END GRU PURCHASE OF MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL COAL
In early 2011, Gainesville was visited by a true “Keeper of the Mountains,” Larry Gibson. Larry lived his life in southern Kanawha County, WV, and fought to save his home from the rapacious practices of the coal industry. Larry’s passionate advocacy for protecting his home near Kayford Mountain from Mountaintop Removal (MTR) coal mining moved those in attendance and inspired the formation of Gainesville Loves Mountains (GLM).
Driven by a heightened awareness of our energy footprint on other communities, GLM has worked with our local, community-owned utility, GRU, and City Commissioners, to raise awareness of the impacts of the coal industry on Appalachia and end GRU’s purchases of coal mined using highly destructive methods such as MTR.
Mountaintop Removal (MTR) is an even more extreme form of the devastating strip mining that has been taking place in Appalachia for far too long. Rather than debate the semantics of what is MTR versus what is strip mining, our allies in Appalachia have asked that we simply end all purchases of strip-mined coal from the region in favor of deep-mined coal instead. Over the past few years we’ve continued to discuss MTR and strip-mining at every opportunity and are currently pursuing an ordinance that would eliminate all future purchases of strip-mined coal by GRU.
We presented a draft of our MTR ordinance to the Regional Utilities Committee in September 2013. We had a huge outpouring of community support but some Commissioners and GRU staff expressed concerns that our ordinance could potentially result in upward pressure on rates. Since then, we have been working with Commissioner Lauren Poe on developing a solution that would formally transition GRU away from MTR coal without significantly impacting electricity rates.
During the April 17th evening meeting of the Gainesville City Commission, Commissioner Poe will make a motion directing City staff to take action on this issue. We need a strong showing of public support and a majority of the Commission to support his motion in order for it to more forward.
You can help us win this victory by:
Contacting your City Commissioners personally to ask for their support. Even a brief personal phone call or email with the simple message “I want GRU to bring a permanent end to their consumption of strip-mined Appalachian coal” goes a long way.
Sign our online petition and ask your friends to do the same.
Spread the word about the April 17th City Commission meeting on Facebook.
Help us outreach for the April 17th meeting through phone-banking and canvassing at public events. If you have even one hour of time between now and the 17th and would be willing to help get out and spread the word, please contact us and we’ll put you to work!