Protecting God’s Creation extends to ensuring justice for God’s people, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) policies have consistently affirmed that as people of faith we are to seek environmental justice for low income communities that are disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards. We see this connection clearly in the case of mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR).
The practice of MTR uses explosives to blast hundreds of feet of earth off the top of mountains to expose coal seams. This land is then pushed over mountainsides and has buried or destroyed more than 2,000 miles of streams in Appalachia.
The continuing environmental degradation from MTR is overwhelming, and the people of Appalachia are facing multiple threats from this practice – poisoned water supplies, related health problems, increased flooding, ever-present blasting at MTR sites, just to name a few.
In light of these justice issues, in 2006 the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly approved a resolution calling to abandon the use of mountaintop removal. The policy calls for state and federal agencies to end this practice and “and work to meet our nation’s energy needs in a manner that is just, sustainable, and consistent with Christian values.”
This week, more than 150 citizens from Appalachia and across the US are gathered in Washington, D.C. for the End Mountaintop Removal Week in Washington- to take a stand against mountaintop removal coal mining and for the health of their communities. You can join them today from home or work by calling your members of Congress and urging them to support legislation that would go a long way to stopping this destructive practice.
Today's National Call-In Day is part of the 6th Annual End Mountaintop Removal Week in Washington, sponsored by the Alliance for Appalachia.
Mountaintop removal coal mining is one of the most egregious social and environmental justice disasters in America today — more than 500 mountains, 1.5 million acres of land and over 2000 miles of headwater streams have already been destroyed by this practice, compromising locals’ drinking water supplies and filling the air with dangerous coal dust. Residents who live nearby these mine sites and supporters from across the US are asking for an end to mountaintop removal mining and an investment in sustainable economic alternatives for Appalachia.
The main purpose of the gathering in Washington is to lobby for the Clean Water Protection Act and the Appalachia Restoration Act, bills would severely curtail the practice of mountaintop removal mining by disallowing the dumping of mine waste into streams, creating valley fills and essentially burying these headwater streams.
The Alliance for Appalachia is also working to fight recent Congressional attacks on the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency, which in the past two years, has made strides in limiting the impacts of mountaintop removal.