Mountain-top removal (MTR) is a travesty, a crime on current and future generations in the interest of near-term profits. Even within the context of mining coal, MTR isn’t just a way to get the miner out of the mine but miners out of the coal industry as blowing up the mountains and devastating the environment requires fewer workers per ton of coal than actual mining.
The Bush-Cheney Administration declared war on Appalachia, with just a few word changes to definitions as to “fill”, allowing much more aggressive MTR operations with far less oversight. Valley after valley, stream after stream has been devastated over the last decade.
Sadly, this hasn’t ended.
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The Obama Administration has sent quite mixed signals on MTR, stating that it would abide by science; slowing, constraining, and even stopping many MTR sites. On the other hand, the science is quite clear on MTRs devastation and the absolute failure (”0 of 37,000″) of remediation projects to restore anything reasonably resembling the preexisting environmental conditions. In the face of the the science and the failure of remediation projects, the Obama Adminstration has not taken the logical (and legally required step) of stopping MTR and its devastating impacts on Appalachia (and all down-stream areas).
Appalachia Rising has come to Washington, DC, to bring some attention to the devastation that our failed energy policies are causing for our fellow citizens. Sadly, outside the Beltway bubble, the real lives of Appalachia’s residents seem meriting little attention in the face of media-overhyping of the astroturf funded Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Ask yourself, just how many front-page stories have you ever seen on America’s War on Appalachia in your local newspaper?
“The science is clear, mountaintop removal destroys historic mountain ranges, poisons water supplies and pollutes the air with coal and rock dust,” said renowned climate scientist James Hansen, who was arrested in today’s protest at the White House. “Mountaintop removal, providing only a small fraction of our energy, can and should be abolished. The time for half measures and caving in to polluting industries must end.”
Thousands of people marched on DC, coordinated by Appalachia Rising, to try to make their voices heard over the din of coal industry advertising and horse-race watching reporting on the latest political shenanigans (rather than on substantive issues like Senate Republican candidates utter rejection of science).
“I have talked, begged, debated, written letters to officials, published op-ed pieces in newspapers and lobbied on the state and federal level to end mountaintop removal,” said Mickey McCoy, former mayor and lifelong resident of Inez, Kentucky. “Being arrested? That’s such a small price to pay for being heard. My home and people are paying the real price for mountaintop removal. They are dying.”
The lastest reporting is that there are over 100 protesters already arrested, including perhaps Mickey McCoy.
We need to ask ourselves who and what is right.
- Those blasting mountains out of existence and killing (yes, killing) people with “externalities” (pollution) are earning record profits.
- Those calling attention to these crimes are getting arrested.
Who represent your interests and principles?
UPDATE / PS: I do not know the exact reasons for the arrests. Here is the item from Jeff Biggers:
Over one hundred protesters from the Appalachian coalfields were arrested in front of the White House today, defiantly calling on the Obama administration to abolish mountaintop removal mining. As part of the Appalachia Rising events, the coalfield residents took part in a multi-day series of events to bring the escalating human rights, environmental and health care crisis to the nation’s capitol.
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth leaders Teri Blanton and Mickey McCoy, the first arrested in today’s nonviolent act of civil disobedience, were joined by allies from around the country, including NASA climatologist James Hansen. Meanwhile, protesters led by the legendary Rev. Billy Talen staged a nearby sit-in at the office of the PNC bank, which remains one of the last major financiers of coal companies engaged in this extreme form of strip-mining in Appalachia.
In a stark reminder of the national connection to the coalfields, the Obama administration officials looked on from their White House offices, as their electricity came from a coal-fired plant generated partly with coal stripmined from Appalachia.
From AP Reporting
The protesters were arrested Monday after refusing orders from U.S. Park Police to leave the sidewalk outside the White House.
In John Prine’s words … Paradise
Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.
And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away