Thursday, August 30, 2007

Save the Appalachians

Don't let the Bush Administration remove any more Appalachian mountaintops!

I got one of those action emails today from Friends of the Earth with this awful message:

Late last Friday the Bush administration issued a proposed new rule for coal mining that not only sanctions the most ecologically unsound form of coal mining, but may also be adopted with disregard to public comments solicited under law.

According to The New York Times, the rule "will be subject to a 60-day comment period and could be revised, although officials indicated that it was not likely to be changed substantially."

Mountaintop-removal mining literally blasts the top off mountains. It is devastating to mountain communities, uprooting families, filling streams with poison, and turning pristine mountain territory into rubble. With this rule, mountaintop-removal mining will proliferate, when it should be banned by law. That means we must fight the rule on the merits, but before we do that we must ensure that the process for adopting the proposed rule is not a sham.

Someone else pointed me in the direction of an organization called Appalachian Voices, in Boone, NC, which is fighting mountaintop removal. The picture at the top is the banner on their website.

Mom and Dad lived in Mountain City, TN, across the state line from Boone while I was in graduate school in Chapel Hill, NC, so I drove through it numerous times. They moved there while I was still in college in Ohio, so I drove (with a voice major, Frank Coffee from Boone) through the Appalachians of Kentucky and West Virginia when we came home for vacations. They were of course ravaged then by coal mines, and the miners had dreadful lives. But now their mountains are disappearing one by one and the streams are getting clogged with the debris. I remember the mountains as lovely in the spring, full of wild mountain laurel and rhododendron. This is our national heritage, a treasure we don't want to loose because of short-sighted vicious government decisions. We don't need coal. We need more renewables, like solar and wind (and not more TVA dams, either!)

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