FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Contact: Robert Livingston 304.731.1740
Note: Photos available within 1 – 2 hours.
KAYFORD, W.Va. –Mountain Justice and RAMPS activists blocked coal transport in two locations Thursday morning protesting mountaintop removal. Five boarded a barge on the Kanawha River near Chelyan, with a large banner that read “Coal leaves, cancer stays,” and locked their bodies to the barge. At the same time, dozens of concerned citizens obstructed access to the haul road on Kayford Mountain, stopping coal trucks from entering or leaving the Republic Energy mine.
“These actions against coal transport were taken because the viability and health of mountain communities are being destroyed by mountaintop removal—the coal and the profits are shipped away, leaving disease and destruction in their wake,” Rebecca Loeb, one of the people on the barge said.
According to Nathan Joseph, another activist on the barge, the struggle against mountaintop removal in Appalachia is linked to the struggles of other fossil fuel extraction communities across North America and the world.
“The coal industry’s continued disregard for the well-being of Appalachian communities is connected to the struggles of other North American extraction communities. Strip mining tar sands for low-quality oil, fracking for dirty gas and deep sea oil drilling are signs we are scraping the bottom of the barrel. The extraction, transport, processing and combustion of these fuels all disproportionately impact low-income communities, indigenous communities (such as the Dine on Big Mountain in Arizona), and communities of color,” Joseph said.
According to a study co-authored by Dr. Michael Hendryx in 2011, a researcher at West Virginia University, “Self-reported cancer rates were significantly higher in the mining versus the non-mining area after control for respondent age, sex, smoking, occupational history, and family cancer history (odds ratio = 2.03, 95% confidence interval = 1.32–3.13). Mountaintop mining is linked to increased community cancer risk.”1 The study’s researchers collected data from 773 adults in door-to-door interviews.
As people in West Virginia see the lack of opportunities, they often leave the area to pursue a future elsewhere. Larry Gibson of Kayford said, “Our biggest export in this state besides coal is our young people.” Gibson is a founding member of Keepers of the Mountains, and organization of West Virginians seeking to end mountaintop removal and build sustainable livelihoods through land preservation and national outreach. Only 50 acres of his family’s ancestral land remain untouched by the massive surface mining operations on Kayford Mountain.
Marilyn Mullens of Coolridge, W.Va., said “Clean water and air is a human right. My electricity is not worth my human rights being violated–I’ll live with the lights off. I want my children and grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of West Virginia. We’re tired of the corporations lording over us, and no one is hearing our voices, so it’s time to take it further than talking.” Mullens is an organizer of Women United to End Mountaintop Removal, a May 28 event, in which women will shave their heads in front of the W.Va. Capitol in protest of mountaintop removal.
“For the past 150 years the coal industry has been pillaging this place and taking everything, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake. I am personally very thankful to these young folks who ain’t from around here necessarily who decided to put their freedom and bodies on the line to stop this vicious cycle, even if it is just for one day,” Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va., said, “I would love to see some of my native West Virginia brothers and sisters stand up and tell this industry they can’t do this anymore.”
(For schedule of events and Friday’s show information, see below)
"No reform is ever accepted in a democratic country if the people don’t understand the necessity of it. Each time we are doing something, each time we are making a decision, we always feel it necessary for the people to understand very well." Pierre Mendès
(For schedule of events scroll down)
Davy Rhodes 6-630
Abel Araya 630-7
Andrew McMillian 7-730
Alex Buchannan 730-8
The Blood Brothers of Soul Korea 8-845
(For schedule, see the previous posting)
Lawrence went to school to study Forestry at The Ohio State Univeristy for a year and Hocking College in Southeast Ohio for almost three years. The constant trials of social issues around culture and the environment brought Lawrence to leave school and to look for spiritual quest to teach him the ancient ways of the earth. With a strong foundation in plant identification, land management, environmental issues, and wildlife interactions Lawrence traveled around the the country working odd jobs, talking with elders of many traditions and living close to the earth in many of the ecosystems the nation has to offer.
Brandon grew up in the Athens County area and has experienced many sides of life therein. For several years he has been involved with community organizing surrounding environmental issues, locally with OU Beyond Coal, Sierra Club and FIG, and nationally as a photographer with the ‘March on Blair Mountain’. He is currently using photography as an educational tool at galleries and wall spaces available, and will have a series reception June 6th at the Athens Public Library.
More to be posted soon
May 28 - June 1
A community-oriented week of service in solidarity with anti-MTR (mountaintop removal coal mining) efforts. We are working together as a community to promote the change needed for a better world.
If you are in a service/activist organization, please consider attending as a representative and as a student of life. Tabling will be made available for those interested, at the Friday event at 29 Carpenter St. I hope to see a lot of communication between us all.
Full Schedule (ever updating):
-Running event currently posted for Friday below-
—-Noon, Peace Vigil in solidarity with Appalachians protesting in Charleston, WV:
At the Athens, OH courthouse, corner of W. Washington and Court, next to the protesters there every Monday. Make your own sign to bring, about this issue or one that you compassionately care about. Link to Charleston rally—-> http://www.facebook.com/events/129916637127304/
Tuesday (Workshop Day)
—-12pm, Meditation and Community, with Dan Contanenza:
Join Dan as he guides us through a meditation and facilitates the conversation, what does community mean? What does family mean? The questions often overlooked as already answered. At the garden by the greenhouse. See the link for directions —->http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=North+Court+Street,+Athens,+OH&daddr=Unknown+road&hl=en&sll=39.325384,-82.099983&sspn=0.005693,0.011362&geocode=FRojWAId2jwb-yldW9yYvHNIiDGBzNMGK4yfPQ%3BFYQLWAIdl0Ub-w&mra=ls&t=m&z=16
—-4:30 —DUE TO A BUSY WEEK AND NO REPLACEMENT FACILITATORS, THE BIRD HIKE IS CANCELLED :(
—-7:30pm, Dance Workshop, with Ellie Andrews:
Join Ellie on the College Green at OU as she teaches us how do to the ‘solidarity choir’, a very visually beautiful collective dance. Visit google maps or call for directions.
—-3:00pm, Invasive species pull and plant planting, with Lawrence Greene:
Join Lawrence as he takes us to the bike path by the Athens Public Library. We’ll get to remove invasive species, such as garlic mustard, and get our hands dirty installing beneficial plants, as well as make good conversation!
—-5:00pm, Activism Talk, with Brandon LaBonte’:
Join Brandon as we discuss the purpose of activism, why it’s important and what good it can do for a community. On the College Green. Visit google maps or call for directions.
—-4:00pm, Town hike, with Lawrence Greene:
Join Lawrence as he takes us on a stroll (from the ginkgo tree by Casa Nueva, down Court St. to Fern, past the Athens Book Center, and around to College St by the parking garage) to show us all of the useful plants that grow naturally, even in the middle of town.
—-10:30am, Running the Lakeview Trail:
Join Anna Moore, member of the OU Running Club, at the beach at Strouds Run. She’ll be facilitating a run along the ‘lakeview trail’. Use this link to view a map of the area: http://athenscyclepath.com/Athens_Trail.php
—-5:00-10:00pm, Art Music Activism, a show:
Join the band Brujo, Davy Rhodes, poet Abel Araya, other performing bodies and community members at Central Venue (29 Carpenter St) as we gather around the arts , to humor the notion of food and conversation in an environment of community.
Link to the facebook event—>http://www.facebook.com/events/105086606297606/
For any reason deemed necessary, please feel free to contact Brandon LaBonte by email or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org 740-331-1377