Tag Archives: appalachia

EcoSexuals of the World Unite! Stop MTR!

25 Feb
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Filmmakers Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle.

by Russ McSpadden

The film Goodbye Gauley Mountain weaves together the topics of sex, class, hillbillyism, queerness, capitalism and nature into a epic tale that will make you proud to be called a dirty environmentalist. This is, without compare, the sexiest nature documentary and one of the most profound films to deal with the beauty and tragedy of the Appalachian Mountains in the age of King Coal. It’ll make you fighting mad, then you’ll laugh, then you’ll get turned on. Hopefully you’ll fall wildly in love and get out there and defend your Lover Earth with a lust befitting the world’s most ancient and biodiversely kinky mountains.

Over the last several months I’ve interviewed Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle about their film, art and activism. The full interview will appear in the next Earth First! Journal but you’ll find a sneak peak below as well.

Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story is currently in post production but there are several pre-screenings in the works including one on March 30th in San Fran. You can check here for event details and future showings: http://goodbyegauleymountain.org/screenings/

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Video: Mountain Mobilization shuts down largest mountaintop removal mine in U.S.

29 Jul

Join the Mountain Mobilization in West Virginia July 25

13 Jun

Take Direct Action Against Strip Mining

via Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival (RAMPS). RSVP on Facebook here.

Last week, Mountain Justice and Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival (RAMPS) stopped nine coal trucks and a coal barge after the Mountain Justice Summer Action Camp.  These actions showed once again that people are willing to put their bodies on the line to stop the plunder of Appalachia and raised the spirits of West Virginians fighting to save their home, but Larry Gibson reminded us our work is not done.Coal truck blocked from leaving Alpha Nat. Resouces mine on Kayford Mtn., 5/24/2012.“Everything has to get bigger from here,” Larry said.  “We need to put our backs up against the wall and not back down. The 99% means nothing if we don’t all support  each other.  No matter what our positions are we must come together.”

Larry is right. To win our struggles against the extraction industries, we will have to band together. The fight against strip mining has been gaining ground over the last few years (here, here and here), but King Coal will keep stripping to the bitter end and leave Appalachia with nothing unless we act now.   It was only after aggressive direct action in the 60s and 70s that the political will was created to address strip mining on a federal level.  If we want strip mining to end and restoration work to begin; if we want a post-coal future that is more than devastated landscapes, rampant fracking, and deepening poverty; if we want a healthy and whole Appalachia, we must escalate our resistance.

At PowerShift 2011, currently imprisoned activist Tim DeChristopher pointed out, “With only the people in this room, we could send 30 people onto a mountaintop removal site, shut it down temporarily, start to clog up the West Virginia court system.  And we could send 30 people the day after that and the day after that and the day after that every day for a year.  I believe we would never get to the end of that year because mountaintop removal would end before we reached that point.”

This summer we will take the first step toward that vision.  Come to southern West Virginia on July 25.  RAMPS will host a mobilization where people will prepare to take nonviolent direct action to shut down a strip mine.  We are calling for as many people as possible to come together and do what the politicians, the regulators and the courts have been unwilling to do; to defend the land and the people; to stop strip mining. Continue reading

Pro-Mountain Activists Hold Sit-In, Others Shave Heads to Protest Mountain-top Removal in Appalachia

6 Jun

from Appalachia Rising

[UPDATE: 22 arrested in sit-ins. For updates, photos, videos and details on how to support them, visit Appalachia Rising]

(Washington, D.C.) — This morning residents from four states severely impacted by mountaintop removal coal mining began sit-ins in protest of their Congressional Representatives’ refusal to protect their communities from the extreme impacts of mountaintop removal. Constituents are currently occupying the offices of Congressmen Nick Rahall (D-WV), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Jimmy Duncan (R-TN).

“After seven years of going in circles, asking just for basic protections for our people and being blocked by our own Representatives who are supposed to be passing legislation to protect our district, we don’t see any other way. Appalachia deserves better,” said Teri Blanton of Hal Roger’s district in Eastern Kentucky.

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Pro-mountain activists board coal barge and blockade Kayford strip mine haul road

24 May

Activists deploy on a coal barge in West Virginia.

Mountain Justice and RAMPS activists blocked coal transport in two locations Thursday morning protesting mountaintop removal. Five boarded a barge on the Kanawha River near Chelyan, West Virginia, with a large banner that read “Coal leaves, cancer stays,” and locked their bodies to the barge. At the same time, dozens of concerned citizens obstructed access to the haul road on Kayford Mountain, stopping coal trucks from entering or leaving the Republic Energy mine.

“These actions against coal transport were taken because the viability and health of mountain communities are being destroyed by mountaintop removal—the coal and the profits are shipped away, leaving disease and destruction in their wake,” Rebecca Loeb, one of the people on the barge said.

According to Nathan Joseph, another activist on the barge, the struggle against mountaintop removal in Appalachia is linked to the struggles of other fossil-fuel extraction communities across North America and the world.

“The coal industry’s continued disregard for the well-being of Appalachian communities is connected to the struggles of other North American extraction communities. Strip mining tar sands for low-quality oil, fracking for dirty gas and deep-sea oil drilling are signs we are scraping the bottom of the barrel. The extraction, transport, processing and combustion of these fuels all disproportionately impact low-income communities, indigenous communities (such as Diné people on Black Mesa) and communities of color,” Joseph said. Continue reading

Biggest Financers of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Exposed

6 Apr

Cross Posted from Treehugger.com Image: Jake McClendon via flickr

PNC, Citi, and UBS are the top three financial enablers of mountaintop removal coal mining, according to a new report by Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club that ranks ten of the world’s largest banks.

These ten banks have provided more than $2.5 billion (in 16 loans and bond underwriting deals) to mountaintop removal companies since January 2010, according to the report.

The groups behind the report say that five banks have issued new policies on mountaintop removal since last year’s report card: Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC, UBS, and Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse had the best record this year: “The bank has no exposure to coal-mining companies that practice mountaintop removal extraction,” writes RAN.

They had this to say about the worst-performing banks:

Citi–despite announcing a public policy on MTR extraction in 2009, the bank has since doubled its exposure to the sector. UBS–immediately after announcing a policy stating that it “needs to be satisfied that the client is committed to reduce over time its exposure to this form of mining,” the bank acted as an advisor on the Massey-Alpha combination deal. That deal created the largest single mountain top removal company in the country, responsible for fully 25% of coal production from MTR mines.

“Mountaintop removal coal mining has no place in a clean energy economy, and the banks that finance this destructive practice deserve our scrutiny,” said Mary Anne Hitt of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “Those who fund mountaintop removal coal mining are lighting the fuse that leads to the devastation of communities, waterways and landscapes across Appalachia.”