Strip-Mining and Grassroots Resistance in Appalachia: Community Lawyering for Environmental Justice
LA Journal of Public Interest Law, Vol. 1, No. 2
38 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2009 Last revised: 24 Jun 2014
Environmental justice campaigns have been a dynamic feature of public interest lawyering for over four decades. These community lawyers, sensitive to the democratic imperatives of their grassroots clients, employ a viscous blend of legal and nonlegal strategies to achieve their clients’ aims. This article is the story of an environmental justice campaign, still being waged, in the Appalachian mountains of east Tennessee. The campaign seeks to halt the destructive practice of mountaintop removal strip-mining for coal through the deployment of traditional litigation and more unconventional extrajudicial strategies, both of which are designed to build the voices and power of the groups and communities opposed to mountaintop removal. This case study places this 'local' struggle in the context of emerging new public interest lawyering.
Keywords: environment, environmental justice,public interest law, strip-mining, coal
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