Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mountain Top Mining Revisited

Back in June, I posted a blog about West Virginia mining issues. I still read Julie Zickefoose's blog. As well as her usual birding and Chet Baker features, she brings up the current situation with mountain top mining in West Virginia.

She points to this New York Times article which discusses the measures being put in place by elected officials before their terms are up to keep this type of mining activity going.

We just passed through West Virginia. We saw large signs, "Friend of Coal." Now while I DON"T favor cutting off the tops of mountains and filling stream beds to get needed energy resources, I also wonder what the local population really thinks about these issues. We tend to think of mining corporations raping the land for corporate profits that then line already rich people's pockets. What we don't also remember - mines require laborers. Coal workers are a vital part of West Virginia's economy. Coal mining in underground mines has its dangers to mine workers as well as environmental issues that I certainly am not well educated about. But in an economy that is losing jobs right and left, I can understand a coal miner trying to feed his or her family that is worried about whether his job will survive.

Upon researching Friends of Coal, it appears to be a coal industry group. While I found some interesting and positive information about new things related to the ways that coal can help our energy problems, I also found some other websites with information as well.

Apparently today's realities - due to modern mechanism, it takes fewer workers to mine the much larger amounts of coal today. Of course, mountain top mining takes even less workers than more traditional underground mines.

I would like to live in an ideal world - where mining companies, the workers, and the environmentalists could all be working toward the same goals.

Some of the sites I looked at in addition to Friends of Coal are:


Appalachian Greens Be sure to read down to J Pratt's comment. It represents "the other side" to this issue.

The stream up at the top is a tributary to New River in West Virginia. It is part of the protected New River National Scenic River. West Virginia is a beautiful state. I know that we will need coal as a natural resource, but surely we can find ways to extract coal without ruining the beauty and ecology of a beautiful part of our country.

No comments: