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Let’s say you are CEO of a coal corporation, and you want to get at the black gold deep inside the beautiful, verdant mountains of Appalachia. You have a choice.
You could use industrial ingenuity and environmental finesse to extract the coal. But, hey, why not just demolish the entire top third of those mountains with explosives, bulldoze the resulting rubble down the mountainsides into the streams below, then simply scoop out the coal? Yes, it’s brutish and nasty, but, wow, so much more profitable for your corporation! What’s a CEO to do?
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Of course, the coal barons have chosen what’s euphemistically known as “mountaintop removal.” This is why America has regulatory agencies – to restrain such greedheaded destruction. So… Where are the restrainers? Rushing to legalize the sledgehammering of Appalachia.
The Bush administration, at the behest of coal corporations that were generous financial backers of George W, have delivered a new rule to “clarify” a 25-year-old ban on dumping mountaintop rubble into valley streams. This clarification is a shameful semantic sham, declaring that the coal giants “must not” dump their spoil into Appalachia’s pristine waters unless the corporations say they must – and even then the profiteers should try to minimalize the destruction “to the extent practicable.”
This regulatory cave in was announced by the head of Bush’s council on environmental quality. Guess who he is? Bingo, if you said he’s a former lobbyist for the coal barons! Why are we not surprised? The new rule will take effect only three weeks before Bush & Company leave office – a priceless departing gift to brutish decapitators of Appalachia.
You have to see this environmental grotesquerie to comprehend it. To see photos – and to help overturn Bush’s giveaway – go to Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition’s website at www.ohvec.org.
“Rule Would Ease Mining Debris Disposal,” The Washington Post, December 3, 2008.
“Coal Mining Debris Rule I Approved,” The New York Times, December 3, 2008.