by jason fults
On Thursday, Sept. 18, the Gainesville City Commission voted unanimously to condemn the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.
Commissioners Carter, Poe, Warren, Wells, and Mayor Braddy also voted to establish a new coal procurement policy for Gainesville Regional Utilities that seeks to exclude mountaintop-mined coal from our fuel mix. We received some good coverage in The Sun if you’re interested in a recap.
This victory is a huge step forward for the Gainesville Loves Mountains campaign, and could not have been won without the steadfast support of Gainesville City Commissioner Lauren Poe, our friends at Appalachian Voices, and the tremendous volunteer efforts of our local supporters.
by Gainesville Loves Mountains
After more than two years of advocating locally and nationally for an end to mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining,Gainesville Loves Mountains (GLM) has proposed an ordinance to the Gainesville City Commission to permanently end Gainesville Regional Utility’s purchases of MTR coal.
The ordinance was drafted by local environmental attorney and GLM member Byron Flagg, and is being sponsored by Commissioner Thomas Hawkins. Upon submitting the proposed ordinance, GLM had this to say: “We believe in more than an ‘all of the above’ approach to energy. As our community diversifies our fuel supply and curbs wasteful consumption, an important end goal should be to eliminate the ‘worst of the worst’ from our energy mix.”
Mountaintop removal coal mining occurs throughout the Appalachian mountains of the United States and is a method of literally removing the tops of mountains in order to access sub-surface coal. The MTR process has been widely documented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others to wreak environmental havoc on any area where MTR occurs. In addition, Appalachian communities have cried out for help as their towns, homes and livelihoods struggle with the social and health impacts that occur when an MTR operation actually changes the landscape around them.