Thursday, April 17, 2008
Kennedy's views on mountaintop mining
Think of this the next time you turn on a light: To feed the nation’s demand on coal to make electricity, companies have been strip mining away the tops of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia for three decades.
This, according to environmental attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is damaging the richest forest system “on the face of the earth.”
Kennedy said he recently flew over the mountains to inspect the scope of the mining.
“If the people of American could see what I saw, they would be outraged … that we are cutting down the Appalachian Valley.” Kennedy said, while speaking Wednesday night at California University of Pennsylvania.
The coal operators, who Kennedy has been suing in federal court to stop the practice, have been using 2,500 tons of explosives a day to extract the coal. And, he said, they have buried 1,200 miles of American rivers and streams with rock and earth the size of Delaware.
The mountaintops, he said, were the only things that were not covered by glaciers during the Ice Age 11,000 years ago. Their trees managed to reseed the barren landscape after the glaciers retreated.
Click here to view some photos.