Ralliers March To Preserve Blair Mountain And Stop Mountaintop Removal

Sun, 2011-06-05 14:02Laurel Whitney
Laurel Whitney's picture

Ralliers March To Preserve Blair Mountain And Stop Mountaintop Removal

This week, hundreds of marchers will convene in the West Virginian wilderness to walk over 50 miles in 5 days. Organized by Friends of Blair Mountain and Appalachia Rising, the March to Blair Mountain is a 7-day event in which participants will weather obstacles such as the outdoors, possible intimidating counter protestors, port-a-potties, and withstanding 500 people who haven’t showered in 5 days all culminating on June 11th in a protest atop historic Blair Mountain in West Virginia.

Blair Mountain is slated as a site for mountaintop removal - in which the coal companies (like Massey) literally explode the tops off of mountains to reach the coal deposits inside and leave the surrounding ecosystems and communities devastated. In fact, the the amount of explosives used each week is equivalent to one Hiroshima bomb. It would be like if your doctor were to just blow off parts of your body in order to excise a tumor, instead of carefully cutting their way through in order to later put the pieces back together in a functional form.

Machinery used in the process replaces jobs once done by human workers, meaning the companies can get more coal profits without having to pay for more jobs (because the US definitely doesn’t need anymore of those these days). Mountaintop removal is also dangerous because of the outlying effects on the land and people surrounding it. The “overburden” (or what’s left of the mess of trees, soil, and rock left over) is often dumped into valleys and rivers, carrying toxic heavy metals and pollutants.

Contaminated water forces people to either risk becoming very ill or move out of their homes. And, unlike your neighborhood surgeon, mountaintops cannot be placed back on top of the exposed mountainsides. With the forests clear-cut and the soil stripped, the land is left unusable.

The March on Blair Mountain commemorates the battle of Blair Mountain between coal miners and the coal companies in 1921. It was the largest labor uprising in US history with over 10,000 miners rebelling to fight for better conditions in the southern coal fields and rescue other illegally imprisoned miners. While the rebellion did not succeed in its day, it was the spark that started the labor movement and drove other workers in other industries to rally for better working conditions. The organizers of the march are hoping that this will ignite a similar spark to fight for a future with cleaner energy, more jobs, and viable solutions to combat climate change.

Coal seems to being taking some hits these days with negative press, damaging spoof websites, even a new documentary, The Last Mountain, about the devastating effects of mountaintop removal. The climate and energy movements still need some more mojo, with the stakes only getting higher scientifically, and the stakes only getting more stubborn politically. If the rallying cries of the people haven’t convinced the government and industry to drop mountaintop removal, then perhaps massive amounts of BO will get their attention.

People are encouraged to sign up and come for the rally on Saturday the 11th if walking through the West Virginian countryside for 5 days isn’t their cup of tea. Or, you could support the march from your home computer as well. Look for more stories about the march in a few weeks, and in the meantime, follow my updates on twitter (@Laurel350) as I attempt to complete the week without getting run over by a coal truck.

View the trailer for “The Last Mountain” film:

Previous Comments

Curious:
Why the concern with the tops of remote mountains?
Is it just for the looks?
Or is there some mystical signifigance to cult members with mountains?

Seems to me its just a pile of rocks so what is the fuss.

Given your comment, I would stay anonymous, if I were you

“In fact, the the amount of explosives used each week is equivalent to one Hiroshima bomb.”

Please give some evidence to back up this so-called “fact”. What is your source for this “fact”?

Also, how is it in any way relevant? Or are you just trying to make some melodramatic rhetorical point with made-up “facts”?

That’s where they say how much high explosive they had to use.

You then find out from whatever source you prefer the TNT equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb.

Divide one by the other, and you get how many hiroshima bombs equivalent are exploded.

What is the source for this “fact”?

Or is is just made up, like so many other outlandish activist claims?

The source is the operating reports of the company. Like I told you earlier.

I even showed you how to calculate it yourself.

But you’d rather be an arse about it.

Please show us these “operating reports of the company”.

Apparently, you know where to find them, and have read them.

Or not.

What is the big deal with cutting the top off a mountain?

When they are done, they will plant a few trees and nobody will notice.

Carbon tax is out of the question so that leaves protests and possibly violence etc. It seems pretty weak to me. The public have spoken on the issue and the protesters would seem to be in contempt of the majority. They just dont like democracy much.

The friends of coal do most of the talking and have the ears of thge politicians - they even become their mouth pieces. Together it seems like the majority is for MTR. That is just not so. New report shows the silent majority is speaking out!

A major new poll released today reveals some shocking truths about public opinions on mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

The polling, conducted by the Democratic Lake Research Partners and Republican Bellwether Research & Consulting and funded by Earthjustice, Appalachian Mountain Advocates (formerly the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment), and the Sierra Club was done between July 25 and 28 and sampled the opinions of 1,315 registered voters in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee on the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and clean water protections.

The poll reveals beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people of America’s coal country—West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia—don’t like mountaintop removal mining and they don’t want it to continue at the expense of their homes, health, communities, families, and future.

The strong majority of Appalachians opposes mountaintop removal mining—57 percent, compared to 20 percent who support the practice—and this opposition soars no matter the political party. Independents, Democrats, Republicans and Tea Partiers alike have shown intense disapproval of this destructive form of mining. The will of Appalachians is transcendent: people from all education levels, political orientations, and all four states oppose mountaintop removal by strong margins.

A major new poll released today reveals some shocking truths about public opinions on mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.

The polling, conducted by the Democratic Lake Research Partners and Republican Bellwether Research & Consulting and funded by Earthjustice, Appalachian Mountain Advocates (formerly the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment), and the Sierra Club was done between July 25 and 28 and sampled the opinions of 1,315 registered voters in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee on the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and clean water protections.

The poll reveals beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people of America’s coal country—West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia—don’t like mountaintop removal mining and they don’t want it to continue at the expense of their homes, health, communities, families, and future.

The strong majority of Appalachians opposes mountaintop removal mining—57 percent, compared to 20 percent who support the practice—and this opposition soars no matter the political party. Independents, Democrats, Republicans and Tea Partiers alike have shown intense disapproval of this destructive form of mining. The will of Appalachians is transcendent: people from all education levels, political orientations, and all four states oppose mountaintop removal by strong margins.

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