Our friends at the Midwest Rising! Convergence for Climate and Economic Justice protested outside the headquarters of Arch Coal and Peabody Energy, as well as a Bank of America Branch, one of Peabody’s financial partners, in St. Louis, Mo., Monday. They were demanding that Arch not destroy Blair Mountain and end mountaintop removal, that Bank of America stop financing companies engaged in mountaintop removal or pursuing coal export infrastructure, and that Peabody agree to:
- return the $61 million in recent tax breaks to the city, especially $2 million from the St. Louis Public Schools system, so that money can fund education and other social services
- halt its plan to build an export terminal in Washington state for the export of coal to China
- end coal extraction and switch completely to renewable, sustainable energy
Arch Coal is a major perpetrator of mountaintop removal mining and currently holds some of the mountaintop removal mining permits on Blair Mountain, site of the largest labor uprising in US history. Activists with RAMPS were involved in organizing the 5-day march on Blair Mountain earlier this year. Peabody operates the enormous strip mine on Big Mountain (Black Mesa) in Arizona, on ancestral Navajo, Hopi and Dine lands where tribal members were ordered to relocate by federal law in the mid-1970s. More info on Big Mountain available from Black Mesa Indigenous Support and Black Mesa Water Coalition.
Appalachians joined the mobilization in St. Louis to build a regional movement to confront Big Coal and call for economic justice. Tyler Cannon, a coalfield resident from Logan, W.Va., demanded a meeting with the CEO of Arch.
“We’re here to demand Arch Coal keep its hands off Blair Mountain and end mountaintop removal,” said Cannon. “Arch is destroying communities in Appalachia and St. Louis. We’re coming together to stop it.”
Hundreds of people from across the country took to the streets of St. Louis today to stand up to Big Coal and other corporations harming communities and exploiting people for record profits. Another of the corporations targeted was Bank of America, a major financier of mountaintop removal mining.
For photos visit: http://bit.ly/ArchHandsOffBlair