Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dead on Arrival: Legislators Refuse to Ban Mountaintop Removal Mining Again

Posted by on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 12:12 PM

click to enlarge What's left of Tennessee's Zeb Mountain.
  • What's left of Tennessee's Zeb Mountain.
Environmentalists accepted the inevitable today and conceded defeat in their fight for a law banning coal companies from blowing up Tennessee's mountains. In defiance of commonsense, the inaptly named House environment subcommittee was about to kill the bill when its sponsor, Rep. Bill Dunn, decided to withdraw it instead. It's the second straight year the bill has failed. "Moses wandered around for 40 years," Dunn said afterward, trying to sound optimistic. "Two years is not much in biblical terms." The subcommittee, which is stacked with some of the House's worst anti-environmentalists, was given a 30-minute presentation on the horrors of mountaintop removal mining. Rep. Frank Niceley leaned back in his chair with his eyes shut, apparently taking a little catnap. Rep. Joe McCord went outside to smoke. "Two thousand years from now from a satellite, you'll be able to tell whether this bill has passed," Dawn Coppock of the LEAF environmental group told the subcommittee. "The people you represent are praying that you will stand up for our mountains." Luckily, the Obama White House is thinking about banning this environmentally devastating mining method, and Sen. Lamar Alexander is sponsoring a bill to do the same. Update: LEAF's Dawn Coppock says in a statement, "LEAF continues to have faith in God that our state leaders will protect our mountains by choosing a direction other than our neighboring states, which have been devastated by mountaintop removal mining."

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