On Sunday, activists sang the gospel of stewardship to Chase Bank, which finances 80 percent of mountain-top removal mining in Appalachia. Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping (formerly the Church of Stop Shopping) brought the “murdered mud” of West Virginia’s Coal River Mountain to a Manhattan branch of Chase, asking Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to stop funding Massey Energy’s “obscene” removal of mountains from this planet:
On March 21st we built a mountain in the lobby of a Chase branch on 2nd Avenue & 10th Street in Manhattan made from the murdered mud of Coal River Mountain in West Virginia. Perched on top we left a letter for the CEO of Chase Jamie Dimon. His bank currently finances 80% of the Mountain-top Removal mining that is killing Appalachia.
Watch the choir sing:
Back in Appalachia, the activists of Coal River Mountain Watch, United Mountain Defense, and Appalachian Voices keep fighting to save their heritage and convince Congress to pass the Clean Water Protection Act, H.R. 1310. Yesterday, Reverend Billy offered some more thoughts:
I forgot to say that here in our city Chase finances empty buildings at a time of such homelessness. I wanted to show that urban poverty and rural poverty should not be separated, not if the same bank “warehouses” our city buildings and also finances strip-mining over valleys of small towns of defenseless citizens. But none of this is on the market, and its invisibility attacks activists as much anyone else.
We remembered to ask people to boycott Chase, although we don’t have a good rhyming rhythmic chant for it yet. We forgot to honor the decades of victims and heroes who live in the valleys below the leveled mountains, although we remembered to tell passersby that the little mountain of dirt and rocks and roots that we built in the Chase lobby was from Coal River Mountain in West Virginia. Did we describe the majesty of those peaks, now pulverized by Massey Energy?
It’s Getting Hot In Here reports that youth activists were arrested for staging a sit-in to block the sale of Otter Creek, Montana for coal strip mining:
Five activists with Northern Rockies Rising Tide (NRRT) shut down a meeting of the Montana State Land Board in Helena, MT last Thursday, temporarily halting the leasing of 572 million tons of state-owned coal reserves. Following over two hours of public comment regarding the leasing of the Otter Creek Coal Tracts and Secretary of State Linda McCulloch’s move to accept the bid, the five activists staged a sit-in, disrupting the meeting as they chanted “You’re not listening! Hands off Otter Creek!” Rushing the front of the Land Board meeting room and locked down to each, the activists refused to leave until the decision to accept the bid was tabled indefinitely (or they were arrested). After halting the bidding process for nearly an hour all five were finally arrested and taken to the Lewis and Clark County Jail with charges of disorderly conduct. All five posted bail and were released Thursday evening.
Unfortunately, after the sit-in was broken up, coal giant Arch Coal Inc. won the lease for just under $86 million, or 15 cents per ton of coal.