Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Strip Mining and Hiking

Jeff Biggers has a 'commentary' piece on the website of American Public Media's "Marketplace" dated 27 August 2007.

In the piece, which is a reaction to the Bush administration's plan to remove West Virginia mountaintops to look for more coal to burn, he writes:
"In the summer of 1983, I first hiked along the famed Appalachian Trail and worked on mountain farms. Then, I was taken into the West Virginia coal fields and saw something else.

"In one depressed coal-mining community after another, strip mining had devastated the ridges. Twenty-five years later, the most extreme form of strip mining, mountaintop removal, has become an economic boondoggle for Appalachia."
And yet, the current Republican administration in Washington wants to expand that sort of resource extraction.
"The dull haze of coal pollution has slashed visibility along the Appalachian Trail, and as far as the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. ... Strip mining has left behind a new Appalachian Trail of destruction. If mountaintop removal becomes the poster image of tourism, Appalachia's economy and its ridges will one day look like the dusty prairies of Crawford, Texas."
Ahh, maybe that's the idea.

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