Lovers and advocates of God’s creation,

Please take a brief moment to contact the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), the entity that is responsible for enforcing the law on mountaintop removal. They are asking for advice on how to enforce the law – and we need you to offer it!

Coalfield communities are suffering as a result from the lack of enforcement of these laws and because of coal industry greed and corruption that permeates the system. As God’s children, Appalachian citizens deserve to live in healthy communities free of toxic water, harmful dust, blasting, and the tyranny of industry.

Please send your comments right now! The deadline is Wednesday Jan. 19th. We encourage you to write your own message (write about your experiences with OSM if you have any), or  click on this link for more information and to send an email.

Don’t forget to pass this information on to your friends and faith communities!

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Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

Go Tell It on the Mountain” is an African-American spiritual compose in the mid-19th Century that is often sung as a Christmas carol.  The Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, records an angel announcing to shepherds out at night with their flocks, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  After the shepherds witness the newborn Jesus, “they made known what had been told them about this child.”

Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, lies in the Judean hill country, part of a broad-shouldered north-south mountain spine lying between the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the sub-sea level Dead Sea to the east.  The inhabitants were adapted to this rugged hill terrain.  Jesus later on grew up further north on that mountain range, in Nazareth in the province of Galilee.

The aristocratic priests and elite urbanites of Jesus’ day looked down their noses at Galileans.  For one thing, Galileans had an accent that included a slurring of their words to such an extent that words were often misunderstood.  The Temple priests accused Galileans of being lax in their tithes and religious observances.  The priests did not believe Galileans had good character or intelligence. Since Galileans were poor agricultural people, and in disfavor by the urbanites, they came to be derisively catcalled, am ha-retz, “people of the land.”  Or in modern vernacular, “hillbillies.”  Jesus was a hillbilly.

Shepherds in the time of Jesus were looked down upon as unreliable, uncouth, thieving, and rowdy.  Their testimony was not allowed in court.  Yet it was to shepherds that the angel announced the birth of the Savior.

Modern elites today tend to look down on mountain people living in the heart of Appalachia in a way that is analogous to Galileans and shepherds of Jesus’ time.  And it seems easier on the conscience to defraud and exploit mountain people once they’ve been downgraded.  A desecration such as mountaintop removal would never happen in the Poconos or Catskills that are playgrounds for the rich and mighty.

A few months before Jesus’ birth, Mary his mother prophesied about this birth.” He has shown might in his arm: he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.  He has brought down the powerful from their seats, and has exalted the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent empty away” (Luke 1:51-53).

Jesus’ identification with the lowly of the world, those looked down upon  by the self-sufficient and proud,  is not part of today’s slick and tidy Christmas story.   Yet this is a vital part of the Christmas message.  So…go tell it on the mountain!

—Allen Johnson

We need your help to bring an end to mountaintop removal coal mining. PLEASE MAKE A CALL TODAY!
This week, over 140 citizens from Appalachia and across the US will gather in our nation’s capital as part of our 4th Annual End Mountaintop Removal Week in Washington.

They will be meeting with members of Congress to urge them to co-sponsor HR 1310, the Clean Water Protection Act which would help to end mountaintop removal coal extraction.

Mountaintop removal is one of the most egregious environmental and social justice disasters in America today – over 500 mountains, equal to over 1.5 million acres of land have been destroyed by this practice.  Residents and supporters from across the US are asking for an end to this practice and an investment in sustainable economic alternatives for Appalachia.

You can help end mountaintop removal. Click here to show your support for the mountains, the people and the waters of Appalachia.

By calling your House Representative in Congress today, you can make the case that now is the time for Congress to take action to stop mountaintop removal coal mining.  Our goal this year is to pass the Clean Water Protection Act in 2009 — be a part of making history with us!

Call your House Representative today: Use our nifty call-in tool that will dial your Representative directly at no charge and provide you with a script for speaking to them by clicking here In addition to the provided script, it would be great for you to add why, as a person of faith, you are in support of the legislation.  Let your Representative know that:

*God calls us to sustain creation for future generations. (Psalm 8:6-8)
*God calls us to walk with those in unjust systems.  (Proverbs 31:8-9, Matthew 25:34-40)
*God calls us to protect what belongs to him. (Genesis 2:15-17)
And much more!  Please elaborate and add your own reasons.

You can also find out whether your Representative sponsored the Clean Water Protection Act in 2008 here

Thanks for helping to save a national treasure, the Appalachian Mountains and its communities.

PS. We strongly suggest you call your representative, but If you would prefer to contact your Representative by email, click here

Sandra Sleight-Brennan produced a three part series for the Environment Report on NPR about Mountaintop Removal which aired this week.  Part 3 of the series focused on the role that relgious groups play in the fight against MTR and features Christians for the Mountains.  Please check out the story.

Coal River Mountain is one of the last mountains left intact in the beautiful Coal River Valley of West Virginia. However, Massey Energy has plans to mine 6,000 acres of the mountain – or almost 10 square miles via mountaintop Removal. The proposed mining would bury over 20 miles of streams with valley fills, contaminate local water resources, put local communities in further danger of flash floods, and completely eliminate the available wind resource.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to mountaintop removal mining on Coal River Mountain -wind power. This is a unique opportunity to move our nation and the state of West Virginia toward the production of clean energy, and to preserve God’s creation for generations to come. The Christian community has become increasingly vocal in the biblical call of environmental stewardship and thereby very supportive of alternative energy resources.  (for more info go to www.coalriverwind.org)   But we have to act quickly! Recently a permit has been issued which means Massey could begin blasting at any time and the wind project is in danger.

On Tuesday, December 9th, Coal River Mountain Watch is holding two press conferences. The more supporters present at the conferences, the more successful they will be!

Press Conferences are scheduled for:

1:30 p.m., Beckley, WV at The Tamarack in the Atrium Dining Room

4:30 p.m., Charleston, WV at the Capitol building in the Governor’s Conference Room

A coalition between Christians for the Mountains and Restoring Eden: Christians for Environmental Stewardship has formed and initiated a campaign to support the wind project.  Representatives from both organizations will be present at both press conferences and will present  Gov. Manchin with a letter stating our support as Christians for the wind project.

Please read the online version of our letter and add your signature.
Act quickly and please share this with as many of your friends and church members as possible.

Tell WV Gov. Manchin that it is important to your faith and the people of southern WV that he halt the destruction Coal River Mountain and support the Coal River Wind Project.
I also urge you to contact Gov. Manchin yourself and tell him your concerns.
CALL Gov. Manchin TODAY at: 1-888-438-2731 or send an email to Governor@WVGov.org