Friday, August 10, 2012

10 August 2012 Energy, Arson, and the evil EPA

            “Judge: EPA Exceeded Powers with Coal-Mining Regulations

            “A federal judge has dealt a blow to the Obama administration’s attempts to regulate the controversial practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ruled the Environmental Protection Agency had exceeded its powers and infringed on the authority of state regulators when it strengthened guidelines for the industry’s practice of dumping mining waste into Appalachian waterways. The decision came after a coal mining industry coalition, along with West Virginia and Kentucky, sued the EPA.”

Cassi Creek:  The photos being sent to JPL from Mars Curiosity lander are routinely described as appearing to be from the Mohave Desert.  They show rocks, sand, and moderately featureless terrain.  From orbit, photographs and radar maps show a barren landscape with mountains far higher than any on Earth, and what appear to be ancient watersheds filled in with rubble washed downstream by floods that dried up before humans’ ancestors thought about leaving the primordial ooze. 
          NASA spent billions of dollars to place Curiosity on this carefully selected landing site, executing a flawless landing that took place beyond any hope of human intervention in the event of a glitch.  Given the cost of the mission and the appearance of the landing zone, I’m quite certain that the conspiracy theorists have already polished up their lists that “prove the Curiosity Mission is a fake like the Moon landings.” 
          Truth be told, if NASA wanted to fake the landing they wouldn’t need to use the Mohave.  A believable landscape could be taped or photographed today in the coal mining regions of the Appalachians.  I’ve seen sites where mountaintops were simply blown and scraped off the face of the planet to reach coal seams below.  I’ve seen sites that were supposedly “reclaimed” by the mining companies.  They make the Mars photos look like a luxurious resort. 
          The conspiracy is not an attempt to go to the moon or to land a lab on Mars.  Those tasks are completed and completed quite well.  The fallacy, complete with conspiracy, is that the mining companies will “reclaim and restore the land that they have destroyed mining coal to sell overseas. 
          That’s right, the coal cars shown in the “clean coal” commercial aren’t headed for U.S. power generation, and they’re headed to China and other nations that burn coal for power without worrying about air pollution. 
          We’re allowing mining companies to destroy our landscapes, fill in and destroy our creeks and rivers, and to destroy our forests and wildlife in the name of greed.  Those companies are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to reclaim the land before closing down operations.  They are required by law to maintain and restore our watersheds.  They are required to comply with restrictions on pollutants they release into our soil, air, and water.  
          Being able to garner fortunes by depleting natural resources is not adequate for U.S. mining companies.   They want to operate at a safety and environmental level comparable to the pre-Civil War restrictions upon miners – none.  They see no problem raping the land and poisoning their employees in the name of the great god, “Profits.”
          The mining and power industry has its hands deeply in the campaign chests of local Tennessee legislators who are willing to allow them to level the state of Tennessee from east to west.   Those legislators repeat the GOP/teavangelist mantra, “greed is good” as they promise to block and destroy the EPA at the behest of the mine owners.  In their greed-blackened hearts, they have confused teavangelism and the GOP’s former understanding of the meaning of “conservative.”  Now they have no interest in protecting the land or conserving our resources.  Somewhere along the way these politician lost their way, and with it, the state and people of Tennessee stand to lose a place of great beauty, opportunities to hunt and fish for prized large game and wild trout, and the Great Smokey Mountains before they are killed by air pollutants. 
          So, in the depths of the teavangelist dungeons, where campaign lies are spun and broadcast from pillar to pulpit, the EPA is being attacked for trying to protect what environment we have left to protect.  As it seems will always happen now, the hunters and anglers will listen to the lies told by the teavangelists and will vote against their own best interests.  They will vote for the people who want to destroy the EPA.  In doing so, they’ll be voting to destroy their home, their favorite recreation, and in many cases, even their job.  Not only will the people who lie about “clean coal” ship coal to China, they’ll ship the mining jobs there as well.  

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