With the time for public comment on the Bush administration's efforts to expand mountaintop removal and weaken existing laws getting short, has your presidential candidate made any public comment on this issue?
Bill Richardson has.
The Administration's decision to streamline mountaintop mining isn't good for anyone. Instead it's a gift to the industry that has been most loyal to the GOP at the expense of mine workers and the environment. What this nation needs is a 21st century energy policy that will reduce the pressure to dig up and burn every last ounce of coal, no matter how dangerous or how destructive. Coal can fit into this picture with new technologies, but the Administration is hanging onto the last scraps of a failed energy policy as long as it can.
In the West, and in Appalachia, people are fighting to protect their communities, their jobs, and the environment in the face of this rapacious policy. Jim Webb said it best before he was elected senator to the coal state of Virginia: 'The ever-hungry industrialists (realized) that (Appalachia) sat atop one huge vein of coal. And so the rape began. The people from the outside showed up with complicated contracts... Soon the (local folks) were treated to a sundering of their own land... The Man got his coal, and the profits it brought when he shipped it out. (The local people) got their wages, black lung, and the desecration of their land.'" (From Born Fighting, Jim Webb, 2004).
How many more miners must die, and how many more landscapes must be ruined, before we recognize that this is an industry whose owners and operators are out of control? The Bush Administration should protect people and the environment, not sacrifice them for a few special interests who contribute heavily to the Republican Party.
If you want to put the brakes on this industry out of control, call your representative and ask them to support the Clean Water Protection Act. The act already has 107 cosponsors, but we need more to get it out of committee and up for vote. Check the list to see if your representative is already on board. If so, thank them and let them know this issue is important to you. If not, it's even more important that you contact them and tell them to sign on.
If you've already contacted your own congressperson, here are a few more you might consider calling today. Dingell's been so keen on obeying the auto industry at the cost of the environment, the least he can do is put his name on this bill. And Russ Carnahan doesn't have a miner in his district -- but he does have the headquarters of three major mining companies. Make him prove he values ordinary citizens over CEOs.
Oh, yeah, and check after the break for the growing list of kossacks who have put made the effort to contact a representative on this issue. Thanks.
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