From Coal River Valley to Washington DC

Mar 10, 2010

My name is Junior Walk, and my family has lived in the coal fields of southern West Virginia for generations. It pains me to see my heritage destroyed and defamed, and to see my friends and family poisoned by unclean water. So, I decided to take a little trip to Washington D.C. to put a stop to it.

Today, I’m in our nations capitol to stop the heinous practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. I’m here with the Alliance for Appalachia, as an employee of Coal River Mountain Watch; I’m here as an environmental activist; I’m here as an affected coal field resident; but I’m mostly here as someone whom cares about people, and all other living things.

My meetings today were cordial, I met with the offices of three different congressmen.  The first one was on the fence about the Clean Water Protection Act, the second one will probably co-sign, and the third was already a co-signer. I think we’re making serious progress here, we already have more than 160 co-signers, and we only need 40-50 more co-signers.

When this bill becomes a law, it will effectively end mountaintop removal by making valley fills illegal (which they were in the first place). This would greatly benefit the people of Appalachia, save lives, and open up mountains like Coal River Mountain for use as wind farms.

So, here I am, I’ve never been into any city, never really had any experience outside of my neck of the woods, and I’m walking up the stairs to the legislature to talk to our representatives about what’s going on in out back yards.

I care about mountaintop removal, and by extension this bill  because it affects me directly as someone who lives in the coal fields, and someone who has seen and worked in the devastation.  There are plenty of people here  with me though that don’t live in the thick of it, or aren’t from Appalachia, and I am very grateful to them.  You can help too; call and urge your congressman to co-sign the Clean Water Protection Act – HB 1310.  Then call and urge your senator to act on the Appalachian Restoration Act – SB 696.