Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stop Moutainton Removal on Coal River Mountain

Join in a faith day of action against mountaintop removal coal mining

"Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice."- Micah 6:1

Mountaintop removal coal mining is a practice used primarily in the Appalachian Mountains, where the tops of mountains are removed to expose seams of coal; earth and rock from the mountaintop is then dumped in neighboring valleys. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, over 1,000 miles of streams in the Appalachian region have been buried by fill from mountaintop mines and at least 800 square miles of mountaintops have been lost forever. Mountaintop removal mining provides jobs in one of our country's poorest regions, but at the expense of the land, water, culture and community of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more about mountaintop removal here.

Several years ago, at the urging of several synods in the Appalachian region, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a social policy resolution that expressed great concern about the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and advocated for an end to it.

In the years since that resolution passed, numerous efforts have been made to slow or halt the practice of mountaintop removal mining. The ELCA has continued to urge both an end to the practice and the development of alternative energy sources that may become a source of jobs and economic growth in the Appalachian region and beyond.

We need your help now to stop one of the most destructive of these mines from destroying yet another mountain!

Blasting recently began on Coal River Mountain in West Virginia, and the West Virginia DEP has confirmed that coal is being moved off the mountain. This was devastating news to advocates in nearby communities who have rallied around an alternate plan to build a wind farm on Coal River Mountain, the highest peak ever slated for mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia and one of the last intact peaks in the Coal River Valley. The proposed wind farm has the potential to provide electricity for over 70,000 homes, as well as to create good, permanent jobs for the community. When fully operational, the mountaintop removal mine will stripmine over 6,000 acres of Coal River Mountain -- close to 10 square miles that will be forever changed and no longer useable for wind power.

God entrusted stewardship of the land and water to our care (Genesis 2:15). As part of our call to be stewards of creation, we have a duty to use the land responsibly, to manage it so that it serves the good of all, and to protect it for future generations and for all life. Send a message to the Environmental Protection Agency asking them to intervene and end the Coal River Mountain mining project.

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s): EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Stop MTR on Coal River Mountain

Dear Lisa Jackson,
As a person of faith, I believe that we are called to be stewards of the Earth and to manage our land, water and other resources for the benefit of all of his creation and for future generations. I am greatly troubled by the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining in the Appalachian Mountains -- this practice favors short term economic gain over the protection of these ancient mountains and the unique culture and communities that depend upon them.

Recently, mining operations have begun on Coal River Mountain in West Virginia. This mountaintop removal mine has been opposed by many in the surrounding communities, who favor building a wind farm on the mountain as a way to protect it for current and future generations, provide energy for more than 70,000 homes, and create good, permanent jobs for residents of the surrounding area. This project would epitomize the clean energy future that President Obama spoken of so often; the mountaintop removal m ine that will prevent it from becoming a reality is a symbol of the dirty energy status quo.

I thank you for all that you have done so far in your term as administrator to slow the growth of mountaintop removal mines, and urge you to intervene in any way possible to prevent the mountaintop mine on Coal River Mountain from further damaging the mountain. I also urge you to lend your support to local community members fighting to establish a wind project on the mountain as a sustainable alternative to the mountaintop mine.

We are called by God to till and tend God's garden; mountaintop removal mining flies in the face of God's call to stewardship. I urge you to continue to do all that you can to ensure a cleaner, and less destructive, energy future for our nation.

(Your Name)

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