|Recent CSI Headline|
|U.S. COALFIELD GROUPS CALL ON U.N. COMMISSION TO BAR ABUSIVE COAL MINING PRACTICES DESTROYING APPALACHIA
Representatives of Save Our Cumberland Mountains of Lake City, Tenn., Coal River Mountain Watch, Whitesville, W.Va., Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, London, Ky., and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Huntington, W.Va., gathered outside the United Nations today to hold a news conference as the U.N. CSD meets April 30-May 11, 2007.
The new report notes: “The mountains of central Appalachia are famous for their natural beauty, unique culture, and some of the greatest diversity of life in the temperate world. They are also home to the highest quality bituminous coal in North America. As a result of the increasing demand for coal and the increasing use of mountaintop removal to mine it, more than 1 million acres of Appalachian forests have been leveled, more than 470 mountains destroyed, and more than 1,000 miles of streams buried in just the last few decades. Every year in central Appalachia, one million metric tons of explosives are used by the coal industry to blow up our mountains, equaling the explosive force of 58 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs.”
The U.S. coalfield delegation is making the following specific recommendations to the United Nation’s CSD:
1. Oppose mountaintop removal and other similarly destructive extraction processes;
2. Adopt definitions for a common language of sustainable energy;
3. Promote binding commitments rather than voluntary partnerships as a solution -- relying on “good business” has failed to halt the destruction of communities and has not adequately spurred development of renewable energy solutions;
4. Encourage rapid renewable energy development and conservation through policies such as implementation of renewable portfolio standards and removal of subsidies for fossil fuels; and
5. Oppose non-renewable energy development such as so-called “clean coal” technologies that are used to justify continued dependence of fossil fuels, with the exception of technologies that reduce air pollution during the transition period to reliance on renewable energy sources.
Ann League, a coalfield resident and vice president, Save Our Cumberland Mountains of Lake City, Tenn., said: “The impacts of coal mining abuses do not stop at a mountain's edge. Children suffer from dangerous levels of coal dust, homes are damaged by blasting and increased flooding, and entire communities have been displaced.”
Larry Gibson, coalfield resident and board member, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Huntington, W.Va., said: “We need the help of the UN to expose and bring an end to coal mining abuses. With the beauty of our mountains destroyed, much of the landscape unable to support native forests, and water supplies frequently contaminated, communities in Appalachia are left with few economic alternatives other than the coal companies that are destroying the region and its peoples’ way of life.”
Judy Bonds, a coalfield resident and organizer, Coal River Mountain Watch, Whitesville, W.Va., said: “This problem is not unique to Appalachia. Communities that hold fossil fuels beneath their surface have long suffered the true costs for society’s appetite for energy. From the Niger delta to the Ecuadorian rain forests to indigenous peoples in the Southwest United States. We stand in solidarity with communities around the world where fossil fuels are being extracted and homelands are being destroyed for energy.”
Erica Urias, coalfield resident and member, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth of London, Ky., said: “We are here today at CSD to reach out to other delegations. We call on our own government to support these recommendations as we all work for a just and sustainable future. Who will stand with us?”
For a full copy of the report by U.S. coalfield groups, email Lauren McGrath, firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONTACT: Ailis Aaron Wolf, (703) 276-3265 or email@example.com; and, also on May 8, 2007: Kevin Pence, (606) 335-0764 (cell).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Large photographs and banners illustrating the impact of coal mining in Appalachia were on display at the news event today. Digital copies of the photos are available for media use only by contacting Vivian Stockman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Credit/copyright requirements will be detailed for media outlets interested in using the photos.