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Mountaintop removal
CNN, September 28, 2010

Protesters arrested outside the White House
By Dan Lothian

Washington -- More than 100 people protesting mountain-top removal coal mining were arrested Monday outside the White House for failing to obey an order to disperse, the U.S. Park Service said.

All 114 people arrested at the protest against mountain-top mining were later released pending a court date, according to the park service.

The protesters, most from the Appalachian coal-mining states, had a permit to gather in front of the White House, but some failed to follow rules set out in the permit, according to a park service spokesman.

The protest capped a three-day event called "Appalachia Rising" in the nation's capital. Residents of states in the coal mining region -- West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee -- first came together for a weekend conference called "Voices from the Mountains."

On Monday, organizers said, hundreds of people gathered at Freedom Plaza for a rally and march to the White House, where 114 people staged a sit-in. They were arrested when they refused to move.

"The science is clear, mountaintop removal destroys historic mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air with coal and rock dust," said climate scientist James Hansen, who was arrested at the White House. "Mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished. The time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries must end."

"I have talked, begged, debated, written letters to officials, published op-ed pieces in newspapers and lobbied on the state and federal level to end mountaintop removal," said Mickey McCoy, former mayor of Inez, Kentucky, who was also arrested. "Being arrested? That's such a small price to pay for being heard. My home and people are paying the real price for mountaintop removal. They are dying."

Mountain-top mining refers to a form of coal mining most common in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States in which the peak or top of a mountain is removed.

The resulting degradation of the environment affects water sources such as streams, as well as animal and plant life in the area.

© 2010 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton