. Along with thousands of her Kentucky comrades, Teri is at the forefront of the movement for healthy communities in America.
"My children didn’t get to enjoy the creek the way I did; they grew up in the midst of coal muck in the ’80s and early ’90s."Read Teri's Story
Mickey is the former mayor of Inez, Kentucky, a town that captured the nation’s attention when a massive coal waste dam failed and flooded it in 2000.
"You have just got to give the human race a big high five when you see some of these people who are getting involved in this peaceful movement to stop mountaintop removal, many of them young people — it’s just wonderful ... To all my brothers and sisters who are in this movement and to those who are ready to join us, I cry, 'Hoka Hey!'"Read Mickey's Story
Jane is vice president of the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, a citizen group in southwest Virginia that is working to protect communities from coal pollution and end mountaintop removal mining.
"My hope is that we start rebuilding our community to what it used to be before coal ever invaded our lives."Read Jane's Story
Cindy is the humble backbone of decades of efforts to hold accountable the agencies whose responsibilities are to strictly enforce federal and state mining laws.
"I do believe that even what appear to be small victories make a difference, slow the tide of destruction, and are worth whatever improved mining practices that occur as a result. People in Appalachia are still suffering greatly, but were it not for those small victories many more communities would already be gone."Read Cindy's Story
With his strong faith and his generous heart, Allen reaches out to Christians and their congregations to educate and motivate them on injustices of mountaintop removal mining.
"These areas where they are extracting all this coal are the poorest in the country. It’s take, take, take, and not give back...Answering this call involves rebuilding central Appalachia, with a sustainable, clean, vibrant economy; a renewal of our culture of hospitality and neighborliness."Read Allen's Story
Karen is proud of her work as an underground miner and wants to make her message clear: she is not against coal; she is against mountaintop removal coal mining.
"There would be more jobs if they would mine it underground, and I think people’s lives would not be disrupted as they are with mountaintop removal going on. And there’s less damage done to the earth."Read Karen's Story
Sid never considered himself an environmentalist—just a regular mountain man who loves his family, loves his garden, and loves life in the mountains. But that all changed when he went to fulfill his lifelong dream of a retiring to fish in nearby mountain streams.
"When they leave, after the coal company is done with this, we'll not have any resources, we'll not have any land, we'll not have any water, the air is already poisoned."Read Sid's Story
John Slattery is an actor and director, best known for his role as Roger Sterling on AMC's series Mad Men. In joining this Earthjustice campaign, John Slattery is standing with all Mountain Heroes in opposition to mountaintop removal mining.
"My name is John. Some things are better with their tops left on. I stand with the Mountain Heroes. Let's stop removing the tops off mountains."Read John's Story
The author of more than 40 books of poetry, fiction, and essays, Wendell Berry is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He has dedicated much of his energy and time to the cause of saving mountains and waters.
"My connection to mountaintop removal mining is the Kentucky River, beside which I live, and I know that surface mining in the mountains of Kentucky damages the river."Read Wendell's Story
Born in a town that went vacant because of pollution from mountaintop removal mining, she was raised under the wing of one country’s most ardent voices for environmental justice, Judy Bonds.
"We traced the polluted creek to mountaintop removal mining. We started talking to community members from the other side of the mountain, and the more we talked to people, the more we heard, "Oh, you just wait. There’s more in store for you." They were right."Read Lisa's Story
From living with contaminated water in his own home as a child, to being kicked out of the house for speaking out against the coal company, Junior has had to muster courage at every step along the way.
"I knew I couldn’t live with myself if I just sat on my hands, knowing that my friends and family were being poisoned, so I started to speak out against mountaintop removal mining."Read Junior's Story
In 1999, Julian walked across the state of West Virginia with another Mountain Hero, Larry Gibson, in protest of mountaintop removal mining. He hasn’t stop marching since.
"Mountaintop removal mining is just a one-shot deal. It kills everything and then leaves. These mountains will never be replaced, and nothing good is ever going to happen on these mountains again. They’re finished."Read Julian's Story
Co-director of Coal River Mountain Watch, Debbie brings her caring spirit and indomitable dedication to the movement to end mountaintop removal mining.
"I have two grown children and three grandchildren. What’s similar about their experience is the amazement and the enjoyment that they get from being out in the woods and around the rivers. But a major difference is that my grandchildren can’t kneel down and get a drink in these streams whenever they want to, because of the pollution and contamination from mountaintop removal mining."Read Debbie's Story
A no-nonsense Vietnam War veteran, Bo is determined to fight for the health of communities near mountaintop removal mining. He won't give up until protections are brought to Appalachia.
"After mountaintop removal is over we will work to build sustainable economies within our communities. For now, we must focus on this fight, because we are fighting for our survival. We and the mountains are connected; one and the same. As they are being destroyed, so are we."Read Bo's Story
Amber's younger brother is only five years old, and he will spend his entire childhood growing up next to a mountaintop removal mining site. For his sake, she's pledged to work to end mountaintop removal mining.
"It seems hopeless at times, but it’s not. I have to remind myself that it will get better as long as I keep fighting. I’m inspired by the amazing people I’ve met who won’t back down on this. We need more people from all over the country fighting to stop this."Read Amber's Story
Highly celebrated and decorated literary icon Terry Tempest Williams stands firmly against mountaintop removal mining. Williams' writings and books have earned her critical acclaim, and now she is using her vaunted name to try to stop this devastating mining practice and protect families across Appalachia. Join her.Read Terry's Story
Writer, filmmaker, designer, and activist Jerry Cope is standing up for justice, clean water, healthy communities, and mountains by standing against destructive mountaintop removal mining. Will you join him?Read Jerry's Story
Award-winning actress Daryl Hannah has thrown herself into the fight to stop mountaintop removal mining. She stands in solidarity with all Mountain Heroes. Will you join her?Read Daryl's Story
Widely considered one of rock & roll’s greatest guitarists of all time, Warren Haynes has performed on stage and in the recording studio with a diverse array of musicians including Phil Lesh & Friends, James Hetfield, Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and many more.Read Warren's Story
World-renowned climber Alex Honnold, whose famed record-setting climbs are unrivaled in the climbing world, joins thousands of Mountain Heroes in standing up to defend Appalachia's mountains and communities.
"My name is Alex. Climbing mountains is my life. We should protect them."Read Alex's Story
My Morning Jacket
"We are My Morning Jacket. We want to see an end to mountaintop removal. We care about our mountains and Appalachia."Read My Morning Jacket's Story
Mari-LynnRead Mari-Lynn's Story
I'm an Appalachian. And my homeland is being destroyed.Read Silas's Story
Earthjustice mourns the passing of the strongest and bravest advocate for clean water and justice that we have ever known, our very own senior legislative counsel Joan Mulhern.
A fighter for the planet and for all people who suffered environmental injustice, Joan was a tireless advocate for the underdog in every situation, and she seldom if ever lost.Read Joan's Story
Maria's life has been threatened numerous times for her criticism of the coal industry, and she’s been assaulted and harassed, but she has refused to be silenced.
"We do not have to blow up our mountains and poison our water to create energy. I will be here to fight for our rights. My family is here, we’ve been here for the past 10 generations, and we’re not leaving."Read Maria's Story
An actor and filmmaker, Edward Norton is standing with all Mountain Heroes in opposition to mountaintop removal mining.
"Mountaintop removal coal mining destroys our natural resources, our communities, our health. It privatizes all the profit of dirty energy and socializes all the costs to the rest of us. It's a travesty and a scam and needs to be stopped."Read Edward's Story
Considered the father of the movement to stop mountaintop removal mining, he travels the country in his signature fluorescent shirts educating the public on through his Keeper of the Mountains Foundation.
"We didn’t know what it was, or if it was legal to blow up a mountain. I mean, who does that? I just didn’t believe it, I couldn’t fathom it. But I was hearing it, and I was seeing it in the distance, and then finally I could throw a rock and hit it."Read Larry's Story
For nearly 30 years he worked as an underground coal miner. When mountaintop removal mining came to his area, Chuck watched the communities around him fall apart. And so his journey began.
"Being a coal miner, I depended on coal to raise the family. But I knew when I went into the underground mine, I was sacrificing my own health. It was my choice, as an underground coal miner. But mountaintop removal mining is different, because it affects whole communities — people who don’t get a choice in the matter."Read Chuck's Story
A National Geographic "Emerging Explorer," filmmaker, and globally recognized advocate on water issues, Alexandra sees the link between our oceans and the waters that connect to them, including the important headwaters that begin in the Appalachian Mountains.
"We are drawn to the mountains like we are drawn to the sea. Could you imagine a world without either?"Read Alexandra's Story
A biology graduate who became a race car driver and environmental activist, Leilani is now directing her attention to the mining practice that is devastating Appalachia. She stands with all Mountain Heroes in opposition to mountaintop removal mining.
"Mountains are being destroyed for corporate greed. There is no Planet B. Let's save this one."Read Leilani's Story
Woody Harrelson is an award-winning actor and longtime environmental activist, and a steadfast ally in the movement to stop mountaintop removal mining.
"Mountains, forests, streams, birds, fauna are sacred. The closest we get to God."Read Woody's Story
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is one of our nation's leading environmental advocates and litigators. Named one of TIME magazine’s “Heroes for the Planet," Kennedy works to defend our nation's clean waterways and oppose mountaintop removal coal mining.Read Robert's Story