Feb 062013

Kentucky author Silas House to be featured speaker

The immediate need to end the devastating health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining, as well as the great potential for clean energy jobs, will be highlighted at this year’s I Love Mountains Day.

The annual event, which draws more than a thousand Kentuckians to the steps of the state capitol, will take place on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14. It’s organized by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC) with dozens of churches and other civic organization participating.

Kentucky author Silas House will be the featured speaker at a rally that begins about 1:15 p.m. That will be preceded by a march from the Kentucky River to the front steps of the Capitol, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

KFTC members want legislators to give serious consideration to the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, a bill that would require utilities to start generating a modest amount of their electricity through renewable sources. It also would require energy efficiency programs, and give incentives to homeowners and farmers to install renewable systems. There would be no cost to taxpayers.

An independent study found that such programs would create 28,000 new jobs for Kentuckians over the next 10 years. Yet opposition from the coal industry has kept the bill from getting a vote.

Clean energy jobs are one part of the solution to stopping the controversial and destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining, which has leveled nearly 300 mountains in eastern Kentucky and filled in more than 1,400 miles of streams with the toxic mining wastes.

Over the past four years, more than 20 peer-reviewed studies have documented elevated levels of birth defects, cancer, coronary and respiratory diseases, and a lower life expectancy in areas of heavy strip mining and water pollution compared with non-mining areas.

Legislation that would prevent the dumping of toxic mining wastes into any Kentucky stream has been blocked by House leaders.

More information about I Love Mountains Day can be found online at kftc.org/love.

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