Friday, May 20, 2011

Larry Gibson and Mari-Lynn Evans Energize Ohio Citizen Action's Cleveland office

Post Written by Stephen Gabor, Ohio Citizen Action

CLEVELAND — Larry Gibson, Keeper of the Mountains, and Mari-Lynn Evans, 2010 West Virginia Film Maker of the Year for her documentaries “Coal Country and “Low Coal,” spent an hour at Ohio Citizen Action’s downtown Cleveland office yesterday talking to staff about their work to end mountaintop removal coal mining.

According to Gibson, mountaintop removal is “the tsunami of Appalachia,” having destroyed over 6 million acres. Gibson told the staff that 82% of West Virginia land found in the coalfields is owned by coal companies and “wherever coal goes, misery goes.”

Gibson and Evans were featured speakers at the protest outside FirstEnergy’s annual shareholders’ meeting at the John S. Knight Center in Akron. FirstEnergy’s Lake Shore power plant, three miles east of downtown Cleveland on Lake Erie, buys coal from companies engaged in mountaintop removal mining. The extraction site most closely connected to the Lake Shore plant is Kayford Mountain, Gibson’s home.

Gibson has successfully saved 50 acres of his own family’s land even while the land around him continues to be destroyed by mountaintop removal. Gibson said, “There are two trains leaving Appalachia. One has coal on it. The other has money on it.”