Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 100: Take Action on Mountaintop Removal Mining

Today I've declared to be Day 100 of this blog, and this is the day that I begin to take broader actions. Of course, I'll still regale you, our dear readers, with tales of homemade this-or-that. But today, I will also begin the more difficult and time-consuming task of TAWTPMO: taking action when things piss me off.

First up, mountaintop removal coal mining.

This is a horrible practice in which mountains are blown up, the coal extracted, then the mountain pieces are put back into a mound, and covered over with grass and baby trees.

mountaintop removal

The valleys in between the mountains are filled with the earth that used to be the top of the mountain. Filling the valleys destroys the streams that flow(ed) through them. The birds and animals that lived on the mountain and near the streams are dead. The scenery and vistas are ruined (Coal mining execs tout these new flat lands as better because they solve the "lack of flat space" problem in the mountains, can you believe that?) The water and air of the people who live in the towns nearby are poisoned. Giant coal ash pits are created to hold the waste sludge. These pits leak frequently and cause injury, death, and mar the landscape.

North Carolina and Georgia are the largest consuming state for coal mined in this way. Each time I turn the lights on in my house, I'm benefiting from this mountaintop removal mining. The coal comes from poorer states, WV and KY, and is brought here to be burned.

This has to stop.

Today I used the interactive tool on Follow the Coal Money to find out who in my district is taking dirty coal money. I was especially interested to learn that Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has taken over $300,000 in contributions since 1999 from coal industry (the vast majority of these dollars coming from companies that do mountaintop removal or who do business with mountaintop removal companies), including over $108,000 this year alone. He's the 3rd highest paid Senator by the coal industry.

I sent a sharply worded email, asking basically, WTF. Coal is bad enough, but Mountaintop Removal Mining? Come on! This is some medieval stuff.

Then I sent emails to my Congressional Rep (Howard Coble) asking for him to support the Clean Water Protection Act.

You can get started by going to iLoveMountains.Org and reading about the issues, then clicking "Write to Congress" to tell them what you think.

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