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Protesters plant trees on mountaintop removal site

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Anti-mountaintop removal protesters wave as they begin to plant trees at a Kayford Mountain strip mine. Gazette photo by Chip Ellis

The Gazette’s Zac Taylor has the story today about Sunday’s big mountaintop removal protest action, in which activists planted trees on a mine site near Kayford Mountain out in eastern Kanawha County.

Climate Ground Zero reports that there were no arrests, and they explain the reasons for choosing tree-planting as a peaceful protest action:

The standard reclamation practiced by mining companies is inadequate, which involves regrading high walls into gentle, highly-compacted slopes and seeding the rocky soil with grass. Some plant trees but rarely return to tend them–most trees don’t survive long. The extremely diverse mixed mesophytic forests of Central Appalachia, which rely upon folded land that creates lots of micro-climates, cannot regrow on reclaimed surface mines. Native plants like ginseng require the steep north-facing slopes of Appalachia that retain moisture, and will never grow on the gentle slopes of a reclaimed strip mine.