Julia (Judy) Bonds -- Mountain Heroine
Goldman Environmental Prize Winner for North
April 14, 2003
Photos by Vivian Stockman unless noted
Congratulations Judy! Judy is Community Outreach Coordinator of the Coal River Mountain
Watch, which is based in Whitesville, WV. The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world's largest prize
program honoring grassroots environmentalists.
We at OVEC are so excited that Judy has won this prestigious prize!
We've watched her develop over the years. It's clear she's the perfect
person for this great honor, as she's not only a highly effective,
courageous leader and organizer, but also a dynamic speaker and a team
player truly committed to ending mountaintop removal.
Judy is obviously motivated by a fierce, protective love for the
Appalachian Mountains, which have nurtured six generations of her
coal-mining family. She knows and lives the truth about mountaintop
removal, and she speaks that truth despite intimidation and a torrent of
public relations tripe from the coal industry. Her passion and bravery
inspire others to speak up against coal's destruction of their
communities, their waters and their mountains.
Judy's winning of this prestigious prize is a dramatic underscoring
of what we all know--that mountaintop removal is the most devastating
and egregious planned environmental assault in the United States. We
certainly hope Judy's award focuses nationwide attention on this very
sad and unnecessary by-product of our nation's gluttonous energy
As more people know that when they flip on the light switch they are
helping to blow the tops off richly-forested mountains, perhaps more
people will take greater efforts to conserve energy and to demand that
elected leaders make an all-out push for establishing truly clean
alternative energy systems nationwide. That would be the greatest prize
Judy could ever receive.
Below are some photos of Judy in action.
Judy Bonds (left) with Freda Williams. Behind them is one arm of Marfork Coal's massive Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment. This Massey Energy subsidiary's impoundment could hold up to five billion gallons of coal slurry, liquid waste left over from processing coal for market. The impoundment looms over the headwaters of the Coal River, near Whitesville, West Virginia.
Judy speaks at a June 2002 press conference in Washington DC about Bush administration changes to the Clean Water Act that legalize illegal mountaintop removal activities .
Judy (left) and Freda Williams at a valley fill near Artie, West
Photo by Bob Gates
Judy, front, and friends at a Massey Energy coal sludge impoundment.
Judy as one of the crowd at a rally against a coal truck weight limit