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Law Environmental Justice Advocates

Two students who miss the Appalachian mountains of home are putting together an email listserv to help us all stay up-to-date on the latest news relating to the ever-growing fight against Mountain Top Removal (MTR) mining. The listserv will be used to send out news updates and also, as the project grows, send out calls for help with research and commenting projects related to MTR. 

*Contact Torie Jarvis and Mackenzie Lawson with questions and to get involved!  



EJA students are busy this year! We’ve done substantive work on a number of issues, including writing comments in response to surface mine permit renewals. Read an example comment here



Photo by Torie Jarvis

Local, state, and regional organizations across Appalachia are working together to end mountaintop removal and create a prosperous future for the region. Through, members of the Alliance for Appalachia have come together to use cutting edge technology to inform and involve Americans in their efforts to save mountains and communities. 

Help protect the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee from Coal Mining through the Center for Biological Diversity. Through the website you can send comments to the Department of the Interior asking that the entire petitioned area be designated as unsuitable for surface coal mining.


This Charleston Gazette blog attempts to build on the newspaper’s longtime coverage of all things coal — with a focus on mountaintop removal, coal-mine safety and climate change.
United Mountain Defense (UMD) - a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization committed to halting mountaintop removal coal mining in Tennessee and assisting coal-impacted communities.
Read stories, watch videos, check out the latest MTR news, and learn more at EarthJustice’s website

Photo by Torie Jarvis


 MTR NEWS (July 2011):

  • In case you haven’t heard, the EPA passed a new rule regulating air emissions from coal-fired power plants.  This makes me especially happy for Mackenzie’s home state of PA, which will greatly benefit from the new regulations.  Read more about it here.
  • Also big news - researchers as WVU recently published a study that found higher rates of birth defects near mountaintop removal areas. The study has been receiving quite a bit of controversy, which you can read about here.  It’s really interesting stuff, so check it out!
  • And a heads up - The Last Mountain will be playing in Portland from July 15-21 at the Regal Fox Tower Theater. Mackenzie saw clips at a climbing event in WV in May, and it looks awesome!  It also features an interview with attorney Joe Lovett, Executive Director of the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment, where L&C alum Ben Luckett works. Go see it. Take your friends.


 MTR NEWS (June 2011):

  • “In 1921, Blair Mountain, W. Va., was the site of a major milestone in the history of the labor movement when 15,000 union miners took a stand against the coal industry. This week, Blair Mountain may end up being a new milestone in the movement to abolish mountaintop-removal coal mining and perhaps the larger climate justice movement. Hundreds of activists are recreating the miners’ historic march from Marmet to Blair Mountain to try to protect the controversial historic site from being blown up for the thin seam of coal underneath.” from Grist
  • For other news about the March on Blair Mountain (Going on in WV to fight to preserve Blair Mountain, the historic location of one of (if not the) biggest standoffs between mine workers seeking to unionize and the coal company “army.”  It was recently de-listed from the National Historic Register and faces the threat of possible MTR.)
  • From MSNBC, on the legacy of mountaintop mining
  • Prof. Pat McGinley is teaching a Law of Coal class this summer, and he has just released, along with a larger team, a study of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster which killed 29 WV miners last year.  This is an historic and timely report, as Ken Ward discusses on CoalTattoo (
    The report is here.

MTR NEWS (May 2011):

  • Read more about the historic settlement between the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and the EPA over the TVA’s illegal power plant pollution and their pledge for green initiatives. (FYI, TVA is the only power company in the country persuing new nuclear technology currently). The text of the EPA settlement is here (TOC).
  • The EPA has been run through the ringers recently with a recent House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on Mountain Top Removal. Reports are saying this was a pretty clearly one-sided promotion of the coal industry. 
  • The Democrats held a hearing of the water and wildlife subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Environmental and PUblic Works to discuss the Appalachian Restoration Act in particular.  Read more here.
  • Keep checking out CoalTattoo, up-to-date and written by Charleston Gazette (WV) writer Ken Ward.  Not only does he update at least once daily the world of MTR and coal country in general, but he often includes the text of motions filed in cases, and the links to listen live to the hearings he’s talking about. 


MTR NEWS (mid April 2011): 

  • EPA press release on “Landmark Clean Air Act settlement with TVA to modernize coal-fired power plants and promote clean energy investments”


MTR NEWS (early April 2011):


 Photo by Torie Jarvis