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Proposal Details

Proposal ID200
ProposalEndorsement of Letter from Coal River Mountain Watch
PresenterMaryland Green Party
Floor ManagerMarc Sanson
Discussion01/23/2006 - 02/05/2006
Voting02/06/2006 - 02/12/2006
Presens Quorum32 0.6666
Consens Quorum42 A Majority of Yes and No Votes


The citizens' environmental group Coal River Mountain Watch has drafted a
letter which centers upon the fallacies of "clean coal", as championed by
the coal industry, and the ecologically unwise and destructive practice of
mountain-top removal (MTR), an accurate name for a destructive coal-mining
technique, which is primarily practiced in, and adversely affects the
citizens of West Virginia.

The letter is designed not only for similarly concerned groups to sign on,
but to bring this situation to national and international attention. The
Green Party of West Virginia became a signatory last month, but as they
are not yet an accredited state party, they sought similar approval from
state Green Parties from elsewhere in the Appalachian area.

Julia Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch has described the letter in this
way. (Note that the dates mentioned are passed, and were passed by the
time this was presented to the Maryland Green Party; however, CRMW is
still interested in gaining the support of Green Parties of the
Appalachian area and beyond for this letter.)

"Dear Friends at Green Party of West Virginia,

Coal River Mountain Watch has generated a letter in response to the
ongoing, misleading "clean coal" push by the coal industry, a push that
some environmentalists are accepting as a means to reduce global warming.
There simply is no such thing as clean coal technology, and increasing
demand for coal increases destruction of our homeland. Several groups and
individuals have signed on in support, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.;
John Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA; Sisters of St.
Joseph of Carondelet; and Public Citizen's Energy Program, Washington,
D.C. We are asking for more friends and allies to sign on. We hope to
publicly release the letter with a press release on December 14. If you
would like your organization's name to be included in the launch, please
respond by December 12. The letter is below, followed by a place for
pledges. Please sign at the bottom, forward to other groups and
individuals, and copy back to Also, we welcome any
quotes we may use in our press release. We look forward to your reply.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. (304)854-2182

  Julia Bonds
  Coal River Mountain Watch
  2003 Goldman Prize winner"

In their January state meeting, the Maryland Green Party agreed by
consensus to sign onto this letter in solidarity with the Green Party of
West Virginia and similar signatories, and to bring this letter to the
GPUS for their similar endorsement in order to achieve the goals laid out
by the drafters of the letter and the GPWV.


The Maryland Green Party asks the Green National Committee to act in the
spirit of the Key Value of Ecological Wisdom in signing the "Coal's Dirty
Secret" letter, drafted by Coal River Mountain Watch.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Conscientious Citizens and Organizations,

Recent media reports promoting integrated gasification combined cycle
(IGCC) coal power plants and coal fuel liquefaction as clean energy
sources seriously undermine the movement in Appalachia to save our homes,
communities, and environment from the ravages of mountaintop removal (MTR)
coal mining. Even IGCC plants add pollutants and greenhouse gases rather
than replacing older plants. Research funding for unproven, risky ideas
such as carbon sequestration would be better spent on solar and wind
solutions. But regardless of new coal plants' methods, the nightmares
created by MTR will haunt our homeland forever. There is no such thing as
clean coal technology as long as coal is produced by raping the land and
oppressing the people.

The MTR process begins with clear-cutting thousands of acres of some
of the world's most biologically diverse temperate hardwood forests. Much
of the timber is either burned or buried. Then, tons of explosives, the
same mix used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, are detonated to loosen
the rock. Three million pounds per day are currently detonated in West
Virginia alone. In a week's time, this is nearly the same net explosive
force used on Hiroshima. And this goes on week after week.

Then, the topsoil and rubble are dumped into nearby valleys. These valley
fills have buried or negatively impacted over 1,200 miles of Appalachian
streams so far. Valley fills often fail, causing damage to nearby homes
and streams. The coal is extracted layer by layer, and then coal
companies "reclaim" the land by coating it with a thin layer of topsoil
substitute and non-native grass seed. Over 600 square miles of West
Virginia's mountains have been leveled this way.

The barren land, devoid of trees, undergrowth, topsoil, and natural
drainage, sheds rainwater to create catastrophic floods. A dozen people
have been killed in recent years, and hundreds of homes destroyed or
damaged. West Virginia recently led the nation in FEMA relief, relief
that rarely covers damages to homes and land. People whose families have
lived in the same area for hundreds of years have been displaced, adding
cultural devastation to the physical devastation.

The coal is prepared for market in processing plants that use a mysterious
mix of chemicals to remove impurities. The washed-out heavy metals and
cleaning compounds are stored in multibillion-gallon toxic waste ponds -
"sludge dams" - placed precariously above homes, communities, and schools.
One of these dams failed at Buffalo Creek, WV, in 1972, killing 125
people. Another failed in Kentucky in 2000, polluting over 100 miles of
streams, killing 1.6 million fish, and destroying water supplies for
27,000 people. Over 150 of these dams threaten the residents of southern
West Virginia, including the 230 students at Marsh Fork Elementary School
attending class 400 yards from a seeping, 2.8 billion-gallon dam. These
students also breathe coal dust from the coal silo loading trains 220 feet
from their school. The list of problems goes on and on.

As friends and allies in the defense of Earth and all Humanity, we
ask you to heed our call. All of us who care about the health of our
children and our planet must identify, challenge, and eliminate the
oxymoron "clean coal" when we see or hear it. We invite you to join our
fight against those who plunder our planet and poison our children. Join
us in fighting mountaintop removal, fighting dirty coal power plants, and
supporting renewable energy. We look forward to your reply.


Janice Nease
Executive Director
Coal River Mountain Watch

We, the undersigned, are opposed to the use of the term "Clean Coal" and
opposed to destructive mining practices. We support truly renewable
energy technologies because coal is so destructive in its mining,
processing, and combustion.

1. Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OHVEC)
2. Youghiogheny River Keeper- Beverly Braverman
3. Mountain Watershed Association
4. Tri-State Citizens Mining Network- Mimi Filippelli
5. Indiana Forest Alliance- Joanna Sparks
6. Buckeye Forest Council- Susan Heitker
7. Valley Watch- John Blair
8. Citizens Coal Council (CCC)
9. Campaign to Safeguard America's Waters (C-SAW, a project of the Earth
Island Institute)- Gesa Michel
10. Chesapeake Climate Action Network- Mike Tidwell, Director
11. Student Environmental Action Coalition of UNC Chapel Hill
12. Agence Kanak de Developpement (AKD), New Caledonia
13. Sierra Club Environmental Justice Program-Bill Price and Bill McCabe
14. Clemson Students for Environmental Awareness- Stacy Brogan and Jimmy
15. Students for Environmental Action (SEA) at Middle TN University
16. Ten Mile Creek Watershed Conservancy- Dan Derber
17. Student Environmental Action Coalition at Tennessee Technological
University (TTU SEAC)
18. Public Citizen's Energy Program-Washington, DC, Tyson Slocum
19. People and Water, Slovakia, Michal Kravcik, 1999 Goldman Prize
20. Groundwork, Friends of the Earth South Africa, Bobby Peek, 1998
Goldman Prize Recipient for Africa
21. Sierra Club, Tennessee Chapter, Gary Bowers
22. Environmentally Conscious Centre Organization- Centre College
23. Corneille Ewango, Centre de Formation et de Recherche en Conservation
Forestiere (CEFRECOF), Epulu, DR Congo; Goldman Environmental Prize,
24. Bruno Van Peteghem (2001 Goldman Prize) Paris-France
25. Corail Vivant, New Caledonia
26. New College (of Florida) Student Energy Alliance
27. Southern Energy Network- Liz Veazy
28. Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province Justice Office
29. Kentucky Heartwood
30. Sierra Club-WV Chapter
31. CODDEFFAGOLF-Jorge Varela, 1999 Goldman Prize Recipient
32. Heartwood
33. Wild Virginia- Eric Gilchrist
34. Virginia Forest Watch
35. Heffa Schuecking-1994 Goldman Prize Recipient, Urgewald, Germany
36. Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho (Haburas Foundation-Goldman
Environmental Recipient 2004, from East Timor)
37. Sobrevivencia, Friends of the Earth Paraguay - Oscar Rivas and Elas
Daz Pea, Goldman Prize Recipient 2000
38. Terri Swearingen- Goldman Prize Recipient, 1997
39. Tri-State Environmental Council, Chester, WV
40. Von Hernandez, Campaigns Director, Greenpeace, Southeast Asia, Goldman
Prize Recipient, 2003
41. Caney Fork Headwaters Association
42. Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church
of Christ
43. Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice
44. Tennessee Clean Water Network- Axel C. Ringe
45. Horn Relief, Somalia
46. Fatima Jibrell - Goldman Prize Recipient, 2002
47. Appalachian Coalition for Just and Sustainable Communities
48. Lexington Environmental Action Project (LEAP) Lexington, KY
49. Food and Water Watch, Washington, D.C.
50. Chad Montrie, author of To Save the Land and People (2003)
51. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
52. John Passacantando, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
53. Sierra Club, Virginia Chapter, Tyla Matteson
54. Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards- Pete Ramey
55. Integrated Rural Development& Nature Conservation, Namibia - Dr
Margaret Jacobsohn, director and 1993 Goldman Prize Recipient
56. United Mountain Defense of Tennessee
57. Christians for the Mountains
58. Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation (LEAF)
59. Appalachian Community Services, Inc., Publishers of WHEN MINERS
MARCH, the definitive history of the Battle of Blair Mountain
60. Big Bend, FL Sierra Club
61. Florida League of Conservation Voters
62. Katuah Earth First!
63. Wild South- Lamar Marshall, Executive Director
64. The Waterkeeper Alliance-President, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on behalf of
65. Saundra R. Stehlin, Conservation Chair for Oh-Penn Division of
American Canoe Association
66. Western Lake Erie Waterkeepr- Sandy Bihn
67. Kentucky Sierra Club, Cumberland Chapter
68. Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project- Tracy Davids, Executive
69. Black Mesa Indigenous Support
70. Mountain Justice Summer Movement
71. West Virginia Highlands Conservancy
72. WildLaw
73. Dr. Susan F. Lapis
74. La Paix Herb Farm, Alum Bridge, WV
75. Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC)
76. Ken Hechler, former Congressman, WV 1959-1977, former WV Secretary of
State 1985-2001
77. Appalachian Voices
78. Highlander Research and Education Center
79. Canary Coalition
80. Mountain Sustainability Project
81. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC)
82. Kentucky Riverkeeper
83. West Virginia Rivers Coalition (WVRC)
84. Green Party of West Virginia (GPWV)


CONTACT: Steve Kramer, Maryland Green Party +1 301
596 0978

Chad Edwards, Green Party of West Virginia


The Website of Coal River Mountain Watch:

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