photo via RAN
NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen, faith leaders, and more than 100 people were arrested today during a protest today at the White House over mountaintop removal. Four more people were arrested at a sit-in at PNC bank, which funds MTR projects even though many of its competitors, including Bank of America, have stopped financing the destructive mining practice that is ravaging parts of Appalachia.Hansen said:
The science is clear, mountaintop removal destroys historic mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air with coal and rock dust. Mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished. The time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries must end.
Most of those arrested in the protest, some of whom resisted arrest and were dragged away by police, were charged with disobeying orders by the US Parks Police to leave the sidewalk in front of the White House. A small number were charged with illegally crossing a police line.
photo via RAN
The event was organized by Appalachia Rising, which wants President Obama to "immediately abolish the practice of blowing up mountains and dumping the debris into nearby streams and valleys to reach seams of coal."
EPA has taken steps to curb MTR but has not issued an all out ban. The latest project that has activists and Appalachian citizens concerned is Spruce No. 1 Mine project, which would be one of the largest strip-mining operations in Appalachia. EPA is deciding on the site in the coming weeks and the decision will be a bellwether on the agency's plans for MTR.
More photos of the action are available at: Rainforest Action Network's flickr page.