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Appalachian Coal Activist Wants to Inspire Montanans

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PHOTO: Coal activist Janet Keating is speaking at the Northern Plains Resource Council annual meeting.
PHOTO: Coal activist Janet Keating is speaking at the Northern Plains Resource Council annual meeting.
November 9, 2012

BILLINGS, Mont. - A well-known coal activist from Appalachia will share her insights on fighting for public health and economic justice at the annual meeting of the Northern Plains Resource Council tomorrow (Saturday) in Billings.

Janet Keating says West Virginia has paid a high price for years of mountaintop removal mining and other extractive industries. Poverty and poor health are common in the state.

"Timber and coal and gas. That's been our history, and of course, there has not been shared prosperity and I think that's an important thing."

Keating says much of what she has to share can be depressing, but there have also been victories - in court, in boardrooms, and in the hearts and minds of residents.

"After working for more than 20 years, I really have seen the power of organized people. We have won things that you would not believe we could win. That really is the story."

The Northern Plains Resource Council meeting begins today (Friday) focusing on "Precious Water in a Dry Land." Sessions are scheduled on preserving water quality in oil and gas drilling areas, and clean energy development.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT