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    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Off Topic

    I know this is a blog about WVU sports, but I saw an article today that is an issue with all West Virginians and I thought of bringing up the topic here. The battle over Coal River Mountain

    The impact and costs of mountaintop coal removal is rarely talked about or seen in the national media nor by politicians. I believe this to be a result of Congress having little to no pressure from the people regarding the environmental negative impact along with a powerful lobbying interest by companies in the coal business. The coal industry has been very powerful influence in West Virginia for a very long time. Many people have fed and supported their families from the good wages they have earned in the mines. So sometimes speaking about coal in West Virginia is like speaking about religion and politics to everyone, it's sure to spark an argument. I certainly don't claim to know all of the facts and figures regarding the coal industry's impact on WV, so if anyone has more information, please provide it with a comment.

    Coal companies have long desired to extract coal using mountaintop removal because of the tremendous reduction in the cost of retrieval. One of the reasons it is so much cheaper is because very little labor is used. This means tens of thousands of fewer jobs than traditional mines would require. (mine safety is an obvious issue that also needs to be remedied) Forcing these companies to use more traditional mines would immediately employ a large portion of the state. It would also reduce the tremendous negative impact that mountaintop removal is having on the streams of West Virginia.

    The negative result would be that home energy costs around the nation would increase. I think that some of this cost could be negated by using these "saved" mountaintops into providing and investing in wind technology. The next "Manhattan Project" in this country will be the search for viable alternative clean energy. West Virginia could be a prime piece of real estate for some of the investments that could be made. The time to push to be a part of this is now. And the first step is to put pressure on the coal industry and our politicians that we will not tolerate the raping of our land anymore and that we want to be leaders in new energy technology, not the ones left behind.

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