Activists Risk Arrest To Plant Trees On “Reclaimed” Mining Site

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of West Virginians and their allies rallied on Kayford Mountain to protest the way that mountain top removal mining locations are abandoned by coal companies.

During the rally, individuals walked onto a neighboring mountain top removal mine site to plant native trees on a “reclaimed” area in an act of non-violent civil disobedience.

This action represented a call for the abolition of mountaintop removal and thorough reclamation of the over 1 million acres flattened by surface mining in Appalachia.

Standard reclamation involves regrading high walls into steep slopes and seeding the rocky soil with grass. The biodiverse mixed mesophytic forests of central Appalachia cannot regrow on reclaimed surface mines, and opponents to mountain top removal mining accuse the industry of shirking its responsibility to restore areas that they have pillaged in search of coal.

“The coal industry does not attempt to return the landscape to its previous biodiversity – leaving it up to the citizens to reclaim it themselves. Fixing the ruined landscape will provide long term jobs for those put out of work by the abolition of mountaintop removal,” said forester and environmentalist john johnson [sic].

A report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office earlier this year found that proper post-mining reclamation and restoration is not happening in Appalachia. Part of the reason for this failure is that coalfield states all have different requirements and often do not adequately enforce their own standards (NRDC).

johnson was one of dozens that helped to plant 30 trees, including hemlocks, a tulip poplar, pin oak, walnuts, chestnuts, and acorns on the “reclamation” site.

Seven people also deployed a banner that stated “Over 55 Mountains Destroyed – Reclamation Jobs Now!”

The rally and action comes on the heels of the EPA’s recommendation to veto the Spruce No. 1 mine’s permit and Appalachia Rising, the largest national gathering of people in opposition to mountaintop removal coal mining to date.

Tell Congress You Oppose the Destructive Practice of Mountaintop Removal Mining!

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Image Credit: Climate GroundZero


Bette M.
Bette M8 years ago

Mandy B. says
Dec 5, 2010 10:37 AM
getting arrested for doing good at no cost to anyone? question: What has the world come to?

Good question Mandy!! Seems the more advanced man becomes the dumber he becomes.Or more so full of himself over & against the better judgement of Mother Nature!!

Plant & protect Danny's Trees for life.
Trees are the lungs of the earth.....................

Mandy B.
Mandy B8 years ago

getting arrested for doing good at no cost to anyone? question: What has the world come to?

Nicholas Black
Nicholas Black8 years ago

Sure... "restoration is "possible"
... just like it is possible to dissassemble the Egyptian pyramids . ...and replace the stones back to their original area of quarrying.
Mountaintop removal is idiotic at best.
I mean... whodathunkit that cutting off the tops of mountains might irrevocably hange ... not only the immeidate environmant ... but also the adjacent environments by allowing less fettered movement of weather patterns across the now-lowered mountain range. ????
for that matter drilling a large horizontal borehole, from the western side of the landlocked "Dea Sea" - under and through the Palestine/Isreal lands, into the eastern edge of the Mediterraian sea would also have a phenominal effect on that areas environment ... by raising the water level of that inland sea by over 1000 feet .... not only changing the local weather patterns but seriously affecting immediate and long-term tidal currents at the western/eastern points of exits and entries to both bodies of ewaters.
Basically ... cutting off the top of a mountainous barrier does the same thing to neighboring areas
.... however, it might be "good for future business":
housing developments, golf courses, prisons.
Stuff that "Development" is made for
Bah !

Barbara S.
Barbara S8 years ago

Why would someone be arrested for trying to restore what was once a beautiful mountain with mature trees and wildlife? This is a travesty of justice if these people were arrested. I am all for EARTH LIBERATION by whatever means needed.

Bette M.
Bette M8 years ago

Reclaim the mountains........Reclaim the trees........

Plant & protect Danny's Trees for ..........Life.............

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran8 years ago

go reclaimers!

Grace Johnson
Grace Johnson8 years ago

how sad a whole mountain top is gone! for dirty coal? mountain top removal needs to end now, sorry to all the coal workers out there but if this continues we won't have much of an environment left to pass on to our children

Nuno Correia
Nuno Correia8 years ago

time and time again, the profit above the health of environment and landscapes.

Deb Hess
Deborah H8 years ago

If we don't replant trees after they've been cut down in an area & help mother nature to start recoving, we're going to end up with a dead world.

Julianna D.
Juliana D8 years ago