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In the world according to Zach Wamp, it's good for the environment--and particularly for birds, it seems--for coal companies to blow the tops off our mountains. Asked at today's GOP debate why a bill banning
the devastating mining method known as mountaintop removal keeps failing in the legislature, Wamp gave this incredible response:
"The way it's done today is very responsible. We need an all-of-the-above energy strategy in our country, and we need all the economic opportunities that we can bring to our state. This is done in a responsible way. I sat around a campfire in Campbell County with all the experts--biologists, geologists, fish and wildlife--and it's actually good for the birds, and good for the environment, good for our natural environment in this state to actually mine coal in a responsible way. It's not a bad thing. It's a good thing. We need the energy."
In his answer, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey suggested the lights would go out in Tennessee if we made mountaintop removal illegal:
"Nobody wants their mountaintops removed in the state of Tennessee. But it's a highly regulated industry as it is right now. So we need to make sure we keep that proper balance, to make sure that, when we turn that light switch on, the lights come on, yet at the same time we are protecting our environment. I think we're doing a pretty good of that in the state of Tennessee."
Update: Erik Schelzig's report.