A Call To Action

November 2, 2008 at 10:40 am (Politics) (, , , , , , , , )

Dear America:

As our election looms, I turn my eye toward the future. A future, regardless of who is elected, that will  encourage and fund Green Energy.

Before that time, I ask for your help in preserving what is left of the natural beauty of the Appalachians. I ask that you help in perserving clean streams and rivers by writing to Congress, the EPA, and the Federal Office of Surface Mining as the “Stream Buffer Zone” rule is under attack. The “Stream Buffer Zone” rule has been in effect since 1983 and was meant to protect the nation’s headwater streams from being buried by valley fills from moutaintop removal and radical strip mining.

The Bush Administration and The Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement have proposed a bill to seriously weaken this stream protection. If they are successful, it would be extremely difficult for either Senator Obama or Senator McCain to roll it back when either becomes President.

I am 100% opposed to Mountaintop Removal. It destroys the natural beauty of my state and surrounding states. It destroys the environment. The list of environmental impacts is staggering. Yet, the coal companies, through powerful lobbyists, have been able to continue and still cry about regulations.

I love West Virginia. I understand how important coal is to many, many communities, but coal is on its way out! The Appalachians reached peak coal production years ago. The U.S. will reach peak coal production in 2025. That’s not really far away. Many of the mountains in West Virginia are tall enough that there is constant wind. Even rural communities are savvy to the fact they can put wind farms on those mountains. All their asking is – take the coal from under the mountain but the leave the mountain so that we can have our wind farms. Clean, renewable energy, energy for our future, jobs for our youth, a clean environment.

The coal companies use scare tactics to push their agendas. People get scared when the coal companies threaten to move out, that its too expensive to mine underground, that there’s more death from black lung. There’s more death from black lung because MSHA has loosened the dust regulations because of Big Coal Companies who don’t want to follow regulations to ensure the health and safety of our miners!

When they take our mountaintops, they take our future. Mountaintops cannot be regrown. They are gone FOREVER. Then they push the remainders into the valleys to pollute the streams. When it rains, there’s no vegetation to quell the runoff, so the flooding is worse. It goes on and on.

Greed normally has a silent face, but in West Virginia, it is very visible.

Active and reclaimed mine sites in Mingo and Logan Counties, WV. Photo by Katherine Chandler.

Reclamation? There is no reclamation. The land will no longer support native vegetation. It becomes an entirely different landscape. Again, you cannot regrow a mountain. You cannot put it back. It will never be the same again.

Please go to ilovemountains.org and send a letter. Write to Congress. Write to Senator’s Obama and McCain. Write to the EPA. Please let your voice be heard. When we invest in keeping our mountains, we invest in keeping our environment clean, in the future of Green Energy, and in the natural beauty of our lands. They have some great videos at I Love Mountains. Please watch them, especially the one about Blair Mountain.

Thank you.

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