Update on Ash Spill From Mountain Justice Volunteers

tvaspill199

Coming in from my friend Georgia Matt. They need help. Check out UMD’s website!:

Dear folks,

December 25, 2008

(Please post to any and all websites, blogs, and online news sources.)

For most of my life Christmas morning was a time of hanging out in my pajamas, opening presents, eating really good food, and spending time with my family.  This year was a little different.  I spent Christmas in the man-made disaster that used to surround TVA’s Kingston Coal Burning Power Plant.  Due to TVA’s negligence a HUGE coal ash pond exploded into the surrounding countryside dumping HUGE amounts of toxins into the local environment.  I awoke around 9am to begin the day’s work.  I was greeted by an online edition of a front page article in the New York Times which ran today covering this breaking news story.  I was happy to see the article listed on the front page but I was dismayed to see that the writer had missed some of the most important information that we had offered.  United Mountain Defense’s Volunteer Co-ordinator had spent nearly an hour on the phone yesterday getting the NYT up to speed on the issue and when I read the article there was no mention of United Mountain Defense or our Volunteer Co-ordinator.

The NYT got it wrong when they said, ” On Swan Pond Road, home to the residences nearest the plant, a group of environmental advocates went door to door telling residents that boiling their water, as officials had suggested, would not remove heavy metals.”  At no time did we tell people that their water had heavy metals in it as we have not done any laboratory testing and have not seen any test results that claim otherwise.  We merely suggested that other coal impacted citizens have had problems with their water and that heavy metals were found in other people’s water.  The info that we have been passing out to the people is pasted below and is found in the above attachments.

*******Please we want national, international, and intergalactic media coverage on this issue, but we want to keep the facts straight and we want United Mountain Defense to get credit for the work that we are doing.***************

Just think if the NYT called GreenPeace, Rainforest Action Network, or Coal River Mountain Watch don’t you think the NYT would write the information correctly and give these groups written credit for their work.  What is the difference here?

So once I was able to lasso United Mountain Defense’s volunteer force away from their families during this holiday season we headed down to ground zero, Harriman TN.  The time was nearly 1pm.  TVA had promised everyone that they were so on top of it that they would continue to work through this holiday in order to fix the problem.  The work that we observed TVA doing today was continuing to work to clear the railroad track.  This is a necessity to TVA because if they can’t Continue reading

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Wind on Rocky Tops

For the last year, folks over in the Coal River Valley of West Virginia have been working to create the future of sustainable energy in the coal state, with a project that could very well change the paradigm in the fight for Environmental Justice and the future of this land.

But Massey energy and their State cronies are passing the buck, as you can see below (with video), and, as always, its up to the people to do the right thing.

“Charleston, W. Va. (WSAZ)–Neighbors and environmental groups rallied Tuesday night at the state capitol, hoping to create an alternative energy source for a proposed mountain top removal site on Coal River Mountain in Raleigh County.

Their proposal still allows for underground mining, which would save the top of the mountain for a wind farm.

Massey Energy has most of the permits it needs, but they’re urging Governor Manchin to step in and rescind permits.

They also handed over a petition with about 10-thousand signatures.

Continue reading

Peaceful Protesters Lock their Bodies to Dominion Power Plant

Update: After four hours blockading the construction site this morning, 11 protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing and unlawful assembly. They are currently being held in nearby Duffield jail. As of 2:30 Monday afternoon they are still being processed, and bail is not yet set. Check back here or here for details.

At roughly 6 A.M. this morning more than 20 peaceful protesters locked themselves to steel barrels with functional solar panels attached at the construction site for a giant new coal-fired power plant in Wise County, VA. Right now, at 7:33A.M. the lockdown, which is the first project of Rainforest Action Network’s new Action Tank, continues at the site where Dominion Virginia wants to build a 585 megawatt plant. Pictures from the action deployment are up on RAN’s Flickr site and you can follow all the news and updates today at www.wiseupdominion.org more coming soon to itsgettinghotinhere later.

activists lock down at SW Virginia Coal Plant Construction Site in St. Paul VA

activists lock down at SW Virginia Coal Plant Construction Site in St. Paul VA

A Weekend in Wise

Come to Southwest Virgina for a Weekend in Wise, a Weekend for the Mountains
The people of Southwest Virginia are not giving up…and neither should you
A chance to see the mountains and meet the people threatened by corporate greed, and to stand together for a sustainable future!



Join us for a Weekend in Wise County, in the incredible mountains of Appalachia. The weekend will include tours of Mountaintop Removal sites, service projects, local music, hiking and canoeing trips, as well as trainings on how to bring the fight for a clean energy future back to your own home town. Meet the folks leading the charge against the greed of coal and energy companies by standing up for a brighter future. See the beauty of the land we are all fighting to protect, and see the devastation that threatens the future of Appalachia.
Events will begin on Friday evening at 8 p.m. and will end on Sunday at 5 p.m. with a Prayer Vigil for the Future of SW Virginia. Friday night will include dinner, a movie and an update on the state of the campaign to stop Dominion’s dirty coal plant in Wise County.
Plan to stay Sunday afternoon for a Prayer Vigil for the Future of Southwest Virginia with Christians for the Mountains. The vigil will take place from 5 – 6 p.m. in Wise County.

Where: Wise County, Virginia
When: September 12 -14
Why: To learn about mountaintop removal and to experience the beauty of Southwest Virginia.
What to Bring: You, your family, your friends, a tent and sleeping bag for camping (other options are available by request), a camera, notebook, and an open mind.

Food and accommodations will be provided at no cost, but donations will be gladly accepted to support local efforts. Travel scholarships are available by request.

Stay Tuned for more information, or go ahead and email your questions. An agenda will be posted shortly.
To all Virginian Climate activists, a space is set aside Sunday for a planning session for Virginia Power Shift.
This is our opportunity to stand together, across the region, to say “No Mountaintop Removal! No New Dominion Coal Plant in Wise County” and “YES Clean Renewable Energy, NOW!” Together, let’s show Dominion that we’re not backing down.

Status Quo and Energy, a Case Study

or: Why Dominion Power Does Not Support Solar Alternatives

My English Teacher was involved with this project back in 2000 and earlier, and now my grandfather is involved with it, and this energy is still going no where. This is why Dominion power is blowing smoke about change, why the government is blowing smoke about change, and why its going to take drastic citizen action to create the energy efficient and decentralized world we want to see.

The Beginning (middle?) of the End for King Coal

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The article below rings true with our experience here in Virginia. Despite Dominion’s attempts to cake walk through the permitting process, they have already taken some blows on their Wise County power plant, and are sure to take more soon, and I can gurantee it, that plant will not be built.

But this is the case for coal all across the country. What does all this mean? for sure, there will be some energy scarcity, and some higher prices, but this is what innovation is made of, right? This will require new solutions, and hopefully we are seeing the birth of a new, clean energy future!

“Earth Policy Institute
News Release
April 2, 2008

THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR COAL
A Long Year in the Life of the U.S. Coal Industry

http://www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2008/Update70_timeline.htm

Lester R. Brown and Jonathan G. Dorn

With concerns about climate change mounting, the era of coal-fired
electricity generation in the United States may be coming to a close.
In early 2007, a U.S. Department of Energy report listed 151 coal-fired
power plants in the planning stages in the United States . But during
2007, 59 proposed plants were either refused licenses by state
governments or quietly abandoned. In addition, close to 50 coal plants
are being contested in the courts, and the remaining plants will likely
be challenged when they reach the permitting stage.

What began as a few local ripples of resistance to coal-fired power
plants is quickly evolving into a national tidal wave of opposition
from environmental, health, farm, and community organizations as well
as leading climate scientists and state governments. Growing concern
over pending legislation to regulate carbon emissions is creating
uncertainty in financial markets. Leading financial groups are now
downgrading coal stocks and requiring utilities seeking funding for
coal plants to include a cost for carbon emissions when proving
economic viability.

On March 11, 2008, Representative Henry Waxman of California introduced
a bill to ban new coal-fired power plants without carbon emissions
controls nationwide until federal regulations are put in place to
address greenhouse gas emissions. If Congress passes this bill, it will
deal a death blow to the future of U.S. coal-fired power generation.
Yet even without a legislative mandate for a moratorium, the
contraction in financial support for new coal-fired power plants is
escalating toward a de facto moratorium. The timeline that follows is
witness to what may well be the beginning of the end of coal-fired
power in the United States .

—————————————————————
A Long Year in the Life of the U.S. Coal Industry — Timeline
On-line at http://www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2008/Update70_timeline.htm.

26 February 2007 – James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute
for Space Studies and a leading climate scientist, calls for a
moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants that do not
sequester carbon, saying that it makes no sense to build these plants
when we will have to “bulldoze” them in a few years.

26 February 2007 – Under mounting pressure from environmental groups,
TXU Corporation, a Dallas-based energy company, abandons plans for 8 of
11 proposed coal-fired power plants, catalyzing the shift from
coal-based to renewable energy development in Texas .

2 April 2007 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide
and that EPA’s current rationale for not regulating this gas is
inadequate.

3 May 2007 – Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signs a bill that
prevents new power plants from exceeding 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide
emissions per megawatt hour of electricity generated, creating a de
facto moratorium on building new coal-fired power plants in the state.

30 May 2007 – Progress Energy, an energy company serving approximately
3.1 million customers in the Southeast, announces a two-year moratorium
on the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

2 July 2007 – The Florida Public Service Commission denies Florida
Power & Light the permits needed to move forward with the massive
1,960-megawatt coal-fired Glades Power Park, citing uncertainty
surrounding future carbon costs.

13 July 2007 – Florida Governor Charlie Crist signs an Executive Order
establishing “maximum allowable emission levels of greenhouse gases for
electric utilities.” Under the emissions cap, building new coal-fired
power plants in the state seems unlikely.

18 July 2007 – Citigroup downgrades the stocks of Peabody Energy Corp.,
Arch Coal Inc., and Foundation Coal Holdings Inc., prominent U.S. coal
companies. The decision reflects the growing uncertainty surrounding
coal’s future in the United States .

18 August 2007 – After opposing new coal-fired power in Nevada , U.S.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he is opposed to building
coal-fired power plants anywhere.

18 October 2007 – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment
denies Sunflower Electric Power Corporation air quality permits for two
proposed 700-megawatt coal-fired generators on the basis that carbon
dioxide is an air pollutant and should be regulated.

3 January 2008 – Merrill Lynch downgrades the investment ratings of
Consol Energy Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp., two leading U.S. coal
companies.

22 January 2008 – The Attorneys General of California, six eastern
states, and the District of Columbia submit a letter to the South
Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control opposing the
proposed 1,320-megawatt Pee Dee coal-fired power plant. They note that
emissions from this plant would “seriously undermin[e] the concerted
efforts being undertaken by multiple states to address global warming.”

30 January 2008 – Citing escalating costs, the Bush administration
pulls the plug on federal funding for FutureGen, a joint project with
13 utilities and coal companies to build a demonstration coal-fired
power plant that captures and sequesters carbon.

4 February 2008 – Investment banks Morgan Stanley, Citi, and J.P.
Morgan Chase announce that any future lending for coal-fired power
plants will be contingent on the utilities demonstrating economic
viability under future carbon costs. Demonstrating economic viability
would require speculation of future costs, imposing a risk on the
investment.

8 February 2008 – The U.S. Court of Appeals overturns two EPA mercury
rules covering coal-fired power plants, thus requiring new coal-fired
plants to implement the most stringent mercury controls available.
Compliance is expected to raise the considerable costs of 32 proposed
coal plants, some already under construction.

12 February 2008 – Bank of America announces that it will start
factoring in a cost of $20–40 per ton of carbon emissions in its risk
analysis when evaluating loan applications from utilities.

19 February 2008 – The federal government suspends a low-interest loan
program for rural utilities seeking assistance for new coal-fired power
plants.

11 March 2008 – Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey
(D-MA) introduce a bill that would block the EPA and states from
issuing permits to new coal-fired power plants that lack
state-of-the-art carbon capture and storage technology. Since this
technology is at least a decade away from commercial viability, if this
bill passes it would essentially place a near-term moratorium on new
coal-fired power plants.”

—————————————————————
Source: Earth Policy Institute, http://www.earthpolicy.org, April 2008.
Additional details and references at
http://www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2008/Update70_timeline2.htm.

# # #

For a strategy on how to phase out coal-fired power generation
worldwide by 2020, see Chapters 11 and 12 in Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to
Save Civilization, available for free downloading at
http://www.earthpolicy.org.

MJSB Ohio Wins!

Direct Action Wins!

Mountain Justice Takes on King Coal in Columbus

How often do you get to witness a band of activists deploy a direct action and successfully pressure the CEO of a corporation into agreeing to their demands – before the police even arrive on the scene?

AMP HQ - Mountain Justice Comes Knocking

On Friday afternoon, student activists with Ohio Student Environmental Coalition and members of Mountain Justice occupied the lobby of American Municipal Power and forced an impromptu meeting with CEO Mark Gerken – who was not a happy camper.

AMP is planning to build a 1000 MW pulverized coal power plant in Meigs County, Ohio – one of the most impoverished counties in the state, with some of the highest lung cancer and premature death rates due industrial pollution in the country. There are already 4 coal power plants within 10 miles of Meigs and the coal barons of the Midwest are planning on building five more – the largest and dirtiest being the AMP project.

Determined to put an end to this economic and social injustice, concerned Meigs residents have been working with student and youth activists to organize and empower communities to break out of the socio-economic slavery of king coal. Mountain Justice Spring Break – an event where many students, rather than spending their holidays in Florida or Cancun, have opted instead for more meaningful pursuits in building solidarity, developing consensus, discovering affinity and exploring nonviolent direct action – showcased this collaboration over this last week.

Today marked a watershed moment in the movement against King Coal in Ohio. The activists’ demands were simple: cancel plans to build the coal plant, fund renewable energy, and schedule a meeting between the AMP Board of Trustees, local students, and frontline community activists to discuss how AMP can best chart a course towards these goals.

Demands Met - Action Success

So, this morning, about fifty student and youth activists – most of whom had never participated in a direct action – marched to AMP headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, at which point a group of four negotiators entered the building and demanded a meeting with Gerken. Even when confronted by irate AMP employees, the youth negotiators kept their cool and stuck to their demands. They not only managed to meet with Gerken, but also got him to commit to a meeting between students, Meigs County activists and the AMP Board – and to agree that AMP wouldn’t begin construction on the plant until after this meeting has taken place.

This action was part of an ongoing campaign by activists – including residents of frontline communities, and student activists from groups like Mountain Justice, Ohio Student Environmental Coalition, Earth First, and Student Environmental Action Coalition – against AMP’s plans to bring further destruction to Southern Ohio. On a Sunday morning in early March, a group of concerned citizens visited the home of CEO Marc Gerken, and demanded that AMP reconsider its plans to move forward with the plant. (At that point, Gerken brushed off their requests for a meeting.) Earlier this week – as part of the Listening Project – several students visited the homes of Meigs County residents, listened to their concerns about the AMP project, and empowered them to take action and join the campaign against the coal plant.

Today’s action was the biggest step to date in this campaign, and has laid the groundwork for even bigger victories against King Coal in Ohio. Stay tuned for updates on what this collaboration will do next!