Cease Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining (80553-C1-R2)
Revise and readopt Resolution No. 2.
As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to care for all of the earth, including the land itself. In Leviticus, God reminds us “the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23) Understanding land as a gift and a sacred trust, we are compelled to action to protect and defend God’s sacred creation from abuse and destruction.
Today, communities in central Appalachia are facing the devastating consequences of mountaintop removal coal mining. This practice, which is extremely profitable to the coal companies, in large part because fewer miners are required, literally blasts the tops off of mountains to extract the coal. Where majestic mountains once stood in areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, decimated landscapes remain -- along with a legacy of health and environmental concerns for nearby residents.
WHEREAS, mountaintop removal coal mining is extremely profitable to the coal companies who practice it; and WHEREAS, a large part of its profitability is that fewer miners are required than in the usual traditional methods of coal mining, and WHEREAS, the entire tops of West Virginia mountains have been removed at Kayford, Kanawha County, at Blair, Boone County, at Sharpless, Logan County, and at Spruce River, Boone County, and at Wise County, Virginia, and mountaintop removal projects
are proposed in Kentucky and Tennessee, and
WHEREAS, The blast rock and dust created by the removal of mountaintops has caused human death and severe damage to homes and wells in the nearby communities. this removal of mountaintops has resulted in severe damage to homes of persons living in the nearby communities, along with damage to wells, the bombarding of their homes with “ blast rock,” and massive amounts of dust, and WHEREAS, t The millions and millions of tons of earth and rock removed from the tops of mountains are dumped into the valleys next to these mountains, totally destroying the springs and headwaters of streams in these valleys, along with all plant and animal life in them,, and More than 500,000 acres of land have been destroyed and 1000 miles of biologically crucial streams have been buried under the debris. 1 Environmental replenishment efforts at former mountaintop removal mining sites do not replicate the sites’ God-created biodiversity. WHEREAS, M m ountaintop removal mining, by destroying home places, is also destroying ancestral ground, sacred ground where generations after generations have lived, gone to church, married, made and birthed babies, taken family meals, slept in peace, died and been buried., and WHEREAS, staff employees of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Natural Resources testified before the West Virginia Legislature in its 1998 session that the long-term effect of mountaintop removal is unstudied and unknown, and that it should by stopped until its long-term effects are known, and WHEREAS, Psalm 24:1 firmly reminds us that “The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; and the world and they that dwell therein,” and
WHEREAS, Believing that the sanctity and sacredness of human life and the natural environment should not be destroyed in the name of corporate profit, we call for the end of this economically, environmentally, and socially destructive practice. We ask that companies halt mountaintop removal coal mining and be held accountable for the devastation in nearby communities that has resulted from this practice. We call on elected leaders and administrators to reject permit applications for further mountaintop removal operations and enforce fully laws designed to protect both the land and waters from destruction. We call on United Methodists to stand in solidarity with the residents of these communities and advocate on their behalf to their elected representatives.
In Deuteronomy, God says “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills.” (Deuteronomy 8:7). We believe that acting together just such a land can be restored to the communities of central Appalachia.
Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church, meeting in Cleveland, Ohio in May of the year 2000, implore those state and national governmental and regulatory agencies involved in mountaintop removal mining to halt this practice until scientific study of its long-term effect on human life and the natural environment has been accomplished. ADOPTED 2000 See Social Principles, ¶ 160A.
1 Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition