Ashley Judd, no stranger to the topic of mountaintop removal, took her campaign to end the scarring practice to Washington, D.C., yesterday.
The actress was the keynote speaker at the National Press Club luncheon. Her appearance arranged by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a group that has partnered with Judd on the issue.
By all accounts, the 42-year-old made quite the impression — with one NRDC blogger calling her a "vision in white". But once inside the room, Judd was all business and quickly set the stage with a speech denouncing the strip-mining practice and urging that more attention be paid to its impact on people living in and around the devastation.
"I am here to tell you, mountaintop removal coal mining simply would not happen in any other mountain range in the United States," Judd said. "It is utterly inconceivable that the Smokies would be blasted, the Rockies razed, the Sierra Nevadas flattened, that bombs the equivalent to Hiroshima would be detonated every single week for three decades. The fact that the Appalachians are the Appalachians makes this environmental genocide possible and permissible."
Judd also made a point regarding tourism — and how with every shovel scrapping the earth, states practicing mountaintop removal are losing valuable future revenue.
"The Smokey Mountains, as the crow flies, not so far away, generated a billion dollars in tourism revenue last year for the state of Kentucky," she said. "Using shovels the size of buildings, the essential ingredients of deep time is pushed into the lauded and mythical hollers of Appalachia, indiscriminately burying all that is produced and lives there: watershed, perennial and permanent streams, all plant and wildlife, contaminating the ground water in the process."
At the end, the actress urged members of the press to learn more on the issue and do their part to help end the devastating practice. Check out the video of her full speech below: