For Immediate Release, September 24

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Residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Head to DC for Appalachia Rising and Call for the Abolition of Mountaintop Removal

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Students activist and residents from Pittsburgh are heading to Washington, D.C. September 25-27 to participate in Appalachia Rising, a mass mobilization calling for the abolition of mountaintop removal and investment in sustainable economic diversification of the Appalachian coalfields.

“Mountain top removal is bigger than this generation.  If we sit back and do nothing we will not only be losing one of the most bio-diverse regions in the United States, we will be showing future generations that the Earth does not matter. I am not only standing up for the mountains but I am standing up for my future”, says Natty Burford, a Chatham University student attending Appalachia Rising.

Appalachia Rising will consist of Voices from the Mountains, a summit on the weekend; and the Day of Action on Monday. Voices from the Mountains will engage participants in critical dialogue on the movement for justice and prosperity in Appalachia. The Day of Action will unite thousands in a march and rally, including non-violent civil disobedience for individuals who choose.

“The urgency of this issue makes the risk of arrest seem not only trivial but necessary. I am willing to take such a small risk if it may provide deliverance from health and safety risks that coalfield residents are involuntarily subject to every day” says Elizabeth Morris of Penn Hills.

Strip mining in Appalachia, commonly referred to as mountaintop removal, is a process in which as much as 800 to 1000 feet of elevation is blasted to reach thin coal seams within the mountain. The resulting millions of tons of rock are dumped into surrounding valleys, creating valley fills. Sites can reach up to 10,000 acres and the 500 mountains and 2,000 miles of streams lost to strip mining total an area the size of Delaware.

Mountaintop removal mining has severe impacts on the health of local residents.  A 2010 study linked residence in coal mining areas with higher rates of human cancer mortality. A 2009 report estimated that coal mining is costing Appalachia five times more in premature deaths than it provides the region in all jobs, taxes and other economic benefits.  Mountaintop removal is also destroying communities as coal companies aggressively seek to buy out residents living near proposed mountaintop removal sites.

For more details on Appalachia Rising, visit

For more details on the Shadbush Collective, visit


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