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Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

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  • Posted March 21, 2010

    Disturbing - Because it's supposed to be

    This is not an easy book to look through, or read, not when you realize that an entire people, an entire culture, an entire way of life, is being systematically and deliberately destroyed in the name of quick corporate profit - and that it is happening in the United States of America, in collusion with the regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect our land, air and water for future generations.

    I am not a rabid environmentalist - I do not condone blowing up draglines or lying down on haul roads to block coal trucks - but Plundering Appalachia hammers home the point in a brutally direct fashion that an entire region of our country is being turned into a National Energy Sacrifice Zone. It's cheaper and quicker to get at the coal by blasting off the tops of the oldest mountains on the continent and shoving them into the adjacent valleys ... never mind that the coal companies are violating almost every state and federal environmental law on the books with mountaintop removal coal mining (and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection openly admits that if it refused to renew mining permits for coal companies that had outstanding pollution violations, NO mining would take place at all, so it keeps doing it!).

    The cost of this "cheap energy" to the people who live in Appalachia is horrific - orange water in their creeks, black water coming out of their bathroom faucets; toxic dust inside and outside their houses; blasts from the mines so strong they crack foundations; shortened life spans; tremendous floods where none ever occurred before because the mountaintop removal mining strips bare all the vegetation; entire valleys and towns that are slowly consumed by the relentless march of the draglines and the bulldozers ... the list goes on. Think of it this way - every time you flick on a light switch, another mountain in West Virginia gets blown up.

    Yes, America needs electricity to maintain its standard of living. But after reading Plundering Appalachia, any rational person should think the cost of getting it through mountaintop removal mining is too high.

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