The New York Times has an interesting article this morning, Business Lobby Presses Agenda Before ’08 Vote. In it is a discussion of how some business communities are striving to gain favorable Administration action in the coming year, to seek to set in stone favorable regulations prior to the inauguration of a Democratic President. What is impressive, but not surprising, is how every example is, well, pointing to something that could be described as core immoral. Increase truck driver hours and cause more accidents? Restricting rules on the Family Medical Leave Act and further tear at the fabric of family relations? And, well, lots of paths for greater pollution including Mountain Top Removal.
As some might recall, over at Daily Kos and elsewhere, there was a blogosphere push to bring attention to Mountain Top Removal and a Congressional bill that would, basically, stop it in its tracks. This article highlights how the coal industry is seeking fast Administration action that would open the tracks to an even more aggressive War against the Appalachians.
Business groups generally argue that federal regulations are onerous and needlessly add costs that are passed on to consumers, while their opponents accuse them of trying to whittle down regulations that are vital to safety and quality of life. Documents on file at several agencies show that business groups have stepped up lobbying in recent months, as they try to help the Bush administration finish work on rules that have been hotly debated and, in some cases, litigated for years.
“Try to help” …. could we, well, say rush to seek action before good governance can shine the light of day on the process?
At the Interior Department, coal companies are lobbying for a regulation that would allow them to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.
Let us be clear, this is the path for massive destruction of the Applachians. A destruction that is, well, well described as a raping of the region for temporary gain and a lung cancer eating away at Applachia. “Dump rock and dirt” … How about, dramatically (and drastically) change the terrain and ecosystem for, well essentially, forever. (Okay, not forever, as who would know the difference 10s of millions of years from now?) And, a temporary gain in the pockets of the few while contributing to global warming rather than taking a more profitable path of turning the same regions over to renewable power production.
It would be prohibitively expensive to haul away the material, they say, and there are no waste sites in the area. Luke Popovich, a vice president of the National Mining Association, said that a Democratic president was more likely to side with “the greens.”
Prohibitively expensive? This is classic “economy versus the environment” false arguing. “Prohibitively expensive”? For whom? It is clear that, when one considers a real question of “cost to society”, mountain top removal is seriously in the red, the costs are enormous. What is Popovich stating? That to act with any regard to the region and general society will raise costs such that the industry would have to stop mountain top removal. That, the coal industry should be allowed to continue its profiteering at the expense of the rest of US and at the expense of our common future.
A coalition of environmental groups has condemned the proposed rule, saying it would accelerate “the destruction of mountains, forests and streams throughout Appalachia.”
True but what an understatement … what a massive understatement …
Almost Heaven, West Virginia?
Fundamentally, the question is whether generations from now, John Denver’s anthem will still have meaning. There is a real choice as to the future before us:
- Mountaintop removal (MTR) for the temporary profit of a few at long term cost to the many; or
- on the tops of mountain ridges and within valleys for the short (and long) term benefit for few and many.
A question before us: Should the legacy to the future be the transformation of Applachia to a less-fruitful version of the rolling hills of Kansas?
Act … Act now
If you missed them, how can one recommend highly enough the powerful, thoughtful, educated, insightful, eloquent writing of the 30 Days to Save the Mountains series? (See Day 31 for summary discussion.) And, if you take just a little time to read them, how can you not add your name to those calling on Congress to act quickly on HR2169?