Front Porch Blog

Interview Series: Deborah Payne At the End Mountaintop Removal Week in Washingon

By Griff Crews
Communications intern, Spring 2011

Anna Jane Joyner is a rockin’ activist from North Carolina who just went on the We Love Mountains tour with a number of bands in order to harness the power of music to spread the word about mountaintop removal mining. She is one of the over 150 people who are here in Washington DC for our 6th Annual End Mountaintop Removal Week in Washington. Anna Jane interviewed one of our other participants, Deborah Payne from Berea, KY (Energy and & Health Coordinator, Kentucky Environmental Foundation).

Deborah Payne

1. Why are you here in DC for the Week in Washington?

Our state (Kentucky) is deeply imbedded in the culture of the coal industry and pays little regard to the harmful impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining on nearby communities. We need to take the focus off politics and money and refocus it on the health of Kentucky’s citizens. As citizens, it is our right and responsibility to communicate to members of Congress the urgent need to end this unnecessary form of mining that is literally killing Kentucky citizens.

2. Why are you passionate about mountaintop removal?

Our country’s energy needs are based on an antiquated form of energy production. We have so many opportunities right now to expand and diversity our energy sources and more importantly, foster healthier and more vibrant communities in the coalfields. People from Appalachia deserve the right to clean air and water.

3. What is your favorite thing/important lesson/surprising aspect about the week in Washington so far?

It’s exciting to gather with people across America from very different walks of life who are all passionate about this issue. In particular, I’m inspired and moved by the many people here from the coalfields who are living with this tragedy every day.

4. Why do you think citizen activism is important?

Any change in this country requires engagement with our leaders who make our policies. Overarching change requires us to put our voice into action through civic engagement and activism.




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