Action Alert I received from Coal River Mountain Watch today:
“On Thursday, Nov 15, Patriot Coal Corporation agreed to cease mountaintop removal mining. In a settlement with citizens’ groups Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and Sierra Club, Patriot “concluded that the continuation or expansion of surface mining . . . is not in its long term interests.” The groups were represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates.
The company stated, “Patriot recognizes that our mining operations impact the communities in which we operate in significant ways, and we are committed to maximizing the benefits of this agreement for our stakeholders, including our employees and neighbors.” Coal River Mountain Watch and the Appalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) Act campaign welcomed the news, adding that all Appalachian communities need protection through passage of the ACHE Act.
Debbie Jarrell, Coal River Mountain Watch co-director, said, “For a company to admit that it’s harming the community is a major step, but we can’t wait for all the companies to end mountaintop removal out of the goodness of their hearts. Citizens have pleaded with Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and others for decades to stop this abominable practice, but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears and government agencies have not ended the practice. I worry for my grandchildren’s health and for the health of everyone in the community. Patriot is showing that a company doesn’t have to threaten its neighbors’ health and that mountaintop removal is unnecessary.”
“This agreement is a clear admission of the dangers of mountaintop removal coal mining and a key victory for the Appalachian community,” said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3). “I commend Patriot Coal for acknowledging the destructive impact of mountaintop removal and for taking steps to protect the communities where it operates. An industry leader finally recognizing that it can be successful without employing this devastating practice is significant progress. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and enact legislation protecting all of Appalachia.”
U.S. Representative Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28), native of Harlan County, Kentucky, said, “When industry representatives admit to the dangers of mountaintop removal mining, there can be no more excuse for inaction or delay. The Appalachian community has fought hard for today’s settlement. It is high-time that the federal government join the fight to end mountain top removal and protect additional Appalachian communities from similar threats to the environment and public health.”
Please take action: Call your US House representative and ask him or her to protect human lives and health by co-sponsoring the ACHE Act, HR 5959. You can contact them through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. See for yourself: Read the ACHE Act and learn about peer reviewed research on public health impacts and help us to protect the health of our communities.