Joe Lovett and Jim Hecker
On September 26, 2009, Sierra Club was honored to present attorneys, Joe Lovett of the Appalachian Center for the Economy and Environment and Jim Hecker of Public Justice, with the William O. Douglas award, which recognizes those who have made outstanding use of the judicial/legal process to achieve environmental goals. Working together since 1998, Joe Lovett and Jim Hecker are the two leading legal advocates on the front lines of the fight against the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. Among their many notable victories, Lovett and Hecker secured the first injunction blocking a mountaintop removal mine and have since secured injunctions on approximately fifteen individual permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for other mountaintop removal mines.
The two have been invaluable allies in Sierra Club’s campaign to fight mountaintop removal mining and have represented the Club in several legal challenges against the destructive practice. To highlight a couple of monumental wins, Lovett and Hecker worked closely with the Club to bring numerous challenges against the massive Ison Rock Ridge mine in Virginia, which eventually led to the suspension of the permit authorization for the mine. The two also represented the Club in a lawsuit challenging the Thunder Ridge mountaintop removal mine in east Kentucky; that action lead to the Army Corps, in an unprecedented move, temporarily suspending its permit authorization for that mine. Since that time, the Army Corps has issued virtually no new permits allowing mountaintop removal mining in east Kentucky. The tremendous success the Club has achieved in its legal campaign to fight mountaintop removal mining simply would not have been possible without their assistance.