Sierra Club volunteers and staff rallied with coalition allies in Philadelphia last week, calling for the EPA to use its powers to end mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) and enforce the laws that state agencies like the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are unable or unwilling to enforce.
Let's let Pennsylvania Sierra Club volunteers Karen Melton and Sue Edwards, who spoke at the rally, describe what went down:
More than 75 chanting, singing people braved the single-digit wind chill on January 29 to rally outside the EPA regional office in center city Philadelphia, calling for action to end the destruction of Appalachia's mountains, streams, and waterways. EPA Region 3 covers the Mid-Atlantic, including Virginia and West Virginia, where coal companies have leveled more than 500 mountains using millions of tons of dynamite, polluting thousands of miles of rivers and streams in the process.
Activists from Sierra Club in West Virginia, Southwest Virginia and Pennsylvania joined with members of Rising Tide, Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT), the Alliance for Appalachia, Occupy Sandy, Swarthmore College Mountain Justice, Protecting Our Waters, and veterans from a Philadelphia vet's service center to pressure the EPA to take action to protect Appalachian waterways.
The rally included Marley Green, Sierra Club field organizer from Virginia, who spoke about the importance of getting EPA action to end the practice of mountaintop removal. Junior Walk from West Virginia described the nightmare of destruction in his community, showing jugs of brown well water contaminated by mountaintop removal. He reported on a meeting with EPA officials earlier in the day, which he said left the Appalachian activists unsatisfied. "They think the answer is to allow more coal mining!" he said.