a newspaper man adjusts his pen

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.


Mike Jones said...

If you want to see for yourself the damage done by strip-mining, go to www.google.com and type in Madison, WV. Click on the map, zoom out out once or twice and then click on Satellite at the top right. Those gray splotches to the east and west of Madison, W.Va., are strip mines.

Zoom in closer to see the horrible damage they do to West Virginia's beautiful mountains. That's strip-mining, baby!

Brant said...

In an AP story a few months ago regarding our reliance on fossil fuels, an environment expert expressed dismay that in this day and age, we are still "burning rocks" for fuel. I also can't believe that with all the brilliant scientists in this country and around the world, and in the year 2008, we can't come up with clean, much more efficient fuel with which to heat our homes and power our vehicles. Or maybe there are powerful forces that don't want that to happen. No, that's just crazy talk.

Scott Beveridge said...

Kennedy said much the same.