From the press release:
Videos by American Songwriter
Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Kathy Mattea, and Big Kenny Alphin are working to enlist fellow artists to join them in a new campaign, Music Saves Mountains, to help protect the mountains of Appalachia by ending the world’s most destructive method of coal mining: mountaintop removal. This extreme strip mining extracts coal by using explosives to literally blow up ridgelines to provide easy access to thin coal seams below, with the leftover rock, rubble and mining waste dumped into valley streams below. To date some 500 Appalachian peaks have been flattened, leaving behind scarred moonscapes, polluted water and shell-shocked communities.
“This particularly bad form of mining literally uses dynamite to blow the tops off of mountains,” said Crow. “They call this mountain top removal and it is destroying some of the most beautiful places in the United States, including here in Tennessee where I live. I think it is a crime against nature that this practice is allowed, period.”
On the campaign website, MusicSavesMountains.org, visitors can learn more about mountaintop removal, see what participating musicians are doing to protect the Appalachians and find out what concerned citizens can do to help end the devastating practice of high-elevation surface coal mining.
“The beauty of the Appalachian Mountains has inspired countless songs in country, bluegrass, gospel and folk music, and we must do everything possible to protect them,” said Big Kenny Alphin of Big and Rich. “This campaign was founded out of the respect musicians, and especially people from Appalachia have for our beloved mountains. We’re calling on everyone to help keep the ‘country’ in country music.”
Currently in Tennessee, legislators are debating an important bill – the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act – that will prohibit mountaintop coal mining within 100 feet of streams and rivers and will protect mountains over 2,000 feet high in Tennessee from being leveled. Musicians are asking fans to contact Governor Phil Bredesen and ask him to support the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act to ensure the safety of the state’s mountaintops.
On a federal level, Congress is considering legislation to curtail mountaintop mining. The bi-partisan Clean Water Protection Act has over 150 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and last week Tennessee’s senior U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander joined Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) to introduce the Appalachia Restoration Act, which would effectively ban mountaintop removal.
To date, more that a million acres of Appalachia have been flattened – from eastern Tennessee and eastern Kentucky to southern West Virginia and western Virginia — and over 1,000 miles of streams have been polluted or destroyed by mountaintop removal coal mining. Tennessee currently has at least four active and 13 proposed mountaintop removal sites in Anderson, Claiborne, Campbell, Fentress, Morgan and Scott Counties.
For more information about the Music Saves Mountains campaign, visit www.MusicSavesMountains.org.