Thursday, November 19, 2009

Talking Mountaintops

SF/SC Holds Peer-to-Peer Teach-Ins About Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining
Students for a Sustainable Campus members held three informational sessions in the Brown Center on MICA's campus Thursday to inform MICA students about mountaintop removal coal mining and its connection to electricity in Baltimore. The teach-ins are leading up to two big Baltimore events the week after Thanksgiving: a nonviolent direct action against Constellation Energy led by MICA students, and the Rally for Maryland's Clean Energy Future on December 1st.

Mountaintop removal coal mining is an especially devastating form of mining that levels entire mountains and fills the surrounding valleys, rivers and streams with rubble. Communities in Central Appalachia, where mountaintop removal coal mining is concentrated, feel the brunt of this mining's damaging effects. Drinking water is contaminated with carcinogens, flooding increases, and communities are put at constant risk of a disaster like the disaster that occurred in Tennessee in 2008.

The electricity that we use in Baltimore is generated in part by this fuel source: two power plants in Maryland, Brandon Shores and Herbert A. Wagner in Anne Arundel county, burn mountaintop removal coal. Although C. P. Crane in Baltimore County does not burn mountaintop removal coal, it supports the practice by purchasing coal from companies that engage in the practice. If you live in Baltimore, you become responsible for mountaintop removal every time you turn on a light.

On November 30th, SF/SC members will lead a nonviolent direct action against Constellation Energy, the owner of these three power plants. Using costumes, props, and song, students will parade to Constellation to demand that the company cease the purchase of mountaintop removal coal and transition to cleaner energy sources. The following day, on Decemeber 1st, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Environment Maryland, and several other organizations will rally against a power line that would bring more "dirty coal energy" to Maryland. You can register for the event here.