Archive for mountaintop removal

Overnight: America the Beautiful? - Willie Nelson // New NRDC Mountaintop Removal Video + Action AAA



From the press release on this video from the Natural Resources Defense Council:

WASHINGTON (March 24, 2014)--Country music legend Willie Nelson is joining the fight in Congress to protect Appalachian communities from the impacts of the devastating mining practice of mountaintop removal.

In a music video that depicts dynamiting operations in Appalachia and their ruinous consequences, the American icon sings “America the Beautiful” to highlight opposition to giving coal companies free rein to blast the tops off mountains and dump dangerous pollution into surrounding streams and creeks.

The House of Representatives will vote on a bill Tuesday that would make it easier to dump the tons of toxic waste and debris from these mountaintop mining operations into Appalachian streams.

“Willie Nelson is a strong voice for everyday Americans, as shown by his solidarity with the people of Appalachia,” said Jon Devine, senior attorney in NRDC’s Water Program. “This legislation would clear the way for more destruction and more pollution. It must be stopped.”

Nelson, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, and first winner of the Country Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award, has long championed the people and communities of rural America with his Farm Aid concerts.

The video, produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council, features Nelson’s song playing over scenes of wooded Appalachian mountains being dynamited by coal companies and the resulting boulders, ash and sludge cascading down on to communities below.

The bill scheduled for Tuesday’s House of Representatives vote, HR 2824, would lock in place a George W. Bush-era rule change that opened up local streams to the pollution caused by the ravages of mountaintop mining. Under this practice, companies are blasting off entire mountaintops to get at the thin coal seams below. They're filling local rivers and streams with blasted debris, and sacrificing the safety and sanctity of countless communities in the region.

Mountaintop removal mining has already leveled more than 500 mountaintops, poisoned or buried over 2,000 miles of streams, and destroyed communities across Appalachia. Top scientists agree that the ecological damage of mountaintop removal is largely irreversible.

For more background on mountaintop removal, see:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

While we should be stopping this practice for good, a new House bill would actually make it easier, not harder, for coal companies to dump mining waste into mountain streams. The word is the HR bill 2824 will hit this week… If you have a spot in your calendar, please tweet, Facebook post, email, and/or blog post the video. I’ve included sample social media copy along with the press release which can be leveraged for the blog below. Please let me know of any questions and if you are able to post.
Two tweet options that link to the video

Join @NRDC @WillieNelson and take urgent action to #stopMTR in Congress. America the Beautiful? video:

America the Beautiful? Thanks @WillieNelson for fighting to #stopMTR

Tweet links to the action

@WillieNelson says NO to mountaintop removal and you can too. Learn more and act at

Facebook post links to the video

America the Beautiful?: Join Willie Nelson and NRDC to take urgent action to stop mountaintop removal – today!


PhotOh! Acting W. Virginia governor’s coal rally "A call to arms"?


Radio host Bob Kincaid just linked me to the following eyebrow-raising piece, and it's worthy of sharing, especially in light of the so-called "calls for civility" since the Arizona massacre.

Please see the entire article at this link, I'll just post the before and after:

Before it was edited:


And don't get me started on mountaintop removal.

I just got word of another post by Jeff Biggers. Please read it; he covers the topic in more detail over at HuffPo.


VIDEO- Rand Paul: "I Don’t Think Anyone’s Going To Be Missing A Hill Or Two Here & There"


Look what Think Progress is sharing with us:

Crooks and Liars has unearthed an interview Rand Paul gave in 2009 where the candidate aired these strident views with respect to mountaintop removal.

Rand, Rand, what are we going to do with you? Oh, I know! Defeat you!

"I'd be a great friend to coal, no taxes on their profit... lower taxes on the coal industry...Coal's a big part of our future."

But the money line:

I don’t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there.

I wonder if Rand is aware of this (via a post of ours from last April, from our pal Micheal Stinson, aka Symbolman):

Of if Mr. Friend to Coal has read these other posts. No, of course he hasn't.

As the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson has pointed out, “Mountain-top mining has been more accurately described as the ‘rape of Appalachia,’ as rural communities are destroyed economically and environmentally for coal industry.”

Our ocean has already been raped. Now this genius is shrugging off the removal of "a hill or two here and there."

Who cares about perpetuating life when there's money to be made?


W. Virginia sets bail at $100,000 each for non-violent protesters of Massey Energy


Big Coal must have a lot of pull in Boone County's magistrate. Maybe he's Magistrate of Intimidation:

EmmaKate Martin and Benjamin Bryant were arrested this morning while blockading the driveway to Massey Energy’s regional headquarters in Boone county, W.Va. Magistrate Snodgrass set their bails at $100,000 each for misdemeanor charges of trespassing, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, obstructing an officer, and littering. [...]

Among their top concerns are mountaintop removal and the Brushy Fork Sludge Impoundment on Coal River Mountain.

Climate Ground Zero’s legal team is researching the legality of the unprecedentedly high bail and will seek legal recourse.

Here is part of their open letter to Massey shareholders and the American public:

When it comes to mountaintop removal and coal sludge, there is no responsible course but to ban them entirely. Mountaintop removal is the practice of demolishing Appalachian peaks, in order to scrape out their coal seams. It fills neighboring valleys and streams with the resultant rubble, and damages the health of nearby communities. Coal sludge is the liquid byproduct of washing coal in a carcinogenic chemical bath to remove impurities, such as heavy metals including arsenic, mercury, lead, and others. We call for the abolition of both.

If you're unfamiliar with mountaintop removal, let me refresh your memory. They mine graves. It's time to invest in green energy and stop investing in dirty coal and oil volcanoes.

And of course, slamming peaceful protesters with fines of $100K is pretty dirty and slimy in and of itself.

You can find another take on the post here at The Horn.

H/t: TexBetsy