A brief ‘I ♥ Mountains Day’ recap

While your humble correspondents busied themselves with Louisville-centric matters yesterday, roughly 1,000 people showed up at the steps of the state capitol building for the annual I ♥ Mountains Day rally in a perennial call for environmental justice from state government.

Here’s more from the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth blog:

More than a thousand people met at the Kentucky River and marched up Capital Avenue to call for New Power – new energy, economic and political power – and an end to mountaintop removal and other destructive mining practices that threaten our mountains, water, air and health.

Twelve-year-old Ella Corder of Somerset, winner of the first I Love Mountains Day essay contest, also spoke at the rally. “We all have a fire in our hearts. It may have started as a small, weak flickering flame, but it grew, as does our love for our treasured mountains. We need to use that burning fire to stand up for what we believe in and let our voices be heard.”

Keynote speaker Silas House challenged those gathered to take action. “Let’s clean this house. We have talked for years about the problems of mountaintop removal and this outlaw industry. For the past decade, KFTC has actively worked toward solutions with four main goals: enforcing existing laws, passing stronger laws where needed to protect health and environment, developing a diverse and sustainable local economy, and, lastly, developing clean energy solutions in the region. New Power.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Tom Eblen has a good photo gallery of the event, as well.

Absent every year since her last appearance at an I ♥ Mountains Day Rally was actress and much-rumored U.S. Senate candidate Ashley Judd, who in 2009 harangued big coal and advocated for stimulus spending to create green jobs in Hazard, Ky.

From an ancient FatLip post, published Feb. 18, 2009:

…Judd’s vision as delineated in her keynote speech offered both a blistering critique of the mining industry, but also a cogent and impassioned (though not entirely novel) vision to wean Kentucky off of “a 19th century fuel” in lieu of a 21st century paradigm shift toward all things green.

She harangued Big Coal for thriving off of high,energy prices amid our current economic freefall, and declared “The solution is a new economy!  A green collar economy!” to roaring applause.  She then expressed an impassioned (though not entirely novel) picture of that economy, involving the creation of solar panel manufacturing plants in those Appalachian communities hardest hit by the impact of local mining acivity.

With current technology, she said, “why can’t we build a solar panel factory in, say… Hazard?”

“It’s only right,” she continued, “that the stimulus be spent here, in Eastern Kentucky!” again to applause.

FatLip is currently searching for lost audio of that interview.