Student Group Targets MTR

by Jake Hawkins

Transylvania Environmental Responsibility and Rights Alliance has announced a campaign for November called “Appalachian Awareness Month.” According to TERRA member Julia Peckinpaugh, the campaign was inspired by information posted on the Web site that states that the entire zip code of 40508, Transy included, is powered by Kentucky Utilities Co. – an energy provider known to use coal harvested with mountaintop removal (MTR) techniques.

According to the Web site, MTR is the process of harvesting coal by blasting away entire sections of mountains, allowing access to natural reservoirs of coal. Before the blasting occurs the area is subject to manual deforestation. MTR pollutes waterways and can force the evacuation of towns.

Proponents of mountaintop removal argue that the process is economically stimulating, and ceasing the practice would cause economic collapse.

Some Transy students disagree. Lauralee Crain, a Transy senior and leader of TERRA, said, “Coal is dirty energy, but ending MTR is a more immediate problem that needs to cease.”

Crain said that as part of Appalachian Awareness Month TERRA plans to set up tables every Tuesday to “educate Transy students about MTR, coal mining in general, and prepare them for the United Nations Climate Conference in December.”

Crain has been chosen as a delegate of the Sierra Club to attend the UN Climate Conference held in Copenhagen. According to Crain, the hope of this summit is for the U.S. to enter into a treaty agreeing to make efforts to preserve the environment.

TERRA will also be hosting a panel of speakers on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. The panel will include Mountain Justice activists Larry Gibson and Dave Cooper, Transy alumna and activist Marcie Smith and Teri Blanton with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

Today, at 7 p.m. in Cowgill 102 TERRA will be screening “Coal Country,” a movie that examines the coal industry through the eyes of coal miners, mining company executives and activists for the reformation of coal practices.

TERRA is also urging all students during November to submit letters to the editor to their local newspapers and write to state and national congressmen about the issue of MTR.

For more information about Appalachian Awareness Month, Coal Energy or TERRA, readers can contact Lauralee Crain at


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