Resolution on Mountaintop Removal

Resolution on Mountain Top Removal/Valley Fill Strip Mining
Catholic Committee of Appalachia September 1998

The following resolution was passed unanimously by Catholic Committee of Appalachia members present at the 1998 Annual Meeting: “Voices  of  Sustainability.”

  • Whereas, Psalms 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, “God’s covenant is with all living creatures” (Genesis 9:9) and
  • Whereas, “Christ came to redeem all Creation (Colossians 1:15-20 and Romans 8:21), and
  • Whereas, we are called to be stewards in right relationship with creation (Genesis 1:26-28), and
  • Whereas, the Commission on Religion in Appalachia (CORA) and its member denominations have affirmed “an economics of stewardship which recognizes that meeting human need and caring for the earth and its resources are the basic essentials in any system which is faithful to the Creator”, (Economic Transformation, the Appalachian Challenge, CORA, short version, page 5) and
  • Whereas, mountain top 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, entire tops of mountains have been removed in the Appalachian areas of the states of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Ohio, and
  • Whereas, this removal of mountaintops has resulted in severe and unlawful damage to the homes of persons living in the nearby communities, along with damage to wells, the bombarding of their homes with flyrock, and massive amounts of dust, and
  • Whereas, 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 the head waters of streams in these valleys, along with all animal and plant life in them, and
  • Whereas, mountain top 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, Environmental Protection Agency staff has stated that the long-term effects of mountain top removal mining is unstudied and unknown and that increasing the acreage of these valley fills prior to studying the long-term effects on the environment is ill-advised, and
  • Whereas, the Appalachian region has a long history of outside corporations profiting from the extraction of the region’s resources in such a way that the prosperity is not equitably shared with the residents of the region, and that the environment has been damaged by such outside resource extraction, and that this damage harms the region’s current economy and future economic potential, and
  • Whereas, grassroots organizations and regional coalitions working in partnership with the Coalition on Religion in Appalachia (CORA) and its denominational partners are responding to the increasing use of mountain top/valley fill by coal mining companies and these organizations are taking action to try to protect the ecological integrity of the region and to publicize the need for economic development which benefits the people of Appalachia, and
  • Whereas, the sanctity and sacredness of all life and the natural environment created by God should not be destroyed in the name of corporate profit,

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Catholic Committee of Appalachia (CCA) and its members implore the Governors, legislatures, and other appropriate agencies in the Appalachian coal producing states to require that mountain top removal/valley fill mining be stopped and it not be resumed until scientific study of its long-term effects on human life and the natural environment has been accomplished; and

Implementation: CCA members and the Board of Directors agree that, to the extent they are able, they will contact their respective Governors, legislators, and representatives of mining enforcement and environmental protection by phone, fax, mail or e-mail. CCA members and its Board of Directors will inform these parties of CCA’s position on mountain top removal/valley fill strip mining as outlined by the above. The CCA office will be responsible for keeping track of how the resolution is being implemented. Please let the CCA office know who you are contacting. Relay this information to: CCA, PO Box 62, Wittensville, KY 41274  phone (606) 297-8792.

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