On the 8th of May, Appalachia Rising staged a sit-in at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, demanding that the EPA accept gallons of contaminated water from the wells, taps, and streams used by Appalachia residents in the protest. The main demand was that the EPA cut off the source of the contamination by putting an end to mountaintop removal coal mining.
Video-a Kentucky resident shows off contaminated water from near his home
Video of the sit-in and the interaction with Mary Stoner from the EPA
This was the first sit-in I’ve ever seen where young children (not teens) risked arrest alongside their parents to ensure their own futures. It is these very children the coal bosxses told to drink the foul sludge coming from their wells-or move away from the mountains forever.
After nearly two hours, Mary Stoner, who is assistant administrator for water at EPA come outside, met with protesters, and accepted samples of the water as well as the letter protesters had brought. She refused to sign anything, but accepted the delivery. Now let’s hope EPA does their job and cuts off the source of the poison contaminating Appalachia residents’ drinking water. That cannot be done without either banning mountaintop removal mining outright or making it totally unprofitable, which would have the same result.
There was one ugly side note: less than a day before the rally, an announcement appeard on Stromfront inviting white racists to participate, claiming solidarity with the people of Appalachia. I didn’t see any of them, but there were a lot of T-shirts proclaiming the wearers to be anti-racist and supporting a ban on mountaintop removal. These were a necessary response to the effort by racist groups to exploit the ugly mess the coal barons have made in Appalachia.