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Zeb Mountain Now
After mountain top removal (in West Virginia)

BIASED JUDGE Press Release Monday morning, October 6, 2003

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 acres).

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.

Using backdoor deals the Office of Surface mining has catered to
special interest groups intent on bringing the most destructive new mining
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 Tennessee's heritage.

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.

Who looses? Local residents, outdoor enthusiasts, small businesses dependent upon tourism and future generations.

Press Advisory
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 ( “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 First!.

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,, 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!

Previous Action
Activists blockade mine and drop two banners

Katuah Earth First! PO Box 27855 Knoxville, TN 37927