Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Coal Stinks!

The Government Sanctioned Bombing of Appalachia

By Antrim Caskey, AlterNet
Posted on October 9, 2007, Printed on October 9, 2007

On a calm, clear morning in the forested mountains of southern West Virginia, 12-year-old Chrystal Gunnoe played outdoors in the green mountain valley where her family has lived for hundreds of years. It was Veteran's Day and a school holiday. Chrystal's mother, Maria Gunnoe, 38, was inside when she heard her daughter yell for help.

Gunnoe rushed outside to find Chrystal coming towards her. Chrystal was coughing and struggling to breath, running from a strange-looking cloud that was moving down the valley and headed towards their house. Gunnoe would later learn the strange cloud came from something known as a "slow burning blast" -- an explosion set at the coal mine above her home that failed to ignite and instead burned slowly, releasing a wet toxic cloud of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide.

Gunnoe lives in Bob White, W.Va., where coal companies have become increasingly unfriendly neighbors. Her home is surrounded by thousands of acres where a radically destructive type of coal mining is practiced -- mountaintop removal/valley fill (MTR) coal mining -- and it's turning Maria Gunnoe's life upside down.

In the weeks following, Chrystal suffered from a bronchial infection, a consistent cough, nose bleeds and bouts of painful breathing. Her mother, who was also exposed, "had sores on the inside of [her] nose," she said. "First they take our land, then the water, now the air," fumed Gunnoe who lives in Boone County, W.Va.'s top coal-yielding county, and the epicenter of Appalachian coal extraction, where the dirty business of mining, processing and hauling coal is the main meal-ticket in town.

Coal mining dominates the lives of the people in the remote, coal-rich mountain communities of West Virginia, where coal operators like Massey Energy are waging a remorseless campaign to extract all the coal they can, as fast as they can, before coal is legislated into the past and President Bush is out of office.

@ Alternet

Never mind the fact that coal is the dirtiest possible substance that when burned pukes out more carbon than any other fossil fuel, it's worth a ton of money.

The coal bosses don't give a rats ass about destroying pristine land to get it, they just want big profits whatever it takes.

Americans gone bad, again.



DEN said...

Late start today, slept in.

Going to Dentist, yikes!

David B. Benson said...

With regard to global warming, coal is the worst offender, by far.

Even when it is still in the ground, it can burn. That's called coalfield fires and is almost completely uncontrolled.


micki said...

Den, coal mining and its abusive tactics -- abusive to the environment, to people, to the future -- has been a problem for too long, as we all know.

Years ago, I read the book "How Green Was My Valley" by Richard Llewellyn, which was set in the coal-mining section of Wales circa the Queen Victoria-era.

The novel ends with this line: How green was my valley then, and the valley of them that have gone.

The book was made into a movie How Green Was my Valley, by John Ford, 1941. I've never seen the movie -- maybe I'll see if Netflix has it.

Humans are slow to learn, aren't we?

David B. Benson said...

But Bt corn is not a good idea, either:

Bt Corn bad for Caddisflies

Hajji said...

My Parents grew up in Lynch, KY, a company town created in Harlan Co. to feed the furnaces of US Steel during the height of America's industrial world domination.

Crammed up against the side of Black Mountain, the highest point in the state, Lynch is now a town with almost no businesses, no industries and only a tiny fraction of a once copious population.

Nostalgia dictates that I sometimes leave the highway when traveling back to Ashland to see my mom and switchback over the mountain and down into my own history.

From the top of Black Mountain the vista during my childhood was endless wrinkles in the fabric of Appalachia, stretching south to the Smokies, northwest toward the rolling hills of "Horse Country" and northeast up the ridges of Western and West Virginia.

Today the view is completely different...

Man-made mesas as far as the eye can see. Once deep and verdant valleys now filled with toxic rubble. Slippery smoke and dust rising from strip-mines and blast zones.

Mountains that rose and eroded over millenia reduced to flat-top industrial parks in only a few decades. Populations of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish gone forever due to the gluttony of American energy.

A friend once anthropomorphed the Appalachians into grandmother. "They're too old for all that "Rocky Mountain" drama",
she said, "If you've got a lick of sense, these mountains will take good care of you."

We've not only turned our back on our "Grandmother Earth" we've dug her up, flipped her over, had our way with her and re-buried her face down in a puddle of our toxic dreck.

And we deserve what we get.


David B. Benson said...

Not even Tolkien's Mordor was such a wasteland, despite his vivid imagination...

DEN said...

Hajji, nothing like personal experience to drive the reality of land rape right to the forefront.

It is one thing to see the corporate money whores lay waste to the middle class, quite another to see them pillage the land to fill their corporate coffers.

Kinda explains why we will never go along with Global Warming and Worldwide initiatives to clean up the planet.

The coal companies are in bed with the chimp and the fascist cabal to rake in billions for themselves.

Disgusting and downright UN-American.

micki said...

Big Utility Says It Will Settle 8-Year-Old Pollution Suit

American Electric Power, one of the nation’s largest utilities, is expected to announce that it has reached an agreement to settle a long-running lawsuit over emissions from its coal-fired power plants.

Too bad they didn't comply with regulations in the first place. Shut 'em down! Off with their heads!

David B. Benson said...

Unseasonably warm today.

Even saw a sizable junebug...

DEN said...

Junebug? But it's October, four months late.

Must have been a late bloomer.

David B. Benson said...

Den --- Around here it used to be the case that junebugs didn't start showing up until after July 4th and the last chance of an overnight freeze (for about 7 weeks) was gone.

Used to be that there were no butterflies.

Saw quite a few this past summer.

Climate change...

David B. Benson said...

Not quite so. There were occasional pseudo-monarchs, the kind that look like a bad tasting Monarch butterfly, but isn't.

Did see any of those this year.

DEN said...

The puker of the day:

“Erik Prince is doing everything he can to help his country,” Rohrabacher said. “He could be making ten times the money without anybody calling him names.” […]

Rohrabacher did not attend the Blackwater hearing last week before Rep. Henry Waxman’s oversight committee. Rohrabacher is not a member of that panel.

He did watch it on television, and he likened it to the Iran Contra sessions at which former Col. Oliver North testified during the Reagan administration. Rohrabacher was a Reagan speechwriter.

“Prince,” Rohrabacher said, “is on his way to being an American hero just like Ollie North was.”
@ Think Progress


Ollie North a hero???

What a twisted world Rory lives in!

David B. Benson said...

Not Did, Didn't!

Foo, I even previewed it...

micki said...

It's kind of icky here weatherwise, warm and humid.

David B. Benson said...

On October first, with cool and a few drops of mist, I switched to long pants and shirt and two sweaters.

But today, without the sweaters on, I'm too warm. Back to the short sleeves and pant legs for a few days, I guess.


(And before you start thinking that this is all that global warming is gong to bring, Hadley Centre predicts 2008 much like 1007 and then global warming really starts to kick in!

Carey said...

Goody. Micki gets Netflix! That's how you guys saw Beyond the Sea!

David! What do you think of the heatwave in the east? Yeah, bizarre events are in full swing and coming fast and furious. How terrifying.

One sits there and shakes one's head. What can ya do?

So we awakened this morning and heard that the Dems had rolled over on the wiretapping bill that they bumbled in August. There was much disappointment and despair.

Then, midday I heard the tailend of Ed Schultz saying the Dems didn't roll over, that the bill was sound and had protections.

Which is it? I suppose I should go watch Keith.

David B. Benson said...

Carey --- Heatwave, shmeetwave...

Just wait until the summer of 2009 rolls around. Then everybody will learn what heatwave means!


micki said...

My legs are still out of storage.

People look at me like I'm from outer space because I wear shorts (not short-shorts! yikes!) on my walks, hikes, long into Fall.

micki said...

Geez, Dr. B, that soon?!

I think your prognostications will prove accurate.

micki said...

Carey, give us a report on what Keith says.

I heard Thom Hartmann this a.m. say that the bill is not a "roll-over" for the Dems -- that they included some language in it regarding documents, oversight, etc. that will probably result in bush VETOING the bill if it passes.

Glenn Greenwald also thinks the bill has merit.

micki said...

Of course, I didn't watch the Repug debate today, but I hear that Fred T. took a couple of No-doze and made it through the charade.

So, is this right? Chris Matthews posed the questions?

Jon Stewart should ask the questions. Maybe there would be some followup -- and some probing.

micki said...

Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies, one of the nation's premiere FISA experts, has issued a statement which provides, in part: "We welcome the bill by Chairmen Reyes and Conyers as an important first step towards restoring the civil liberties protections lost in August. Their bill would be a vast improvement over the current law passed at the President's urging, and it is much more protective of any of the bills considered in August."

ยบ¿carol said...

Alan said: "I've had this Compaq 15-inch flat panel monitor forever... back when it cost me $350..." Can you imagine saying "forever" when I still have the huge Dell monitor that I got back in what, 1998 maybe? I haven't even got my first flat panel yet. My husband has one on his computer. I'm going to wait until mine dies. I had hopes of that several months ago, but it hasn't done any nasty tricks since. Must have cured itself.

Carey said...

Bruce Fein said that the bill was toothless to stop unwarrented wiretapping on just about everything.

Listen to this. He called the Dems "invertebrates".

From Fein! So it stands with Thom saying it's okay but not Fein. It will take some looking into.


It's the speed with which it's happening. Exponential and surprising to you experts and scientists. I keep saying that's what I find most sobering. That the scientists are taken aback by the speed of the melt.

Carey said...

I see Micki beat me to it. Thank you for that analysis from Ms. Martin. Hmmmm. Seems to me there you have it.

It's a start. I heard that one before and seen it circumvented too many times. We all have.

She's saying it's a wait and see. Much more is needed. Fein's saying, stop giving them more shit in hopes of someday winning back lost freedoms. Jonathan Turley and John Dean are in Fein's camp on the radical urgency of the situation.

Carey said...

How are Den's teeth?

Now that Carol's got WiFi, she's going to go all out.

My computer is old period. Actually it's Brandon's. He just bequeathed it to me because he got his uncle's laptop.

I'm getting a new condo though! Something like that. Something dirt cheap, either to rent or own. Want to start moving the big property.

I said that like I know what I'm talking about. No.

Carey said...

Y'all know better than that.

micki said...

I have no idea what this lingo means, but this is what my eMac gives to me faithfully, unfailingly, and with love. It seems I have a flat screen. Okay.

* 800 MHz or 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processor
* 133 MHz system bus
* 128 or 256 MB PC133 SDRAM (can be upgraded to a maximum of 1 GB SDRAM)
* ATI Radeon 7500 AGP 4x (32 MB dedicated DDR SDRAM)
* 17-inch flat CRT display
* 3 Built-in USB and 2 Firewire ports
* Built-in 18-watt stereo speakers
* Built-in microphone
* Build-in modem
* CD-ROM, Combo Drive (CD burner that can read DVDs) or SuperDrive (2x, CD and DVD burner)
* 40, 60 or 80 GB hard disk drives
* AirPort Extreme Ready

micki said...

Dear Colleague:

Next month the Open Society Institute is sponsoring a conference on political propaganda. For more information and to register, visit www.thereyougoagain.org. Along with the conference, we are announcing the publication of What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics, with essays by Orville Schell, George Soros, Francine Prose, Mark Danner and many more.

CONFERENCE: There You Go Again: Orwell Comes to America

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 10 AM - 6 PM
Presented by Live from the NYPL
New York Public Library
Celeste Bartos Forum
Humanities and Social Sciences Library
5th Avenue and 42nd Street



What Orwell Didn't Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics
Anthology to be released by PublicAffairs in tandem with the conference.
A joint project of the schools of journalism at University of California Berkeley, Columbia University, and the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, with support from the Open Society Institute.

Alan said...

* 17-inch flat CRT display

Yeah, my first Compaq had a 17" CRT, and I still have it. A 17" like that actually looks like 16" of viewing area. The 15" flat panel screen LOOKS bigger than it's measurement instead of smaller... they virtually have the same viewing areas.
If you ever get a new IMAC, those are awesome-looking. Either 20 or 24" flat panel monitor and computer in one aluminum frame. Our local tech guy in the paper did an article today, as a matter of fact. He gets computers and other products sent to him all the time to use and review, etc... When he sent the new IMAC back, he liked it so much, he went and BOUGHT himself one. They now use Intel chips, so he loaded Windows Vista on it as well as the Mac OS... mainly so he could play the commuter games made for Windows. Hold on, lemme find that article...

A borrower of the iMac becomes a buyer

micki said...

Alan, the eMac is kinda clunky looking, but it's a workhorse. Bill has an Apple laptop -- it's cool, with a much better keyboard than most laptops (that I've seen).

An Apple a day, keeps.....