On Thursday, I went to the Eco-Palooza, which was part of the Eco Club’s Green Week. The Green Boys, a local band, provided music for the event. According to their online bio, The Green Boys, sing only what they know and have a sound similar to that of the music of the Appalachian Mountains many years ago.
Besides music there was a clothing swap, a recycling box decorating station, and letter writing to Congressman Wittman and Senator Webb questioning their support of mountaintop removal coal mining. According to the template letters provided, Wittman supported three amendments to the budget bill H.R 1 that took protections away from Appalachian mountains, streams and communities and made it difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency. Appalachian Voices, an environmental non-profit organization, says “These were revenue-neutral amendments, meaning they weren’t aimed at reducing the federal budget deficit, but were designed solely to prevent the EPA and other government agencies from updating and enforcing clean air and clean water laws.” Besides the environmental effects of mountaintop removal coal mining, there are many health risks. Mountaintop removal mining also employs fewer people than traditional mining. Last fall Senator Webb spoke about jobs at a rally supporting this type of mining. However, according this template letter asking for his support of the Appalachia Restoration Act, “Coal mining jobs in Virginia have declined by 65% in the last 25 years in large part because mountaintop removal has replaced miners with machines. Mountaintop removal also greatly diminishes prospects for future economic diversification by irreparably destroying mountains, burying headwater streams and negatively impacting human health.” The benefits of mountaintop removal mining are greatly outweighed by the costs. It’s time to step up and take a stand — let your local representative know your views on the issue.