|Zeb Mountain Now
|After mountain top removal (in West Virginia)
BIASED JUDGE Press Release Monday morning, October
West Virginia and Kentucky already been ravaged by a new coal mining
mountaintop removal technique called “Cross Ridge Mining”
or "Contour Mining". Mountaintop removal mining does just
what its name says - the top of a mountain is blasted and bulldozed
away in order to get to the thin layer of buried coal. Both the mountain,
the adjacent valleys and the watershed are destroyed in the process.
Mountain top removal has already begun in Scott & Cambell Counties,
40 minutes from Knoxville. It will devour 3 peaks of Zeb Mountain (2107
Zeb Mountain is an integral part of the Cumberland Mountains with some
of the most biologically diverse forests on earth including many endangered
land & aquatic species.
Earth First! is committed to stop the process of mountaintop removal
and to protect Tennessee's natural and cultural heritage.
deals the Office of Surface mining has catered to
special interest groups intent on bringing the most destructive new
practices to Tennessee.
Robert Clear Coal Corp. has a contract with TVA to supply high sulfur
coal for 31 dollars
a ton. This will allow TVA and Robert Clear to line their pockets with
A fair trial?
Federal Judge Tom Varlan is President
Bush's pick, and was endorsed by TVA Director Bill Baxter,
who has worked with Varlan in the past.
Local residents, outdoor enthusiasts, small businesses dependent upon
tourism and future generations.
Earth First! Action -- Monday morning, October 6, 2003.
Katuah Earth First! staged a dramatic action this morning aimed at
unmasking a conspiracy surrounding the federal court case to be held
this Wednesday in Knoxville. The court case involves a plot by TVA,
the Office of Surface Mining and the Robert Clear Coal Company to bring
the most destructive new mining practice to the Tennessee Valley --
mountain top removal. Earth First! members dropped
banners reading “STOP MTN TOP REMOVAL.COM” off of a billboard
near the News Sentinel building.
TVA, in accordance with environmental laws, has installed new scrubbers
in several of their coal plants, therefore raising their rates to pay
for these installations. Despite the superficial environmental benefits
of the scrubbers, the coal that TVA is able to now use will create additional
environmental destruction in our mountains. The use of the new scrubbers
is enabling TVA to burn higher sulfide coal, which is extracted through
methods such as mountain top removal.
Mountain top removal is quicker and less costly for companies to perform,
but is the most environmentally devastating means of coal extraction
in history. Mountain top removal, or cross ridge mining, is essentially
taking one hundred times the amount of dynamite used in the Oklahoma
City bombing, blowing off the top of the mountain, gathering the old
coal that is left from previous mining, and scraping the remains back
into a pile. The end result is a bare mountain, virtually leveled.
TVA is a major purchaser of coal in this region and subsequently the
main contributor to mountain top removal. The first in their onslaught
of our region is the dismantling of Zeb Mountain, currently underway.
“This project will destroy habitat for a number of endangered
species such as the black sided dace (a small fish), the Indiana bat,
and several freshwater mussels,” says John Johnson, who lives
near Dunlap TN. Braden Mountain, which is next on the chopping block,
is 7500 acres of majestic forest waiting in line to be clear cut and
blown to pieces. This act of environmental devastation will also threaten
the sanctity of the regional community’s watershed, an issue entirely
overlooked in the preliminary Environmental Assessment. We have to stand
up and do something now, before the local ecosystems are obliterated
along with the mountains.
There is a federal preliminary hearing to be held Wednesday October
8th in Knoxville for an injunction to cease mountain top removal on
Zeb Mountain. This case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Thomas
Varlan. Judge Varlan, who was appointed by Bush, has as a main endorser
the CEO of TVA, Bill Baxter. Thomas Varlan was formerly employed by
Bass, Berry and Sims PLLC, a law firm with a record of proudly defending
companies that knowingly break environmental laws, helping them to obtain
permits to continue devastating the environment (http://www.bassberry.com/practice/index.html).
“The appointment of this judge is an obvious scenario
of conflict of interest and makes it virtually impossible for an unbiased
hearing. Judge Varlan should be recused from the Zeb Mountain lawsuit,”
said Elizabeth Albiston, a member of local environmental group Earth
There is a significant lack of discussion in the local media about this
matter.“We dropped the banner in front of the News
Sentinel building so they too would be aware that the public has a right
to know about this important issue. We made the website, www.stopmtnremoval.com,
to give the public a reference point to learn about mountain top removal.Our
mountains are entitled to a fair trial, and now is the time for us as
Tennesseans to be aware of the practices that destroy our mountains
and their repercussions." said Debbie Shumate. As a state
we need to realize that this affects our health and that of the plant
and animal species indigenous to this area. Someone must protect them,
and it is our job!
Activists blockade mine and drop two banners