FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 3, 2008
SIERRA CLUB ENDORSES JESSE JOHNSON FOR WV GOVERNOR
Conservation Group Highlights Opposition to Mountaintop Removal, Praises Work to Protect West Virginia's Environment
"We are very pleased to announce today that the Sierra Club WV Chapter endorses Jesse Johnson for West Virginia Governor," said Political Chair Regina Hendrix. "As the only gubernatorial candidate working for a statewide ban on mountaintop removal, we believe his candidacy will give West Virginians a chance to vote for a governor who is dedicated to helping West Virginia's workers by promoting renewable energy and keeping our state clean."
"Johnson showed how seriously he takes this issue by speaking to tens of thousands of people nationwide during the last year about the harsh realities of mountaintop removal. His plan for the economy proposes tax breaks and incentives for businesses using renewable energy technology and he has urged that citizens be given a dividend from taxes generated from non-renewables such as coal and natural gas. Unfortunately, Governor Manchin's support of mountaintop removal has kept West Virginia from moving towards a clean energy future that would benefit the economy and the environment."
Mountaintop removal mining is a destructive form of coal mining that has already buried more than 1,200 miles of streams and threatens to destroy 1.4 million acres of land by 2020. The mining poisons drinking water, lays waste to wildlife habitat, increases the risk of flooding and wipes out entire communities.
"Johnson shares many of the conservation principles that the WV Sierra Club stands for," said WV Conservation Chair Jim Sconyers. "He understands the energy crisis, the need to transition from coal to renewable energy, and the looming threat of global - and local - climate change. And he is dead set against taking away West Virginia citizens' land for the sake of building huge power lines that do not benefit West Virginia in any way."
"The Sierra Club also praises Johnson's opposition to proposed new electric transmission lines," said Jim Kotcon, Chair of the WV Sierra Club's Energy Committee. "These lines would allow private, out-of-state electric companies to take private property from West Virginia citizens primarily so those companies can make exorbitant profits by gouging local electric ratepayers. Unfortunately Governor Manchin supports this bad deal for West Virginia. Is that what Manchin means by "Open For Business"? Instead of supporting environmental destruction and higher taxes, Johnson says he will work to derail these lines. That is what West Virginia needs."
Along with the endorsement, the Sierra Club will lend its volunteer strength to Johnson's campaign. We look forward to a victory party for the environment on election night and to many years of Jesse Johnson fighting for the environment as Governor of West Virginia."