February 23, 2009
As always, there’s plenty going on in the mountains this week. We’re very excited about the introduction of the Appalachian Mountains Preservation Act in Georgia (the number one consumer of MTR coal in the nation!) and Maryland in the last two weeks, to be followed with the introduction of the bill in North Carolina (number two consumer of MTR coal) later this week! The bill would ban the use of mountaintop removal-mined coal in the state. Georgia’s bill also includes a moratorium on the construction and permitting of new coal-fired power plants in the state.
This week also sees the launch of a new, innovative national anti-coal campaign, which specifically targets mountaintop removal mining; there’s good news from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, who went out in force in Frankfort last week in support of the Stream Saver bill, which would target mountaintop removal; and the campaign for co-sponsors continues for the Clean Water Protection Act! Feels like there’s a lot of movement in the movement as they say!
The Dirty Lie: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Waterkeeper Alliance, which he heads, are no strangers to fighting coal. Waterkeepers around the nation fight the effects of coal on a daily basis, dealing with increased mercury levels in the waters due to emissions from coal-fired power plants, and toxic releases from their combustion waste, the worst of which was the TVA coal ash disaster in Roane County, TN last December.
Now these vetted activists have a brand new tool in their belts in their fight against coal and the pollution it creates. Their new campaign, “The Dirty Lie” is intended to create broader awareness of the destructiveness of coal in all parts of its cycle, cradle to grave. The campaign is reaching beyond the traditional environmental community by using online viral marketing techniques, with the goal of galvanizing broad popular interest via the Internet. The campaign’s hub is a website (www.thedirtylie.com) that will house video and editorial content and provide visitors with interactive tools to become anti-coal activists.
“Simply stated, clean coal is a dirty lie,” Kennedy said. “You don’t have to live in the coalfields or in the shadow of a coal-fired power plant to be affected by this filthy industry. Coal causes acid rain, pollutes our water and food chain with toxic mercury, destroys communities, and is grossly accelerating climate change.”
The website is launching this week, and strives to “debunk” the “dirty lies” that the coal industry perpetuates. The lie we know best at iLoveMountains? “Mountains are Replaceable.” Go check out this interactive and very informative site!
Not One More Mile! Over 700 people joined Kentuckians for the Commonwealth for I Love Mountains Day in Frankfort, KY. The group marched over a half mile from downtown Frankfort near the Kentucky River, the headwaters of which have been severely damaged by coal company pollution. “Not One More Mile!” was the chant for the day as the defenders of Kentucky’s precious people and places said that 1,400 miles of streams buried or severely damaged by this practice is already way too many. Find more coverage of the event at the KFTC website
Better Know a CWPA Co-Sponsor: Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA-14) has served in the House for eight years, and currently sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as well as the Water Resources and Development subcommittee, so we are thrilled to have his support on the CWPA! According to a 2008 editorial released by his office, Platts believes that “further development of traditional domestic sources of energy” is an important step in our energy policy but that it needs to be done in an “environmentally-protective manner.” Protecting mountain streams from being buried in toxic overburden sounds like it fits that criteria!!
Better Know a CWPA Target: Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA-04) is currently serving his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Altmire serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee, which makes him an important target for co-sponsorship of the CWPA. The electricity in Altmire’s district, which covers all or part of six counties in western Pennsylvania, is supplied by Pennsylvania Electric and Duquesne Light Company, both of which purchase coal coming from mountaintop removal mine sites. In Altmire’s issue statements on his website, he comes out in support of “additional funding for clean coal technologies.” Well, even if “clean coal technology” was here today, mountaintop removal mining would still be poisoning mountain headwater streams in Appalachia. That’s anything but clean, just ask the residents of Rawl, WV, whose well water was contaminated by toxic heavy metals thanks to a nearby mountaintop removal mine site.
Want to get to know Rep. Altmire better? Check out his appearance on the Colbert Report’s Better Know a District!