Fourteen protesters have ended their three-day sit-in at Governor Steve Beshear’s office. And while the protesters didn’t get the concessions they wanted from the governor, they say the effort was worthwhile, in part because of the response they received from the public.
The group, known as Kentucky Rising, occupied the governor’s office from Friday morning through Monday morning to protest Beshear’s support for the mining process commonly called mountaintop removal.
“I’ve mined coal. And I’ve got friends right here that’s done the same thing. We are here because we want to keep our mountains and water in the condition they were given to us by the good Lord above. And I’m a firm believer that he entrusted us to keep them this way,” says protester Stanley Sturgill.
“We’ve heard from people in Argentina, Germany, all over the United States. 500 farmers in Vermont.signed their names to a letter of support and sent it. Churches all over the south reported they were holding prayer services for them,” says group spokesperson Silas House.
Supporters brought so much food for the group that the demonstrators couldn’t eat it all and donate some of it to a local women’s shelter.
They emerged to a boisterous welcome from the roughly one thousand demonstrators who gathered on the steps of the state Capitol for the annual I Love Mountains Day rally. Beshear did not change his positions regarding mountaintop removal, but he did agree to tour mountaintop removal sites at the group’s request.
Here is the audio of Wendell Berry’s speech at the I Love Mountains Day rally: