It’s been one week since a group of protesters ended their sit-in at Governor Steve Beshear’s office. A group of 14 protesters spent the weekend in Beshear’s office protesting the surface mining technique commonly called Mountaintop Removal. The sit-in ended with the annual I Love Mountains Day rally in Frankfort on the 14th.
Kentucky author Silas House was among the 14. An essay about the experience and mountaintop removal was published in Saturday’s New York Times.
The news media and the rest of the country typically think of mountaintop removal as an environmental problem. But it’s a human crisis as well, scraping away not just coal but also the freedoms of Appalachian residents, people who have always been told they are of less value than the resources they live above.
A few days after the rally, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a spending bill that weakens the federal government’s ability to regulate mountaintop removal, though the bill may not pass the Senate.
The House debate over EPA spending overlapped with the state Senate’s Natural Resource and Energy Committee vote to declare Kentucky a “sanctuary state” that’s exempt from EPA regulation. That legislation also faces an uncertain future.