Wendell Berry Risks Arrest in Sit-In

by Mark T. Mitchell on February 11, 2011 · 4 comments <span>Print this article</span> Print this article

in Politics & Power,Writers & Poets

mountaintop removal

Wendell Berry and nine other courageous Kentuckians are in Frankfort today requesting to meet with Gov. Steve Beshear and calling for an end to mountaintop removal and for the creation of economic stability for the region.

You can watch the live blog from the capitol here.

Press Release:

Group of Kentuckians Demand End to Mountaintop Removal Mining in Governor?s Office Sit-In

11 February 2011

Contact: Silas House/Jason Howard 606.224.1208

FRANKFORT: A group of twenty Kentuckians has gathered at the state Capitol in an attempt to meet with Gov. Steve Beshear to discuss the issue of mountaintop removal mining. They plan to remain in his office until the governor agrees to stop the poisoning of Kentucky’s land, water, and people by mountaintop removal; or until he chooses to have the citizens physically removed.

Among the group are Wendell Berry, 76, the acclaimed writer who has decried mining abuses for the past fifty years; Beverly May, 52, a nurse practitioner from Floyd County; Erik Reece, 43, who has written extensively about the coal industry; Patty Wallace, 80, a grandmother and long-time activist from Louisa; Mickey McCoy, 55, former educator and mayor of Inez; Teri Blanton, 54, a grassroots activist from Harlan County; Stanley Sturgill, 65, a former underground coal miner of Harlan County; Rick Handshoe, 50, a retired Kentucky State Police radio technician of Floyd County; John Hennen, 59, a history professor at Morehead State University; and Martin Mudd, 28, an environmental activist.

While these Kentuckians realize they are risking arrest by refusing to leave the governor’s office, they say they have repeatedly petitioned Gov. Beshear for help, yet their pleas have been ignored. This action is a last resort to seek protections for their health, land, and water.

In a letter to Gov. Beshear, the citizens expressed their desire to communicate respectfully and effectively with the governor about the urgent need to stop the destruction of mountaintop removal mining. Among their requests were the following:

1. Accept a long-standing invitation to view the devastation in eastern Kentucky caused by mountaintop removal mining

2. Foster a sincere, public discussion about the urgent need for a sustainable economic transition for coal workers and mountain communities

3. Withdraw from the October 2010 lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, in which the Beshear administration partnered with the coal industry to oppose the EPA?s efforts to protect the health and water of coalfield residents

“The office of the governor must be held accountable,”
the citizens explained in a joint statement. “We are once again asking Gov. Beshear for help.”

You can also support these effort by joining us this Monday at I love mountains day. You can register online here.

Ondine Miranda Quinn
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
Central Kentucky Organizer
250 Plaza Dr. Suite 4
Lexington, KY 40503
(859) 276-0563 (office)
(859) 368-4438 (cell)
(859) 276-0774 (fax)
[email protected]

KFTC is a 29-year-old grassroots organization that believes in the power of people, working together, to challenge injustices, right wrongs, and improve the quality of life for all Kentuckians. Visit us
online at www.kftc.org!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Rob G February 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm

If you’ve not seen MTR mining in person you have no idea of the level of devastation it produces. I’ve seen it up close in southern West Virginia — thousands and thousands of acres, once thickly-forested mountains, that now look like the freaking moon.

avatar Rob G February 13, 2011 at 5:28 am

This is where I visited, in the summer of 2001. The band I was playing in at the time was part of a benefit concert at Mr. Gibson’s campground on top of Kayford Mountain.

http://mountainkeeper.blogspot.com/p/about.html

avatar D.W. Sabin February 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm

For the life of me, I just don’t get these people who sing their songs of “Purple Mountains Majesty” when they think it somehow criminally daft to complain about summarily chopping mountaintops off and befouling the rivers in the process. One is best advised to give a wide berth to the Mythologists when money is at at stake. After all, exploitation is the better part of…ehhh, err…its the better part of exploitation dammit. Amurika would be easier if it were flatter.

The Post Modern Anthem: All for one….and …uhhh, ehhh, oh yes, all for one. One Musketeer has to be cheaper to run than three.

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