Tennesseetransitions


A hair-brained idea?
May 23, 2012, 7:46 PM
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I read this today:

COOL RIDGE, W.VA. – Fed up with government inaction, a group of outraged West Virginians will gather this Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, 2012 from noon to 3 p.m. at the South Plaza of the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston to make a powerful public statement against mountaintop removal coal mining. 

“We’ve gone through all the official channels of every level of our state government, we’ve been to DC, nothing is being done,” says Marilyn Mullens, who felt compelled to make a strong public statement – Mullens will shave her hair off in front of supporters and family, in a silent tribute to the 500 mountains, one million acres of forest, thousands of miles of headwater streams and thousands of communities wiped off the map by mountaintop removal coal mining.  She hopes many others will do the same.

Would you be willing to shave your head while standing on the Capitol steps in Nashville in an effort to protect our mountains, our air quality, our water, our health, culture and our tourism? I’ve been thinking about this all day long, and I believe the answer is YES. That’s saying a lot for me, since my hair is to my waist now, and I’m pretty sure I’d be damn ugly with a shaved head. But, I just wonder… could it, would it, make a difference? I’d really love to think that it would make our legislators really stop and take a look at the issue more closely. But, I have doubts it would be that effective UNLESS there were hundreds of others that would join me. There’s strength in numbers you know.

So, while you’re thinking about this proposal, you might want to visit the local UU Church in Gray this Sunday afternoon, where a documentary film about mountaintop removal mining called “The Last Mountain” will be shown to the public at 12:30 PM in their main sanctuary. No admission fee.  In the meantime, I want to hear your thoughts, and read your comments, on this hair brained idea.

What is Mountaintop Removal Mining? It’s a moral issue (in addition to all the others I mentioned above) Did you know that 200,000 Tennesseans work in the tourism industry but less than 400 work in coal mining? If we continue to allow Big Coal to tear down our mountains will tourists still want to come here? Did you know that the mountains are destroyed for cheap coal that gets sold to China? Did you know that the profits go to Texas and West Virginia conglomerates? And do you know what we get from removal of our beloved mountains? SICK-from the polluted water sources located at the bottom of the mountains to the soil where the coal dust settles, mountaintop removal is without quarrel, the most extreme form of environmental assault ever.

The fallout of mountaintop removal operations, has led to the largest forced removal of American citizens since the mid-19th century and left the region in entrenched poverty and unemployment.  The ignored studies on birth defects and cancer connected to contaminants related to mountaintop removal operations are a travesty- and a moral issue. Hope to see you Sunday!

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