Friday, April 8, 2011

Will GOP Shut Down Government Over Mountaintop Removal Mining?

We already knew Republicans might be willing to shut down the government to de-fund family planning & block enforcement of the Clean Air Act. But in a surprise turn, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) now says it looks like the GOP might be willing to furlough nearly a million federal workers to keep blowing up mountains:
"Curiously enough, mountaintop mining was put on the table late in the game. Who knew that was going to lead to the shutdown of the federal government?" Conrad said on CNN.
The move comes on the same week that over 150 citizens with the Alliance for Appalachia converged on Capitol Hill for the Week in Washington to end mountaintop removal:
Mountaintop removal mining relies on heavy explosives to blast off several hundred feet of mountain to expose coal seams, and has impacted over 500 mountains in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee to date. According to the EPA, the practice has also buried or destroyed more than 2,000 miles of streams in those states.

Residents who live in proximity to mountaintop removal mine sites complain of orange and black tap water flowing from their faucets, breathing in coal dust floating in the air outside their homes and higher-than-normal cancer rates.

“If we are serious about moving America toward a clean energy future, banning mountaintop removal must be the first step,” says Jane Branham of the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards. “For our economy, for our health, and for our heritage—we need this administration and this Congress to act.”
Watch my interview with Matt Wasson of Appalachian Voices:

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