Monthly Archives: September 2012

Larry Gibson, Keeper of the Mountains

Larry Gibson passed away on Sept. 9, 2012 while gardening his family’s land on Kayford Mountain, where he dedicated the last decades of his life fighting against mountaintop removal and for justice across all of Appalachia. Larry’s 50 acre homeplace is surrounded by nearly 8,000 acres of mountaintop removal devastation. It will hopefully remain as a symbolic sky island which will continue to serve as an important training ground for future generations of activists, educators and chroniclers.

Friends and family of Larry will celebrate his life and legacy on Sunday, Oct. 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. in a public event at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium.

Standing tall, one and all. Mr. Mountainkeeper, we will sorely miss you,

Left to right: Chuck Nelson, Ken Hechler, Jesse Johnson and Larry Gibson.


Johnson demands moratorium, details major jobs plan

Released statewide, September 14, 2012
Johnson demands moratorium, details major jobs plan

WV – While detailing a solid plan to immediately provide good paying jobs for workers displaced by halting destructive extraction industry practices, Jesse Johnson, Gubernatorial Nominee for the Mountain Party of West Virginia, is demanding the immediate halt to new permits for “fracking” the Marcellus Shale in the Mountain State and calls for an end to the radical surface-mining practice known as Mountain Top Removal.

It is shocking that Tomblin is ignoring the extreme dangers to the general public across West Virginia presently posed by the extractive industries. Cancer-causing poisons and radiation from drill sites, compressor stations and beyond are being handled and dumped in West Virginia with little or no regulation” Johnson states.

At the Water & Wellness Seminar held in Morgantown, WV on September 8th, Dr. Wilma Subra presented information about the toxins released during shale gas drilling and their harmful effects on human health and the environment. Her statistical research proves that people don’t have to live close to a well site for their health to be seriously compromised. The dangerous levels of chemicals and radioactivity associated with these sites and beyond have now been measured and are well documented.

Johnson has been publicly calling for a moratorium on drilling the Marcellus until proper regulations are passed along with provisions for enforcement for well over a year. Johnson’s longtime stance on mountaintop removal was also validated at the Morgantown seminar.

Mountaintop removal mining poisons the water, ruins the health of citizens, robs our true wealth and even destroys the history of entire communities. A Governor can, and should, stop it by Executive Order -NOW, Johnson said.

Regarding jobs, Johnson urges:

Do the math. If Tomblin was really concerned about jobs he would have already been reclaiming West Virginia’s more than 6,000 abandoned mine sites. That is more projects than there are West Virginia surface mine workers.” There are also over 13,000 abandoned gas wells, and many with breached casings. These all represent shovel-ready jobs, which could pay Davis/Bacon wages. By protecting us from the industrial pollution left by the gas industry long ago, the workers from the 950 Marcellus sites displaced by a permit moratorium could continue to work until proper protections are legislated.

WVU’s Dr. Micheal Hendryx has conducted several peer-reviewed scientific studies on how coal-mining industries have negatively impacted southern West Virginia since the explosive practice of surface mining began. He recently warned residents to have their soil and water tested for toxins before gardening. At the Wellness and Water seminar Hendrix reported that the pollution is so concentrated that in good conscience he couldn’t advocate community gardening.

The January 8, 2010, issue of the journal Science unequivocally documented the irreversible environmental impacts from MTR, including how residences near mines are at far higher risk of serious health problems, including birth defects and early death.

Health impacts associated with surface mining for coal in the Appalachian region are known to include elevated rates of mortality from hypertension, lung cancer, and chronic heart, pulmonary and kidney disease in coal producing communities, Johnson further points out, The dangers released by both hydrofracking and mountaintop removal will continue to poison our air and water. These are life-threatening conditions which Tomblin needs to immediately address. The cancer-causing radiation from Marcellus waste has a 1600 year half-life and his Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to permit dumping it into open pits and is already letting it into landfills. We need answers to existing problems, not create new ones for ourselves and for our grandchildren.

Contact: Tom Rhule, Communications Director 304 989 1629