May 31, 2012
Contact: Maria Gunnoe, OVEC: (office) 304-245-8481 or (cell phone) 304-989-9581
Dana Kuhnline, The Alliance for Appalachia: 304-825-3262
OVEC’s Maria Gunnoe to testify before Congressional Subcommittee Friday, June 1
Opponents of Mountaintop Removal to Converge on D.C. The Following Week
BOB WHITE, W.Va. – On Friday (June 1), Boone County resident Maria Gunnoe, an outspoken opponent of mountaintop removal coal mining, will testify at an oversight hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
Gunnoe will address the issue of the Spruce No. 1 mountaintop removal permit during the hearing, which begins at 10:00 a.m. in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Mountaintop removal will remain in the spotlight on Capitol Hill the following week, as more than 150 mountaintop removal opponents converge for The Alliance for Appalachia’s End Mountaintop Removal Week in Washington. The citizens will have scheduled 150 visits with government agencies and members of Congress. They’ll hold a National Day of Action to End Mountaintop Removal on Wednesday, June 6, which will include a rally from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. at the Upper Senate Park, at the intersection of New Jersey and Constitution in D.C.
Increased action by the Obama administration to address the health and economic impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining practice and passage of the bipartisan Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 1375, are key asks for the week.
Recent peer-reviewed studies have shown devastating health impacts; citizens near mountaintop removal are 50% more likely to die of cancer and 42% more likely to be born with birth defects compared with other people in Appalachia.
Gunnoe, an organizer with the Huntington, W.Va.-based environmental group OVEC, who is testifying before a Congressional committee for the third time, will highlight those health impacts in her testimony.
“The title of this hearing shows that many committee members already have their minds made up and aren’t going to listen to community members’ perspective on the destruction mountaintop removal causes to our health and our communities,” Gunnoe said. “But, I will go to speak our truth.”
The hearing is titled “Obama Administration’s Actions Against the Spruce Coal Mine: Canceled Permits, Lawsuits and Lost Jobs.” It will be live-streamed at http://naturalresources.house.gov/Live/.
Also invited to testify at the hearing are Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Lisa Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; and The Honorable Joseph Pizarchik, Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
Beginning June 4, the citizens converging on DC to urge an end to mountaintop removal coal mining will visit some of these same agencies to demand the enforcement of current laws that are supposed to protect their health and land from mountaintop removal, a radical form of strip mining in Appalachia that has impacted over 500 mountains and buried more than 2,000 miles of streams in Central Appalachia.
The Alliance for Appalachia’s headquarters for the week will be the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 E Capitol St., Washington D.C. The group will host a Celebrate Appalachia Congressional Reception on Tuesday June 5 in Rayburn House Office Building, B-338, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Interviews, photo and video opportunities and hi-res photos available upon request to Dana Kuhnline, The Alliance For Appalachia, 304-825-3262, Dana.Kuhnline@gmail.com