I Refuse to Be Silent: Statement from Joe Solomon

Monday, April 15th, 2013
posted by mlr

joeToday a friend and I interrupted a coal conference – one where industry funded scientists are trying to cast doubt on the clear evidence of the ravages of coal. These scientists are worse than a disgrace: their lies and willful misdirection condone the war the coal industry is waging on West Virginia and the people of Appalachia.

There is now overwhelming scientific evidence that coal–and mountaintop removal in particular–is poisoning the people of Appalachia. Just one of dozens of recent peer-reviewed studies tell us that the rate of children born with birth defects is 42% higher in mountaintop removal communities. ┬áThe evidence is likewise clear that the coal carbon bomb locked underneath Appalachia’s mountains make up one of the biggest American accelerators of climate change. NASA’s former lead climate scientist tells us “coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet.”

I refuse to be silent, to sit back, when the US treats its own beloved state of West Virginia as a colony for King Coal. We can do better. And we must.

I am a current resident of the southern coalfields of WV. Though I hail from Vermont. We share the same ridge-line. We are all connected. My actions here pale in comparison to what happens when the Green Mountain State stands up strong for what’s becoming the Mountaintop Removal State. I invite my fellow Vermonters to join us in solidarity this Summer and beyond.

WV has a bright, clean energy future, if we seize it. Last month, 100% of the new US electricity generated was solar power. We share the same sun as the rest of the country; let’s tap into it. We are ranked as the 49th state when it comes to energy efficiency. It’s time to fight to be #1: creating thousands of jobs that save neighbors money, without the risk of black lung.

King Coal and the fossil fuel and extreme energy corporations are digging in with all they’ve got to reap the last profits from wrecking our planet. It’s time for us to dig in too. With resolve, solidarity, and love.

Rumor has it we are in store for quite a fearless Summer of resistance. I like to think that Summer’s spirit may be already here.

One Response to “I Refuse to Be Silent: Statement from Joe Solomon”

  1. Bridget Kelley-Dearing says:

    I’m with you 100%

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