Oct 032012

Remembering Larry Gibson

By Dave Cooper

An American hero has passed away.  Larry Gibson, the “Mountain Keeper” from West Virginia who fought for over 25 years to save his family’s ancestral land on top of Kayford Mountain, died on his beloved mountain of a heart attack on Sunday, September 9.

Larry Gibson being arrested as part of a non-violent demonstration against mountaintop removal in West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin’s office, March 2007. Photo by Dave Cooper.

Larry fought the good fight.  One of the first West Virginians to try and organize people against mountaintop removal (MTR), he fought longer and harder against that destructive process of coal extraction than anyone else ever could.  Beginning as a volunteer with the West Virginia Citizen Action Group (WV-CAG) in the mid-1980s, Larry soon joined the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) and, with the help of OVEC organizer Laura Forman, began speaking publicly against MTR by the late 1990s.

When I first met Larry in March, 1998, I wasn’t too sure what to think of him.  He was not a polished speaker and it was sometimes difficult to understand what he was saying.  But like me, he was a former General Motors employee, and he had a lot of good GM stories from his days on the assembly line in Lordstown, Ohio, so we hit it off.

Meeting Larry changed my life.  Shortly after hearing him speak, I visited Kayford Mountain, and 14 years later I’m still working on the mountaintop removal issue.  Continue reading »

Aug 102011

Gatewood Galbraith is Independent candidate

By Dave Cooper

Could 2011 be the year that Gatewood Galbraith is finally elected to office in Kentucky? It could happen.

Lexington attorney Galbraith, running for governor as an Independent candidate, will face incumbent Governor Steve Beshear and State Senate Majority Leader David Williams in the November election. Gov. Beshear has teamed with Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson for 2011, dropping his unpopular Lt. Governor, Hazard physician Dr. Dan Mongiardo, while Sen. Williams has selected former UK basketball star and current Agriculture Commissioner Ritchie Farmer for his running mate. Galbraith’s running mate is Dea Riley, a Frankfort media consultant. Continue reading »

Oct 132010

By Joan Braune

On the weekend of September 25-7, I joined over two thousand people in Washington, DC for Appalachia Rising, a conference and march against mountaintop removal mining. The march paused in front the Environmental Protection Agency and PNC Bank, which helps to finance mountaintop removal, before concluding in front of the White House, where around one hundred activists were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience.Courtesy of Betsy Taylor

Appalachia Rising will likely prove to be a historically significant event, as this is the first time that a broad coalition of organizations, mostly based in Appalachia, came together to organize a large nationwide march against mountaintop removal. Continue reading »