Populist movements don't build themselves ...

... It doesn't matter what the "horse race" outcome of the campaign is, if we fight the campaign. Fighting it, we learn how to fight. Learning how to fight political battles, we become citizens again. Becoming citizens again, we reclaim the Republic that lies dormant beneath the bread and circuses of modern American society.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dear Senator Voinovich, support the end of Mountain Top Removal mining.

My letter to Senator Voinovich regarding the Appalachia Restoration Act, now in committee (h/t Devilstower at the Daily Kos):

Dear Senator Voinovich,

I am writing to express my support of the Appalachia Restoration Act.

As I am sure that you are aware, both subsurface and surface coal mines in Ohio suffer from unfair competition with mountain-top removal mining, which fills mountain valleys with waste as they blast as much as 800 feet of rock off the top of Appalachian mountains.

As an economist, I wish to draw you attention to the job impacts of the current unfair competition. Subsurface mining and legitimate surface mining both employ more people per ton than mountain top removal mining does. And in return, the mountain top mining does far more permanent damage to property value and natural resources such as potable water.

So in permitting coal companies to focus on mountain top removal in this period of declining demand for coal, we are encouraging them to layoff people in Southern Ohio now, while at the same time undermining long term economic development in the counties where they are engaged in MTR.

This is a bad deal for all concerned.

So I am asking that you put the jobs of Ohio coal miners first, and support restricting or abolishing the practice of Mountain Top Removal / Valley Fill mining.

Sincerely,

Dr. [BruceMcF] (Economics)


The Appalachia Restoration Act defines MTR fill as subject to the Federal Water Pollution Act. This is critical, because without the freedom to pollute mountain streams, MTR is normally impossible. The Appalachian Restoration Act is now in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, consisting of:

Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA]
Sen. James Inhofe [R-OK]
Sen. Lamar Alexander [R-TN]
Sen. John Barrasso [R-WY]
Sen. Max Baucus [D-MT]
Sen. Christopher Bond [R-MO]
Sen. Benjamin Cardin [D-MD]
Sen. Thomas Carper [D-DE]
Sen. Michael Crapo [R-ID]
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY]
Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-MN]
Sen. Frank Lautenberg [D-NJ]
Sen. Jeff Merkley [D-OR]
Sen. Bernard Sanders [I-VT]
Sen. Arlen Specter [D-PA]
Sen. Tom Udall [D-NM]
Sen. David Vitter [R-LA]
Sen. George Voinovich [R-OH]
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]

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