Hundreds of people from West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and elsewhere protested in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 27 as part of the Appalachia Rising movement that is demanding an end to mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. After holding an opening rally with speakers and music, participants marched to PNC bank, where four were arrested doing a sit-in to protest the bank’s role as a financier of mountaintop removal. From there, the group marched to the White House, where more than 100 people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience.
PSL Photo : Sarah Sloan
The Party for Socialism and Liberation issued the following message to the Appalachia Rising event:
The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) salutes the dedicated activists who have been waging a courageous struggle to end mountain top removal coal mining. This method of coal mining is environmentally devastating.
According to the Mountain Justice website, “Mountaintop removal/valley fill coal mining (MTR) has been called strip mining on steroids. Mountaintop removal/valley fill mining annihilates ecosystems, transforming some of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world into biologically barren moonscapes.
“Mountaintop Removal Mining (MTR) and other forms of surface mining only provide an average of 4-5% of the nation’s coal energy. With energy conservation alone, we could save an average of 20% of our current energy demands. MTR mining is not needed and serves only to provide short term profits for a few, while causing long term devastation to the mountain ecosystems and surrounding communities.”
In the capitalist society in which we live, the right of coal companies to make a profit are more important than the right of the people to have access to clean water and a healthy environment.
As socialists, we support the struggle to stop MTR. We also work to bring an end to a system in which the needs of the people and the environment take second place to the “need” of the bosses to make a profit.