Friday, March 12, 2010

Appalachia Activists Ask Webb to Help End Mountaintop Removal

Dozens of activists with the Alliance for Appalachia visited Sen. Jim Webb's office this week, asking him to join their efforts to end mountaintop removal coal mining. The Virginians pictured here were part of a much larger group from across America that was lobbying for change this week on Capitol Hill (more details in the great video at the bottom of this post).

As investigative journalist Jeff Biggers writes at Huffington Post:
Webb's state of Virginia stands on the frontlines of the clean energy and climate debate--and Webb, born fighting for progressive causes in Appalachia and America, now must decide whether he will come to the forefront of the battle for clean energy and an end to deadly coal mining and burning, or quietly watch the fate of his state decided by outside interests.

Every Virginian--and American--needs to call Sen. Webb today to not only support desperately needed clean energy and climate legislation, but to sign on as a co-sponsor with Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of the Appalachian Restoration Act to end mountaintop removal at Virginia's climate ground zero.
Biggers then quotes from Webb's book, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America:
The ever hungry industrialists had discovered that West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia sat atop one huge vein of coal. And so the rape began. The people from the outside showed up with complicated contracts that the small-scale cattle raisers and tobacco farmers could not fully understand, asking for "rights" to mineral deposits they could not see, and soon they were treated to a sundering of their own earth as the mining companies ripped apart their way of life, so that after a time the only option was to go down into the hole and bring the Man his coal, or starve. The Man got his coal, and the profits it brought when he shipped it out. They got their wages, black lung, and the desecration of their land.
You can reach Sen. Webb's DC office at (202)-224-4024.

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