A few weeks ago, I talked about mountaintop removal mining and how it was raping West Virginia’s mountains. Wired has posted a gallery including some pictures before and after. And of course, now the government has recently announced regulations to allow more mountaintop removal mining and to allow it closer to streams. So, luckily for West Virginia residents, they will be able to have more waste in their water, more flooding, and a state that is starting to resemble a wasteland. At first I thought it odd that an administration that WV voted for twice would turn around and hurt its people, but then I figured W is thinking two things: 1) some of that — whatchamacallit — nature is only good if ya’ll can strip it down and use it to make money, and 2) they didn’t vote for daddy back in ’88 and ’92. If only they hadn’t voted for W in 2000, the election would’ve gone the other way. I guess every choice has consequences.
Posts Tagged ‘mountaintop removal’
Tags: appalachia, bush administration, environmentalism, mining, mountaintop removal, pollution, W, west virginia
Tags: appalachia, big corporations, bush administration, devastation, environmentalism, mining, mountaintop removal, W, west virginia
Poor West Virginia. They have it really bad. Every county in that state has a sign saying “a certified business location”. I always wondered just what the bloody hell that was supposed to mean. They are outright begging people to put a business there. I was amazed to see the unemployment rate is really low, though, at 3.8% (low — by comparison to other states, that is). That’s down from around 7% in 1997. Also, they have a tough time with their public image. I think the rest of the country, when they even remember that this state exists, pretty much considers it to be full of poor, uneducated and inbred mountain-people [see this post re: how I feel about that sentiment]. While passing through WV once, my wife Donna heard this snippet on a radio station:
“WXXX. Giving you permission to bitchslap the next person who calls it Western Virginia.”
They have been doing mountaintop removal mining in WV for years. This type of mining essentially destroys the top of a mountain in order to extract coal quickly and more cheaply. The results are that tons of dirt get deposited in the valleys and harmful byproducts get into the water. In Google Earth/Maps, sometimes it can be hard to tell what you’re looking at in the satellite imagery. If you look at West Virginia, where there should be mountaintops are barren wastelands. Images at ilovemountains.org, an activist group dedicated to ending mountaintop removal mining, seem to confirm that what we are seeing in Google Earth are indeed images of the aftermath of mountaintop removal mining.
To add insult to injury, the Bush Administration is about to issue new regulations to increase the amount of mountaintop removal mining. So more mountains will be raped clean, dumping tons of sediment and the byproducts of the mining process in the valleys. So West Virginia’s best natural resource (beauty) will be destroyed in exchange for its dirtiest (coal). Sure it will give West Virginians jobs, though not as many as conventional coal mining would. And of course, when the coal is gone, and it will be gone eventually, there will be no jobs left anyway. A better option, though not as profitable for big business, would be to offer free training to West Virginians so they can change industries. No solution is easy, but if the Bush administration gets their way, it will leave West Virginia in about the same state as Nauru.