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Obama on the Mountaintops

Yesterday, flying down to New Orleans, I had the chance to cross the Appalachians, and see their bright red autumn leaves from up above. I also was able to see something less beautiful – the scars that result from mountaintop removal coal mining.

This autumn, the Bush Administration is changing federal rules to make it easier for coal mining companies to dump the waste from their destruction of mountains into streams and rivers. With this form of dumping, heavy metals from the waste easily make their way into water supplies used by human beings for drinking and washing.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama opposed mountaintop removal coal mining to some extent. McCain spoke about how the mining “irreversibly alters our natural treasures”. Barack Obama, however, merely expressed concern about the practice, and doesn’t seem interested in banning the removal of America’s mountains for the sake of coal.

This is one area where we need to be wary about our next President. Barack Obama has been rather friendly toward Big Coal, embracing the idea of so-called “clean coal technologies”. We need to work to remind President-Elect Obama that, with coal coming either from underground mines where large numbers of workers are crippled or perish, or from the complete annihilation of entire mountains, there is no such thing as clean coal.

3 comments to Obama on the Mountaintops

  • tom

    Obama’s got so much on his plate to correct and re-align that i’m sure environmental concerns, much as i’d like them to be a high priority, probably aren’t. It may take years or even a second term to address many of our more progressive items. Let’s get our economy working and stave off all these foreclosures, get out of the stupid, senseless wars which also drag us further in to debt, get affordable (like a single payer/Canadian style) health care plan on the table, address our infrastructure needs, and start paying down the debt for starters, but keep the requests coming in to the White House because, unlike Bush, i believe Obama actually will LISTEN to us.

    Just a thought.

  • Well it means we can still burn coal and we have a nearly unlimited supply as we develop new technologies in the future and we can burn it without over polluting the atmosphere of the planet and therefore there is no reason to be overly alarmed about the US emissions coming from our power plants. We simply switch to clean coal burning technologies and add these features to the current power plants that we already have.

  • Gee, Robot – do we have an unlimited supply of mountains? Is it clean for us to destroy entire mountains and dump slag to fill surrounding rivers? By what definition of clean does that make coal into clean coal?

    What new technologies are you going to create to make this problem more clean? Are you going to develop artificial mountains and rivers to replace the old ones?

    You’re from the genius squad of LincEnergy. What’s your answer to that?

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