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Coal industry flack says mountaintop removal solves ˜lack of flat space in Appalachia

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"Coal industry flack says mountaintop removal solves ˜lack of flat space in Appalachia"

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You can’t make this stuff up — and you can’t keep up with the staggering amount of fraud and falsehood coming out of industry.  Brad Johnson reports on one of the most outrageous coal-industry statements made in recent years.  ACCCE’s Joe Lucas has just jumped to the front of the race for “Greenwasher of the Year.”

The coal industry front group embroiled in an Astroturf scandal is now arguing that mountaintop removal coal mining helps communities “hampered because of a lack of flat space.” Joe Lucas, vice president of communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), told the Guardian that dynamiting the tops off of mountains “” far from being the “rape of Appalachia” “” is actually a boon to rural communities:

I can take you to places in eastern Kentucky where community services were hampered because of a lack of flat space “” to build factories, to build hospitals, even to build schools. In many places, mountain-top mining, if done responsibly, allows for land to be developed for community space.

The concept of “responsible” mountain-top mining is laughable, as Mountain Justice explains:

Traditional mining communities disappear as jobs diminish and residents are driven away by dust, blasting and increased flooding and dangers from overloaded coal trucks careening down small, windy mountain roads. Mining companies buy many of the homes and tear them down. Dynamite is cheaper than people, so mountaintop removal mining does not create many new jobs.

Mountaintop removal generates huge amounts of waste. While the solid waste becomes valley fills, liquid waste is stored in massive, dangerous coal slurry impoundments, often built in the headwaters of a watershed. The slurry is a witch’s brew of water used to wash the coal for market, carcinogenic chemicals used in the washing process and coal fines (small particles) laden with all the compounds found in coal, including toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury. Frequent blackwater spills from these impoundments choke the life out of streams.

ACCCE’s Joe Lucas “” who can’t even admit that coal pollution contributes to global warming “” is giving new meaning to the idea of the Flat Earth Society.

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14 Responses to Coal industry flack says mountaintop removal solves ˜lack of flat space in Appalachia

  1. jorleh says:

    Easily the bottom of human idiocy of course. Evil, but arrogant. And I heard that President Obama lets the flattening go on.

    Perhaps we must study Obamania some more after this kind of events.

  2. Tom says:

    Their “work” is, like almost everything we do as a species, likely to lead to our imminent demise. We keep putting more CO2 in the air KNOWING it will create ever-harder to control problems “down the road”.
    Well that road is coming up on us more quickly than we are aware, and it looks like a DEAD END.

  3. Tyler says:

    Sounds like something you’d read in The Onion. Crazyiness.

  4. “And with global warming, the heating costs for poor people will be less”

  5. Rick Covert says:

    “And with the diseases more able to travel out of the tropical belt and into the temperate one, ours, we can decrease the surplus population.”

  6. Leon Wood says:

    How many of the people protesting MTR actual own property that can be mined. Is this part of the problem jealousy from seeing your neighbor get thousands of dollars for almost worthless mountain side land and while they are getting nothing. One of the best ways to stop mining would be for the individual landowners not to lease to the mine company. Not all mine areas are owned by large land companies or coal companies. Most mines I know in Eastern KY the surface is owned by private people.

  7. Leland Palmer says:

    Digging any more coal out of the ground and putting the carbon from it into the air at this point is just suicidal, IMO.

    On the other hand, the carbon capture and storage technology of “clean coal”, when applied to biomass or biochar fuel, could give us a way to transfer carbon back underground, and could be the key to solving the whole climate crisis.

    We can’t trust industry to do the right thing, I think. It’s cheaper for them to just astroturf the problem, and lie, lie, lie.

    American big business and our financial elites are rotten to the core, and must be overthrown, in one way or another, I think.

    We need to nationalize the coal fired power plants, and forcibly convert them to enhanced efficiency, biomass or biochar fuel, oxyfuel combustion, and deep injection of the resulting CO2. This would transform them into “carbon negative” power plants, and would enable us to put billions of tons of carbon back underground per year.

    Can we trust private industry to lead this transformation?

    It doesn’t look like it, does it?

  8. Jim Bouldin says:

    It’s downright scary how stuff that would easily be recognized as satire by most people, is presented without any such intent by idiots.

  9. Chris Winter says:

    Leon Wood wrote: “How many of the people protesting MTR actual own property that can be mined[?] Is this part of the problem jealousy from seeing your neighbor get thousands of dollars for almost worthless mountain side land and while they are getting nothing[?] One of the best ways to stop mining would be for the individual landowners not to lease to the mine company. Not all mine areas are owned by large land companies or coal companies. Most mines I know in Eastern KY the surface is owned by private people.”

    Documents I found online today say that little of the coal-bearing land is owned by local people. It must be a dilemma for locals who do own land a coal company wants. Do they sell on favorable terms and earn the emnity of their close-knit community, or resist and likely end up losing the land anyway?

    Here are some references:

    http://www.dailyyonder.com/what-happens-when-you-dont-own-land/2009/07/03/2205

    “The study was released in April 1981 and the findings were stark: Of the 13 million acres included in the survey, nearly 75 percent of the surface acres and 80 percent of the minerals were absentee owned. Forty percent of the land and 70 percent of the mineral rights were held by corporations — mostly coal and other energy companies along with some timber interests. One percent of the owners controlled 53 percent of the land.”

    http://www.mountainjusticesummer.org/facts/MJSnewsletter10.pdf (10 page PDF)

  10. Leon Wood says:

    Most of the operations I have seen in 30 years of dealing with mining the majority is surface owned by private individuals. One permit was 1400 acres with approx 80 indiviual private ownership with no land company or coal company as the owner.

  11. Ted Wolf says:

    Joe Lucas’s insane observation actually has roots in the late ’70s, when there were court challenges to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (passed under Jimmy Carter) claiming that the requirement to restore strip-mined land to its approximate original contour represented an unconstitutional “taking” because the hardwood-clad, clear-stream-threaded Appalachians had no other economic use than to be blasted apart for coal seams. Insane then, more insane today — but unfortunately not so new.

    Mountaintop removal was just a gleam in stripminers’ eyes back then, it is a sad, shameful, and horrific legacy of the past 30 years and it should be stopped.

  12. Andrew says:

    I think the coal companies have made an excellent point. There’s precedent for what they’re talking about too. After all, Austria and Switzerland, two other landlocked states, were poor and underdeveloped until they got serious about blasting their mountains into powder, burying their streams and soil beneath hundreds of feet of shattered bedrock and then steamrolling the result into a flat, barren moonscape — the moonscape that today is helping these nations rake in the tourist money. It was the same for Italy, Japan and Norway. See, it’s not about things like investing in human capital or using government to help create the financial and physical infrastructure that encourages entrepreneurship and helps attract talented people. The wealth of nations depends strictly on how flat the nation is. If you tree-hugging pinko liberal hippie communists would just leave the coal companies to it, in a decade or two West Virginia could be completely flattened and the road could be paved to the kind of wealth that West Virginians can only dream of now – of the kind of wealth that they have in flatter, richer places like Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Chad.

  13. Frank says:

    Whether you maintain unpaved roadways, shoulders, trails, helipads, stockpiles, heavy traffic roads, baseball diamonds, or horse arenas, our products can solve your most stubborn dust control problems:

    http://tinyurl.com/kolwwo