Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
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March 2010
Contents

Coalfield Residents and Scientists Meet with Governor
A Victory in Fayette County
Carol Warren: Living the Dream of World Peace
EPA Approves Hobet 45 Mine
Sludge Safety Project Legislative Update
MTR Disproportionately Impacting Low-Income Americans
Before I Was Hungry
Coal Going Down, Naturally
Lindytown Twilight-ed into Darkness
Holding Government Accountable: Meetings, Meetings, Meetings
No CONSOL-A-Tion, Workers Misled About Possible Job Losses?
West Virginias Greatest Resource: Water
Alert Residents Contact DEP About Spill in Area Creek
WV Council of Churches Sets Legislative Agenda
Blair Mountains Historical Status Revoked, Group Will Appeal
Cemetery Protection Bills Introduced At Session
Supreme Court Ruling Makes Clean Elections Work Even More Important
The More Things Change ... Granny D on Campaign Finance Reform
20 - 30 Years of Surface Mining Left
Clean Elections Advance in West Virginia
OVEC Files Notice of Intent to Sue Massey Energy Over Water Violations
Coal-to-Liquid Plant: Jobs Over Health and Water?
End DC-Style Business As Usual Join Us in A New Campaign
Ken Do! Hechler Honored
We Hereby Resolve to Make a Difference
Meeting with the Governor and Kathy Mattea
Hundreds Rally at DEP For The Mountains
Organizing for the Mountains in Mercer County
Going Solar in Roane County - Off-Grid is Good
Watch It, Read It, Groove To It All to Protect It
Global Warming / Climate Instability in the Mountain State
Study: Mountaintop Mining Damage Pervasive and Irreversible
Eating For OVEC Keeps Raising $$$
Coal Company Depredations Endanger WV Family Cemeteries, Part Two
Byrds Words Rock the Coalfield Status Quo
Byrd - Old Senator, New Tricks Has King Coal Confused
A Yell Out to Yale
Standing Our Ground


For viewing the PDF version of the newsletter

 
Winds of Change Newsletter, March 2010     See sidebar for table of contents

Faith in Action
We Hereby Resolve to Make a Difference

No matter where you live, no matter your numbers, you can make a difference if you organize!

Consider this story of how a few faith community folks in Georgia are organizing their communities to stop mountaintop removal. Theyve moved the entire Greater Atlanta Presbytery a network of 110 churches to endorse a resolution that makes the following bold statement:

 
We, the undersigned West Virginia faith community leaders, challenge and encourage all WOC readers who are also people of faith to take a bold stance like these courageous souls in the Greater Atlanta Presbytery.

Signed:
Rev. Robin Blakeman; Rev. Denise Giardina; Rev. Jim Lewis; Rev. Esber N. Tweel; Rev. Susan J. Latimer; Rev. Roy Gene Crist; Rev. Mel Hoover; Rev. Rose Edington; Marcia Leitch, person of faith; Allen Johnson, Christians For The Mountains.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED,

That the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta urges the Georgia General Assembly to enact legislation - House Bill 276 - prohibiting, over a timed phase, the purchase or use of mountaintop removal coal for use in Georgia power plants, or in any other energy-producing process and that there be a moratorium imposed on the issuance of permits for the construction of any new coal-fired electrical generating facilities in Georgia until July, 2014 (To read the entire resolution, visit: tinyurl.com/Presb-Atl-MTR)

This is significant because Georgia is one of the leading consumers of coal-fired power in this country.

Via e-mails with OVECs Robin Blakeman, Karen Turney, one of the faithful folk at the forefront of this inspiring venture, explained the process that led to approval of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery resolution.

Rev. Alan Jenkins, founding executive director of Earth Covenant Ministry (ECM), initiated the Greater Atlanta Presbytery effort. Last spring, ECM sponsored a program that featured a film about mountaintop removal.

After discussion, the Presbyterys political policy advocacy committee decided to work with ECM. A group of folks wrote up a resolution, patterned on the Salem Presbytery (North Carolina) Commissioners Resolution that was presented and affirmed by the 2006 National Presbyterian (PCUSA) General Assembly.

The working group sent the resolution through the appropriate channels of the Greater Atlanta Presbyterys governing bodies and onto the docket of the Dec.1, 2009, Presbytery meeting. With good support from the ECM member congregations, five congregations affirmed the resolution prior to the Presbytery meeting.

Prior to the Presbytery meeting, several committee members voted against the resolution because of their concern for jobs in Appalachia. The working group was prepared with information about the decline in jobs as mining companies switched from underground mining to mountaintop removal. They also presented a study which shows more jobs and more revenue would come from building a wind farm on the studied mountain instead of blowing it up for coal.

Turney wrote, "I think one of the pictures I had was particularly persuasive to ministers it was the site at Kayford Mountain in West Virginia, where the Stover Cemetery sits as a tiny green space in the midst of this awful wreck of a mountainside.

"The pictures were most helpful. During the presentation, Rev. Jenkins had a silent loop of slides running continuously while speakers were talking."

Turney assembled packets for the presentation which included copies of the resolution and the supporting Georgia House Bill 276, a compilation sheet called Voices from the Mountains, which she gleaned from websites and blogs, and a resolution from the Medical Association of Georgia regarding the licensing of any new coal-fired power plants.

The upshot of all the preparation: Resolution approved! Follow-up to the approval of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery resolution includes:

l The Presbytery public policy advocate will alert state legislators who serve on the Industrial Relations Committee and all Presbyterian legislators;

l In mid-February, the resolution will "officially" be presented to the state bills main sponsors;

l Turney is notifying other Georgia presbyteries about the resolution, in hopes that they might do something similar.

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