August 19, 2015

Update From Climate Ground Zero’s Mike Roselle

no 4 house

 

Dear friends and colleagues,

Thank you for all of the nice birthday wishes. Your love and support helps to sustain me through the tough times. Just checking in and sharing a little news. Please read, like and share.

We are awaiting the final decision by the Army Corps on the mountain top removal permit for Coal River Mountain, as we have it seems for the last eight years. We are keeping busy working in the community. Since Don Blankenship’s indictment and Alpha Natural Resources’s Chapter 11 filling the angry opposition of groups like Friends of Coal have all but disappeared and Climate Ground Zero and Coal River Mountain Watch are now able to create some important middle ground on the future of the Coal River. We have not only been outnumbering industry supporters at hearings and court sessions, the local press is providing much better coverage of our work in print and on TV.

The rate of mountain top removal coal mining, despite many reports to the contrary, has not been significantly affected by low coal prices and it seems that every day we hear of a new MTR permit application. We still have a big fight on our hands.

As you know, for the last ten years, we have have maintained a residence and headquartes here in Rock Creek in three rehabilitated abandoned mining cabins on about two acres of property along the Coal River. We also have enough room and facilities to host both large and small groups for extended periods of time. Thousands of people have come here to learn about the problems faced by these Appalachian communities and hundreds have taken action.

Over the last few years all of the outside groups have left and we remain the only visible symbol of outside interest. We still get plenty of visitors, press, film makers, and activists. The locals know the place very well and have long called this place the Treehugger House and even give directions by it. We have survived repeated attacks by coal industry supportes, police raids and threat by the County to condem our buildings. But we are not leaving.

At the beginning of August my landlord came by and informed me that they want to list this property for sale with a real estate agent. I asked for a thirty day delay to raise the money and now need to come up with the funding quickly.

The old man Tabor, who built these three houses, was going to give me this place, but when he died three years ago his daughter said that deal was off the table but they would honor their father and give me a below market price in recognition of all the work we have done to restore these three once abandoned and dilapidated buildings. These six lots have a river view, are close to the new Marsh Fork Elementary school and are zoned commercial. Probably worth about $75,000 on the market.They are asking for $30,000 in cash. So far, I have been able to raise $20,000 for their purchase but I need to raise $10,000 more in the next few weeks or we risk losing this place. If sold, they would almost certainly tear these historic cabins down.

I plan to stay here until MTR is banned forever. I would appreciate any assistance you could offer to help me keep the promise I made when I first arrived here over a decade ago. We must keep this coal in the ground and we must protect these communities and headwaters of some of the country’s largest rivers which supply drinking water to two thirds of the nation’s population. We have lost over two million acres of native forests and buried over two thousand miles of streams. It time for this to stop.

So I have to move fast. I’m asking my friends if they can help come up with some of this money. I don’t want to get a mortgage as that will add considerable costs. I need your help. If you can donate a $100, $500 or a $1,000 that would get us closer to our goal. Any amount will help.

For the mountains.

Mike Roselle

You can make a check payable to the American Forest Alliance, 11 Salem Hill Road, Weaverville, North Carolina, 28787 or go to our website @ climategroundzero.org and hit the donate button. Don’t allow them to run us out of town.