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Please see below and attached.  Both Dr. Wasson and Ann League will be
available for in-person interviews as of the 16th and can be reached by
phone prior to those dates.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


 *Contacts:*

Jason Fults

Gainesville Loves Mountains

352-610-1090

*[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>*

*www.gainesvillelovesmountains.wordpress.com
<http://www.gainesvillelovesmountains.wordpress.com/>*


Commissioner Lauren Poe

Gainesville City Commission

352-334-5015

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*Appalachian Emissaries Visit Gainesville on Eve of Mountaintop Removal
Vote *


 Gainesville, FL—September 16-18, 2014—Gainesville Loves Mountains'
multi-year campaign to permanently end Gainesville Regional Utilities'
(GRU) use of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal is finally coming to a head.


 During the September 18th evening meeting of the Gainesville City
Commission, Commissioners will vote on a coal policy for GRU that seeks to
exclude coal mined using MTR. In April, the Commission voted unanimously in
condemnation of MTR and five of seven Commissioners asked GRU and the City
Attorney to draft the policy recommended by Commissioner Lauren Poe.


 On the eve of this month's vote, two Appalachian anti-MTR activists will
visit Gainesville to speak to Commissioners, GRU, and the public on this
topic. Dr. Matt Wasson has worked with the organization Appalachian Voices
since 2001 and has studied all aspects of the “coal cycle” — from mining,
transportation and combustion of coal to the disposal of power plant waste.
A nationally recognized authority on MTR coal mining and coal economics,
Dr. Wasson has testified before Congress, appears frequently on expert
panels, and is a contributor to high-profile media outlets
including Huffington Post, Grist, and Daily Kos. Dr. Wasson will be
accompanied by Ann League, Tennessee Campaign Coordinator for Appalachian
Voices. Ms. League became involved in the campaign to end MTR mining when
the 2,200-acre Zeb Mountain mine was permitted near her home in Campbell
County, TN.


 “We've spoken with hundreds of citizens on this issue, and have gathered
more than 1,500 petition signatures on this topic. We've also heard from
our friends in Appalachia for years now that this practice, perpetuated by
coal purchasers like GRU, is depriving them of even basic necessities such
as clean drinking water. It's past time for Gainesville to end its
relationship with mountaintop removal coal mining, and Commissioner Poe's
proposed policy gets us there without negatively affecting GRU ratepayers”
said Jason Fults, co-founder of Gainesville Loves Mountains.


 Dr Wasson commended the Gainesville community for being so
forward-thinking on this issue: “Mountaintop removal coal mining tears
apart communities, poisons water, pollutes the air and destroys the natural
heritage of Appalachia - and worst of all, it’s completely unnecessary.
Communities like Gainesville that have long been consumers of mountaintop
removal coal have a unique opportunity to help move Appalachia forward
through their fuel purchasing decisions.  We look forward to speaking with
the City Commissioners about how they can protect both electricity
consumers in Gainesville and communities in Appalachia that live with the
devastating consequences of mountaintop removal.”


 In order for Poe's motion to be successful, he'll need the support of at
least three other Commissioners. According to Commissioner Poe, “GRU's
overall coal consumption has been falling significantly in recent months,
and we've already begun the transition away from Appalachian mountaintop
removal coal. I think we have a proposed solution to this issue that
addresses everyone's concerns, from the social and environmental
implications of our fuel choices to the impact of those choices on our
customers' utility rates.”


 *Gainesville Loves Mountains is committed to minimizing the impacts of
coal consumption and extraction on Appalachia. In addition to our work to
end mountaintop removal, GLM is currently pursuing local policies that will
help our community achieve significant energy savings while also
strengthening our economy.*


 *Mountaintop removal (MTR) is a highly destructive form of coal mining
that removes hundreds of vertical feet of a mountain using **heavy
explosives in order to access the thin seams of coal underneath. MTR has a
devastating impact on the economy, ecology, and communities of Appalachia.
To date, more than 500 mountains have been leveled, and nearly 2,000 miles
of precious Appalachian headwater streams have been buried and polluted by
MTR. To learn more about MTR, visit: **http://ilovemountains.org/
<http://ilovemountains.org/>**. *

*###*

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