On Saturday, September 20, one day before the People’s Climate March, over 90 members of Earth Quaker Action Team, or EQAT, conducted theatrical “climate disruption investigations” at two Manhattan branches of PNC Bank. With oversized cardboard magnifying glasses, we searched for evidence of the bank’s complicity in both climate change and potential human rights violations in Appalachia. Costumed “climate investigators” uncovered props depicting blown up mountains, poisoned water, destroyed communities, and close ties between the bank and companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining.
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For the first time in its history, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have to disclose the amount of pollutants its dams are sending into waterways in a groundbreaking legal settlement that could have broad implications for the Corps' hundreds of dams nationwide. The Corps announced in a settlement Monday that it will immediately notify the conservation group that filed the lawsuit of any oil spills among its eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon and Washington. The Corps also will apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for pollution permits, something the Corps has never done for the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. The settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Portland ends the year-old consolidated lawsuit by the conservation group Columbia Riverkeeper, which said the Corps violated the Clean Water Act with unmonitored, unpermitted oil discharges from the eight hydroelectric dams. No one outside the Corps knows how much pollution is being flushed into waterways every day. The agency doesn't have to track it and, before Monday, no one with sufficient authority compelled them to do so. The settlement reflects the recent tack of the EPA regulating the environmental impacts of energy. The agency recently came up with regulations of mountaintop removal for coal and fracking for oil and gas.
Save the Date! Rising Tide North America Announces Our Continental Gathering! August 22-24 near Whitesburg, Kentucky Join us for the 2nd annual Rising Tide North America Continental Gathering, August 22-24 in eastern Kentucky. You can RSVP at http://bit.ly/1ihEyxn This year, Rising Tide North America’s network of activists and allies from around the continent will be converging in Appalachia at the tenth anniversary of Mountain Justice to learn from and support the struggle to stop mountaintop removal, connect with climate justice activists from around North America and strategize about how we want our movement to expand and grow. Additional details will be available soon..
I want to share a story. And I should warn you: it’s full of hubris. I moved to West Virginia in December of 2012, thinking I could lead a blitz campaign to end the reign of mountaintop removal in the state. I spent a few months volunteering for local groups, like Coal River Mountain Watch, RAMPS, and so on, listening and learning, and trying to be of service — while looking for openings and seeing the need for an audacious all-out effort that would finally safeguard these mountains and her people. By the Summer of 2013, I thought I was ready to make my move. I wrote up a 7-page manifesto, which I have yet to share publicly, and mailed it (yes, snail-mailed it) to what I saw as some of the best organizers in the state (though not all). The manifesto was coupled with an invitation to join together for a visionary summit at the Southern Appalachian Labor School on August 17th 2013 — to brainstorm and possibly even launch a new campaign.
We want to connect local concerned people with each other and also with people fighting the ravages of mountaintop removal and fracking in their communities, showing that it’s the same fight and creating better understanding between us all. We want to make sure that our lives and those of future generations won’t be marred by the negative health impacts that accompany every gas liquifaction plant or coal terminal or mountaintop removal site or fracking well. The Energy Exports Action Camp is being held to increase the ability of people who care to stop disastrous projects in our region — like the proposed Cove Point liquid natural gas export facility and the existing Baltimore coal export terminals. The impacts of these industrial operations affect us directly in the Chesapeake Bay area, but they also finance more devastating practices farther away. Mountaintop removal and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) are two extreme methods currently used to extract coal and gas from beneath the ground — and it’s the money reaped from exporting these materials abroad that makes these unbearable procedures economically feasible.