Feb. 14, 2011
FRANKFORT – The nation’s most acclaimed environment writers are rallying around Wendell Berry, whom they called “the dean of their profession,” in support of his four-day long sit-in protesting mountaintop removal mining that continues in the office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.
In strong statements of support, writer and 350.org founder Bill McKibben, along with bestselling authors Michael Pollan and Terry Tempest Williams, expressed their solidarity with the group of fourteen protesters that also includes a retired coal miner, a nurse practitioner who treats miners, community organizers, a graduate student, and others.
“People across America today…are electrified by what’s going on in Frankfort,” McKibben said. “It’s about time that people said: ‘No more business as usual, if that means leveling the mountains of southern Appalachia.’ And it comes as no surprise that Wendell Berry is in the forefront, as he has been for an entire generation.”
Michael Pollan, author of the bestselling The Omnivore’s Dilemma, agreed: “All of us who care about the future of the planet stand in solidarity with Wendell Berry and his compatriots in Frankfort, Kentucky, where they are conducting a ‘sleep in’ to protest mountaintop removal.”
“I can think of no more appropriate action to be taking on Valentine’s Day than what Wendell Berry and his fellow Kentuckians are doing: taking a stand from one’s heart,” Terry Tempest Williams (The Open Space of Democracy) said. “Mountaintop removal is an act of aggression. Civil disobedience is an act of love. We are right there with them in solidarity and support.”
The sit-in, which the protesters dubbed Kentucky Rising, has attracted international attention, with messages of support coming in from Argentina and Germany. In a statement issued last night, they called on Gov. Beshear, who is running for reelection this year, to join with them in opposing mountaintop removal.
“It’s disappointing that Gov. Beshear is choosing to play election-year politics with the lives and livelihoods of eastern Kentuckians. We continue to call on him to engage in a sincere, public dialogue about ending mountaintop removal and beginning a program of economic renewal for our miners and mountain communities.”
Jason Howard (Media Liaison) 606.224.1208
Silas House (Media Liaison) 606.344.0662
Lora Smith (Media Liaison) 606.524.4074