Tennessee Interfaith Group Prays to Stop Mountaintop Removal
People of faith have been working for years to stop coal mining companies’ destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, which has caused environmental and public health disasters across the region. As the Tennessee legislative session begins, congregations across the state have joined together for 40 days of prayer to alert their elected officials to their concerns and prevent the mining of peaks above 2,000 feet.
Despite the uphill battle that Tennessee residents face against these powerful corporate special interests, the activists and local residents were stunningly clear in their conviction that their faith calls them to restore the pristine condition of the water and air quality in the region.
From Tennessean News Channel 5:
The way we love the creator of the universe is to love the creation,” said Pastor Ryan Bennett [who also] says the environment may not be the first thing you’d think [of] from a pew, but here it’s a grassroots issue firmly planted in faith. “It’s sort of like a David and Goliath sort of scenario. We’re volunteers. We don’t know what we’re doing, but we believe that God is with us.
Tennesseans are surely in a “David and Goliath” scenario with coal mining companies, but they have the support of a wide array of faith groups. At least six national Christian denominations have passed resolutions condemning mountaintop removal mining and are united in their efforts to raise awarenessof these exploitative practices among their congregations.
With local residents and the environment left defenseless in the face of mining companies that have virtually unlimited rights and minimal supervision of their environmental practices, mining laws must be updated to protect more than just the interests of powerful mining companies. Thanks to these Tennesseans and groups around the country, residents will not be left to fight these devastating consequences alone.