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Thursday, November 19, 2009

MOVING MOUNTAINS WITH BULLDOZERS, NOT FAITH

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Cincinnati CityBeat looks at mountaintop removal, a quick but devastating method of mining coal:

Picking his way through the mountain laurel near his Appalachian home, McKinley Sumner explains that all he ever wanted was a peaceful life on his family’s land where he was born and raised. … The oak forest around him is thick and silent, dappled with autumn sunlight. But the serenity stops abruptly at a cliff on the edge of Sumner’s 63 acres. It’s been six years now since his neighbor sold out to the International Coal Group and the mountaintop removal mining began, but Sumner’s eyes still flash at the sight.

The mountains in front of him have been turned inside out.

Giant bulldozers (“monsters,” Sumner calls them) have shorn away the forest and chiseled the mountaintops into vast, dusty plains that dwarf a handful of 18-wheeler trailers parked antlike on their surface. The mountainsides are strewn with rock and rubble, and sediment ponds in the valleys brim with wastewater. It is a standard scene of mountaintop removal mining in the heart of America’s coal country, but familiarity hasn’t made the sight any more tolerable for Sumner.

“This is a disgrace to the human race and a disgrace to God’s creation,” he says, jabbing a finger at the devastation in front of him. “I’ll never give up fighting mountaintop removal mining. I hope it stops in my lifetime.”

The article mentions the Clean Water Protection Act, a U.S. House bill that has several Ohio co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. When it comes to "God's creation," Republicans can be such moral relativists. — Frank Lewis

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