The Kentucky Rising protesters are still at it today (aka I ♥ Mountains Day), having remained in Gov. Steve Beshear’s office over the weekend after bum rushing him on Friday in an effort to end mountaintop removal mining in Kentucky.
From a press release:
FRANKFORT – Fourteen protesters, including internationally-known writer Wendell Berry, remain in the office of the Kentucky state governor for the third consecutive day. The protesters say they want Gov. Steve Beshear to engage in a serious conversation about mountaintop removal and a sustainable economy for Kentucky’s miners and mountain communities.
“Our purpose is to protect our land and water. And we most certainly bear no ill will against those who work in mines,” Berry says.
The protesters are staying in the state Capitol at the governor’s invitation. He extended the offer for them to remain in his office after they said they would not leave until he engaged in a “real conversation” about the method of coal mining that has been widely criticized by environmentalists as the most destructive form of coal extraction.
The Environmental Protection Agency has recently stepped up its efforts to regulate MTR, which has led Gov. Beshear to join with the Kentucky Coal Association and file a lawsuit against the federal agency. In his State of the Commonwealth address he repeatedly said the EPA should “get off our backs.”
On Saturday the group extended an invitation for the Governor and the First Lady to join them but has received no reply.
The protesters have passed their time by discussing new alternatives for mountaintop removal, writing their stories and posting them to a blog they have created for the event atwww.kentuckyrising.blogspot.com , playing card games, reading, and cleaning up the governor’s office.
Gifts from across the nation have been flooding the Capitol. A couple from Florida sent pizzas. A viewer of the blog’s live stream heard that one protester hadn’t brought along his reading glasses, so they sent him a pair. Other gifts include blankets, pies, coffee, artwork, books, and various other items. They have received messages and phone calls from as far away as Argentina.
A large rally is planned on the Capitol’s steps at noon on Monday. The annual event, I Love Mountains Day, was planned at least a year before the group decided to visit the governor’s office.
Click through to watch the protesters’ Ustream, live from the governor’s office.