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Four Arrested Protesting UBS Funding of Mountaintop Removal Coal Extraction
Activists call for ethical and sustainable investment in Appalachia
Stamford, CT- This afternoon activists associated with Capitalism vs. the Climate and Hands Off Appalachia participated in a solidarity action at UBS wealth management services in Stamford, Connecticut. The non-violent protest was in opposition to UBS’ funding of the harmful extractive process known as mountaintop removal. Four of the activists, April Scheller of Middletown, Carmen Cordero of Hartford, Nick Katkevich of Voluntown, and Vittorio (Vic) Lancia of Portland, were arrested by the Stamford Police Department for Criminal Trespass and Breach of Peace when UBS executives would not meet with them to discuss the request.
Mountaintop removal (MTR) is an extreme form of coal extraction that uses explosives to remove up to 800 vertical feet of mountaintop to expose underlying coal seams. MTR poisons water supplies, causes cancer and birth defects, devastates local economies, and displaces large segments of Central Appalachian residents. UBS provides investment services to Patriot, Arch and James River Coal Companies. These companies operate mountaintop removal mines in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
Capitalism vs. the Climate member Vic Lancia said, “I’m beyond appalled at the magnitude of devastation and injustice that is mountaintop removal. In such I see no reverence for life on the planet, no economic or social justice , and no concern for prosperity. What I do see is a massive sacrifice to greed. Apathy amounts to such tyranny. That’s why I’m participating in this action.”
Among the demands articulated in the letter read, “repair the damage UBS has done to Appalachian communities and invest in their future: take advantage of the opportunity to invest in energy efficiency in the region; invest in education and infrastructure in communities that are traditionally under-served; and create a pool for micro-loans for young entrepreneurs trying to do business in an environment bereft of economic opportunity.”
“My family lives across from the largest coal fired power plant in the Northeast. Dominating the horizon, the plant is a clear reminder of the coal industries’ poisonous strangle on American energy production. From the mountains of Appalachia to the bays of Rhode Island, coal brings destruction and illness. If UBS has any bit of light in their hearts, they will work immediately to withdraw their financial support from the coal industry and mountaintop removal extraction,” said Nick Katkevich.
Ricki Draper, a cofounder of the Hands off Appalachia campaign said, “Today’s protest exhibits our dedication to ending UBS’ support of an industry that is devastating Appalachia and killing its residents”. Draper was arrested in the Knoxville protest in May. “For over a year, Hands off Appalachia has attempted to get UBS to respond to our demands. UBS has refused comment and any sort of communication. Today, four people courageously demanded a response. I am anxious to see how UBS will respond and if they will take responsibility for the destruction they are funding.”
April Scheller, another activist arrested today said, “Mad persons also know about being violently forced from home, shut away from sky, and subjected to the side effects. Mountainfolk were ordered from their own lands, effectively exiled and bombed by mountaintop removal: look at the craters, washed out roads, wells blackened, mourners chased from gravesites, more still slain while mining. Lost in that was life and home. I seek with them a peaceable end to chemical warfare which darkens skies and sickens children for greed.”
The action today followed a meeting on Wednesday in Kentucky at the Lexington UBS office and a non-violent action in Knoxville, Tennessee on May 24. Further actions are likely to follow until UBS ends their participation in the destruction of Appalachia.
Lead weekend story in CT Environmental Headlines
Coverage in Stamford Advocate
On Wednesday the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs held their forum on natural gas. Dan Fischer was asked to speak for 3 minutes in between two speakers who were in favor of natural gas. His comment is below. The bottom line is that we can create jobs and energy without poisoning workers with silica dust, risking their lives to an explosion, and sacrificing the Marcellus Shale and Bridgeport.
Deb Eck was working 96 hours a week to support her 10 and-a-half year-old twins last spring when she received a notice. She was being evicted along with 32 families of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania’s Riverdale Mobile Home Park, so that Aqua America could construct a pump station needed for fracking natural gas. Several of her neighbors were forced to spend their retirement money to move their trailers and sheds.
“I want our community back,” Ms. Eck said, “I want our family back. When the first trailer rolled out, that was bad enough. It just kept getting worse.”
When tonight’s crowd of labor and environmental advocates bands together, we are undefeatable. The fossil fuel bosses knows this, and they’d like nothing more than to divide us, to disperse us just as quickly as they dispersed the Riverdale Mobile Home Park. We can’t let that happen.
While all the signs of climate change are assaulting our state with a ferocity never seen before, it seems the current administration is content to ignore them and dismantle any environmental progress that Connecticut has made with backdoor deals, late night bargains and an energy strategy which puts more emphasis on supporting polluting industry interests than serving the state and it’s citizens. With the memory of Superstorm Sandy barely faded from the headlines and the recovery efforts still underway Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty suggest that the best way to update the energy grid that contributed to the power to that storm is to subsidize and evangelize for the natural gas industry whose extraction emissions could increase the probability of more storms in the future. The climate science is clear and it demands an immediate transition to clean, renewable energy and in the final days of this legislative session it is clear that these demands are being ignored in favor of propping up the status quo.
by HARVEY WASSERMAN
From his California beach house at San Clemente, Richard Nixon once watched three reactors rise at nearby San Onofre. As of June 7, 2013, all three are permanently shut.
It’s a monumental victory for grassroots activism. it marks an epic transition in how we get our energy.
In the thick of the 1970s Arab oil embargo, Nixon said there’d be 1000 such reactors in the US by the year 2000.
As of today, there are 100.
Four have shut here this year. Citizen activism has put the “nuclear renaissance” into full retreat.
Just two of 54 reactors now operate in Japan, where Fukushima has joined Chernobyl and Three Mile Island in permanently scarring us all.
June 2. A pipeline for exporting oil sands bitumen to Asia-bound tankers was dealt a severe blow on Friday when the province of British Columbia urged a federal review panel to reject the $6 billion plan. The proposal to build the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and its port is effectively Alberta’s backup plan in case the Obama administration turns down the Keystone XL, a pipeline that would link the oil sands with American refineries on the Gulf Coast. Several of the concerns raised by British Columbia in its rejection echo those of American environmentalists regarding Keystone XL.
Also important article about climate refugees “The Impending Deluge”