Calling for a “national, coordinated response to the humanitarian disaster of mountaintop removal mining,” CREDO Action launched an extraordinary petition drive this past weekend for Congress to pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (ACHE Act) and place an immediate moratorium on “the deadliest and most destructive form of coal mining.” Within 24 hours, over 50,000 signatures had joined the campaign.
Only days after President Obama referred to climate change as a public health issue, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton declared a “child from the hills of Appalachia” should have the same chances as her granddaughter, and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked in an additional $30 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, long-time Appalachian advocates hope the CREDO campaign to ban the cancer-linked mining operations will be ramped up with major resources from national public health and cancer organizations, as well as climate and environmental groups.
“With the national petition launch from CREDO in support of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (ACHE Act), an all-hands-on-deck is being called to all regional and national organizations to get behind and support the ACHE Campaign to put an end to the public health threat of mountaintop removal,” said Bo Webb, the Purpose Prize-winning West Virginia activist, whose family has lived under the fallout of mining operations.
“Health science now confirms that children and people of all ages who are being exposed to air generated from mountaintop removal coal mining sites are at extreme high risk of incurring lung cancer.”
As the last banks withdraw support, law suits mount and regulatory pressures grow, Appalachian groups see mountaintop removal on the ropes, and the timing right to “finish off” the outlaw industry ways, in the words of Goldman Prize recipient Judy Bonds, the godmother of the movement to end mountaintop removal, who died from cancer in 2011.
Let’s be real: If we can’t end mountaintop removal, a cancer-linked extreme form of mining that only provides a fraction of our national coal production, how can we expect to move forward on climate change and public health?
The CREDO campaign carries the moral imperative from the Appalachian front lines — the voices of the actual residents paying the ultimate price for our reckless mining policies — and cites new scientific “evidence that dust collected from residential areas near mountaintop removal (MTR) sites causes cancerous changes to human lung cells.”
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