A Charleston day…

In the lectionary today,
I read in Psalm 145.
It is a prayer of thankfulness.
It is a celebration of God’s character.

The author proclaims,
“The Lord is good to all,
he has compassion over all He has made.”

As I read this,
it seems the Lord is concerned for ALL the relationships he put into place.
Yes, the breath the human draws in and out.
Yes, the longings of the human, the dreams for success.

But also,
the trees that filter the air the human draws in and out.
The limestone that filters the water in deep underground streams.
The deer that stand,
in that stand of trees,
over there.
The water that flows, intended to provide life.

So God cares about the human,
but he also cares about
the tree,
the limestone,
the deer,
the streams.

Because they nurture the human, yes,
but even more, because He MADE them,
and CARES for them.

Today, we travel to Charleston to state:
“Massey Energy and other mountaintop removal cohorts.
Your actions are not reflective of a humble awareness of your Creator.

You are being judged as you swim in cash,
and unless you alter your industry,
you will be judged on a great and terrible day.
Embrace the sustainable future where you are merely a part of an ecosystem,
standing alone, destroying your neighbors in selfishness and greed.

The Iroquois remind us,
“In our every deliberation, we must,
we MUST consider the impact of our decisions
on the next seven generations.”

You can change, Massey.
You can govern with the leavening hand of justice and wisdom, EPA.
Join the compassionate call of your Creator.

An open letter on behalf of my brothers and sisters at Coal River Mountain

salazar jackson

I wrote this letter this morning to policy-makers as a part of my responsibility as a citizen to participate in our governance.  Massey Energy has begun blasting on Coal River Mountain, a furtherance of their immoral crusade to make a tremendous amount of money at the expense of the people of the Coal River area, the ecosystem, wise industrial policy, our society, and the world at large.

Ancient Jewish teachers often reminded us that the actions of one are intimately connected to us all through sayings like, “Those who save one life, save the world.”  In Massey’s case, it is, “Those who destroy one life, destroy the world.”  Help Massey emerge from their sickness through writing persons with the power to make this stop. Join me by clicking this link to access the form letter to send to the EPA, Office of the Interior, Army Corps of Engineers, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  Feel free to use some of the ways I personalized the letter so the recipients could know I care about specifics beyond the form letter.

Secs. Jackson and Salazar, Director Sutley, and the leadership of the Army Corps of Engineers,

I, and many friends, are writing to ask that you put a stop to mountaintop removal coal mining operations on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia, the area’s last mountain untouched by mountaintop removal.

The blasting not only threatens communities in the vicinity, it will also destroy a project that had rallied local residents as a prime opportunity to create permanent jobs and renewable energy. Coal River Mountain has enough wind potential to house a 328-megawatt wind farm. Every blast reduces the existing potential for clean energy, permanent jobs, and a stronger and more diverse regional economy.

President Obama spoke forcefully during his campaign of the deep need for us to invest in a sustainable future; both in energy generation (connected with energy independence) and, more generally, a way of doing industry that unites communities with good jobs and a more healthy environment over the long-term. It is a reminder that each of us is “our brother’s keeper.”

Furthermore, the blasting is occurring near the Brushy Fork slurry impoundment, which holds 8.2 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry. Should the blasting cause the impoundment to fail, nearby residents would have just minutes to evacuate before they were overtaken by a 50-foot wall of coal slurry that could cost more than 1,000 lives. Not only does blasting near this unlined impoundment increase the risk of failure, but it will almost certainly cause more of the toxic coal slurry to enter the groundwater. In nearby Prenter Hollow, dozens of residents have become ill from drinking water contaminated with coal slurry.

Mr. Salazar, Mrs. Sutley, and Mrs. Jackson specifically, you have the power to direct your agencies to work together to halt the blasting, defend the safety of the nation’s citizens, and preserve some of Appalachia’s most valuable resources. I anticipate at least hearing back from your offices to know this is a concern for you, because my brothers and sisters in West Virginia don’t have the luxury to wait this one out. “We the people” of the United States need policies that are forward-looking, sustainable, and wise in shaping the nation. Please step up to the plate on this issue.

Thank you,

Nathan Myers

Save America’s most endangered mountain

A call to action from the good people at http://www.ilovemountains.org/ .  Please at least read to understand their perspective, let it affect you, and if you feel comfortable, take action through calling or emailing your elected representative.  I share this information not as a disinterested individual, but as a Christian obeying the command to care for God’s creation.  The situation is dire.  As Will Samson writes in his book Enough:  Contentment in an Age of Excess,

“Men and women are stuck with a coal economy that is devastating their job base and leaving little hope for their future.  Children are leaving Appalachia in record numbers, crushing families, some of whom have lived in that area for more than two hundred years.  Throughout the coal-mining areas of Appalachia, in almost biblical proportions, neighbor is pitted against neighbor, friend against friend (Isaiah 19:2).  One family fights to preserve ancestral lands from being take and blown up to get at the coal seams below, while another enjoys ATVs and a new widescreen TV.”  (36)

Massey Energy has begun blasting on Coal River Mountain in southern West Virginia. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has stated that the mining operation on the mountain is “actively moving coal.” Workers have been seen moving heavy equipment up to the mining zones, and blasting and plumes of smoke were seen and heard near the Brushy Fork coal slurry impoundment.

he Brushy Fork impoundment is an enormous retention pond holding 8.2 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry waste. If the impoundment were to fail due to the blasting, hundreds of lives will be lost and thousands more will be in jeopardy from an enormous slurry flood.

A 2006 study confirmed that Coal River Mountain—the highest peaks ever slated for mining in the state—is an ideal location for developing utility-scale wind power. Local residents have rallied around this proposal as a symbol of hope, a promise of a new and cleaner energy future, but that hope may be destroyed unless quick and decisive action is taken right now.

Please take action today to communicate with Secretary Salazar, Secretary Jackson, and the Office of Public Affairs your concern.

6,000 Acres To Be Destroyed

Massey’s plans for the mountaintop removal operation would destroy over 6,000 acres of Coal River Mountain and create 18 different valley fills, devastating the Clear Fork watershed. Over 10 square miles of the most bio-diverse ecosystem in the United States will be destroyed forever, affecting the lives of the local residents by destroying their homeland and polluting their air and water.

Wind on Coal River

A wind assessment study conducted by Coal River Mountain Watch and Downstream Stategies revealed that Coal River Mountain has enough wind potential to provide electricity for over 150,000 homes and create stable, well-paying jobs—forever.

The proposed wind farm would help diversify the local economy in an area historically dependent upon sparse, temporary coal mining jobs, pumping $20 million per year in direct local spending during construction and $2 million per year thereafter. Destroying the mountain will also be destroying one of the best wind power sites in West Virginia.

This opportunity, however, depends upon the mountain being left intact. If blasting continues on Coal River Mountain, the wind potential—and the jobs—will be lost forever.

And thank you for helping to preserve Coal River Mountain for generations to come.

Contact your district Representative.   Contact your Senator.

And if your Senator is Mitch McConnell, tell him to stop whoring himself out to Big Coal. It’s unsightly to see supposed leaders be such a puppet and lapdog of big business  (Nathan’s words here, not the folks at ilovemountains).