Front Porch Blog

Forty-Eight Hour Coal Roundup – It’s Been A Heck Of A Day (or two)

Safety of Dozens of Citizens Threatened at “Public Hearing”
Pro-coal groups and mountaintop removal coal mining opponents verbally clashed at a hearing on the Army Corps of Engineers’ NW21 permits Wednesday night in Charleston, W.Va. According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of coal industry supporters rallied to outnumber mountaintop removal opponents, and heckled and yelling threats to individuals who came to present their case against mountaintop removal coal mining; some reports included elbowing, pushing and other physical forms of intimidation (view a video and read testimonials from citizens present at the event), and most were prevented from speaking at the hearing. Both the Charleston Daily Mail and the Charleston Gazette covered the event. According to a blog post by Ken Ward, the Corps claims that the hearing was “conducted in an orderly fashion.”

Jackson Claims Coal “Can Be Mined Safely and Cleanly”
In other Obama Administration news, according to an article also by Ken Ward in the Charleston Gazette, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson defended her agency’s scrutiny of mountaintop removal while claiming to have no desire to end coal mining, amid growing pressure from coalfield political leaders and the mining industry. During a Congressional committee meeting, Jackson stated: “Neither EPA nor I personally have any desire to end coal mining, have any hidden agenda, any agenda whatsoever that has to do with coal mining as an industry….I believe coal can be mined safely and cleanly. I believe it can be done in a way that minimizes impacts to water quality.”

ACCCE Back In The News
As reported today by Kate Shepard in her Mother Jones blog post, the hearing scheduled to investigate the role of Bonner & Associates and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity in the forged anti-climate bill letters sent to Congress was postponed until next week. Read Shepard’s full report.

Shepard’s post also mentioned a new report out by Politico outlining the ACCCE budget on astoturfing and lobbying efforts for the past 18 months – a cool $10 million.

Light on the Horizon for Marsh Fork School
To end on a positive note, Jeff Biggers reports on Huffington Post that yesterday evening in Coal River, W.Va., the Raleigh County School Board met with local citizens and announced its intention to ask the state for funds to construct a new school for March Fork Elementary. Marsh Fork School—which sits immediately below a 2.8 billion gallon coal sludge impoundment and a mountaintop removal mining site and adjacent to a dusty coal silo—has been at the center of a series of rallies and campaigns from local residents and mountaintop removal coal mining opponents, who have worked for over five years to obtain a new school for the children.

And that’s all in just two turns of the clock.





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