I Love Mountains Day 2009 | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

I Love Mountains Day 2009

It was a great event!  I Love Mountains Day 2009 saw another strong turnout in Frankfort as hundreds marched and rallied in support of clean water and protections for Kentucky's mountains and coalfield communities. The march was energetic, the speeches were phenomenal and the determination to retake state government from special monied interests was undeniable.

"I'm glad to be here today with people who are not afraid. We can take back our democracy. We're doing it, we're doing it today," said KFTC Chairperson K.A. Owens.

Watch a short video of the event by David Stephenson, photojournalist with the Lexington Herald-Leader, or another video by Mike Wynn of the Winchester Sun. 

More than 700 people started the rally in downtown Frankfort at the Kentucky River, whose headwaters are severely damaged by coal company pollution. This included a group of people who had marched from Lexington to Frankfort to draw attention the issue.

The crowd marched – including 96-year-old Marie Cassidy from Louisville – about a half mile to join a another crowd waiting for them on the front steps of the state capitol, greeted by music from Ben Sollee and David Martin Moore.  Speeches by Sen. Kathy Stein, Rep. John Yarmuth, K.A. Owens, Randy Wilson, Silas House, Ashley Judd, Lyle Snider, Willa Hood, Emily Gillespie and Teri Blanton, as well as music by Public Outcry and the Reel World String Band followed.

Willa Johnson talked about growing up in McRoberts in Letcher County where abuse by coal companies is a daily occurrence.

Willa Johnson"I am 23 now, and still live in the mountains I love, and my family still struggles to hold on to what is theirs. My grandfather, a retired coal miner, at the age of 84 fights daily for his land. His home is falling apart from the blasts, boulders litter the family cemetery behind his home and the MTR company behind his home trespasses to clean up their dirty mess from time to time thinking that he doesn't realize what is really going on. What that company doesn't know is that age doesn't matter, strength and determination is what counts, and at 84 years old he's going to keep fighting for what he loves."

Featured speaker Ashley Judd was equally strong in her condemnation of the coal industry's disregard of people and planet.

Let me be clear.
Mountaintop removal coal mining is a tragedy.
Mountaintop removal coal mining is a scourge on our people and on our land.
Mountaintop removal coal mining is devouring vast acreages of irreplaceable hardwood forests, filling our sacred hollows, burying precious headwater streams, and eliminating wildlife habitat. And, with its monstrous equipment and mechanization, it is also eliminating coal miners' jobs.

But the emphasis was largely on water, protecting Kentucky's rivers and stream from the coal industry's practice of dumping its toxic mining wastes into the headwater streams of the Kentucky, Big Sandy, Cumberland and Licking rivers in eastern Kentucky. "Not One More Mile" was the chant for the day as the defenders of Kentucky's precious people and places said that 1,400 miles of streams buried or severely damaged by this practice is already way too many.

Speakers emphasized that by being so bound to coal and protecting the industry that Kentucky is losing out on opportunities to transition with the rest of the nation to a green energy economy. Some of the loudest cheers came when speakers talked about bring these jobs to the coalfields.

ILM09 march

ILM09 crowd

ILM09 crowd 3 ILM09 march 3  

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