Saturday, September 08, 2007

Christians For The Environment - Mountaintop Ministry

Photos of the Devastation left after
MountainTop mining -

Where are the Green Hills of Virgina?

Most of the Right-wing Evangelical Fundamentalist movement believe that Man was given the earth to do as he pleased with it without regard to negative impacts upon the environment since they believe either God will somehow provide us with new resource or we will just magically come up with new resource on Earth or by utilizing the Moon or the planets in our solar system or other bits of wishful thinking or when resources run out the Messiah will return & replenish the earth or God will then take the chosen ones up into Heaven leaving the rest of the human population to suffer on a planet that been laid waste by human activity from mining and other industrial activities to war - therefore they believe that to be overly concerned about the environment & conserving natural resources shows a lack of faith in the Bible & the Christian God .

Anyway on Bill Moyers' Journal he did a follow up piece on the Mountain Top Ministry in which the Ministry is fighting corporations & the Bush Regime & Neocons to try to protect the environment & a way of life in West Virgina & The Appalachians -
see: Bill Moyers Journal Mountaintop Ministry & Essay from Allen Johnson

Here is the promo for the show:

So for a change on my blog for once I can report about a Christian Ministry called Mountaintop Ministry that is focused on the environment & attempting to slow down if not stop altogether the practice of Mountain Top Mining which chops off the top of a mountain to get at the coal seams beneath so far over 450 mountains in West Virginia have been destroyed in this way. The practice is part of an ongoing environmental disaster which destroys forests & lakes & streams leaving areas in West Virginia looking like dead moonscapes . Because the practice uses very few workers it does not help to maintain or sustain populations - the corporations often buy people's homes & then bulldoze them - and little by little these mining operations are destroying Appalachian way of life & culture - It could be seen therefore as a form of cultural genocide -

This is the old hobgoblin of Cost benefits analysis which leaves out the environmental factors or the human factors- But this is the Necons attitude towards everything that whatever a corporation does must be worked out according to a balance sheet of profits & loses - or whatever is good for a corporation is good for the country & whatever is good for the shareholders is good for the country & their stance is to say to hell with a few complaining local troublemakers you just pay them off & continue with business as usual - and these days it is easy for the Bush regime to use surveillance on Environmental groups even if they are Christian & to harass them claiming for instance the disruption of an industry producing energy which is necessary for the country is by definition a harmful & seditious & unpatriotic act in this post 9/11 world or whatever rhetoric they can come up with ...and so it goes...

So is that the measure by which we judge human activities as profitable or not profitable- quality of life for those impacted negatively is not a concern of corporations their share holders or the government -According to the Neocon philosophy governments have no right to interfere with the activities of corporations - this is a return to laissez-fare unfettered capitalism of the nineteenth century - when workers had no rights & corporations did what they wished - this is their idea of Utopia in the New World Order as championed by President Bush & his Neocon True Believers & our own Prime Minister Stephen Harper & his cronies who see all those who wish to regulate industries as enemies of Capitalism & therefore the State & what they believe to be the basic principles of the Bible & Christianity -

Mountaintop Ministry
Bill Moyers Journal
Mountaintop Ministry

Allen Johnson co-founded and heads the advocacy group, Christians for the Mountains, an organization that summons Christians to help protect the environment, paying particular attention to the southern Appalachian Mountains region.

Since this segment originally aired in October 2006, Christians for the Mountains has joined up with other denominations in making mountaintop removal mining an issue of urgency among the creation care leaders nationwide. In May 2007, Allen and Roman Catholic priest Father John Rausch hosted religious leaders for a two-day tour of mountaintop removal sites, and at the end of the tour, the two dozen religious leaders signed a joint statement against mountaintop removal practices.

On August 22, The New York Times published an article that began, “The Bush administration is set to issue a regulation on Friday [August 24] that would enshrine the coal mining practice of mountaintop removal.”

Enshrine. An oddly appropriate word, I thought. A biblical word, even. A place where dwell the gods. Like the gods of money, comfort, and power.

For over 2 years I have been involved with a network organization, Christians For The Mountains, to engage Christians and their churches to take on the moral question of mountaintop removal. The massive scale of beheading coal-bearing mountains, obliterating headwater streams, and building multi-billion gallon toxic slurry impoundments begs biblical and theological activity.

It is now clear the coal industry and their regulatory and political sidekicks care only about the dollar. An honest debate on the ethics and morality of mountaintop removal has not occurred. Like wolves salivating their chops over a field of lambs, the coal industry and their lapdogs in government now look upon coal-to-liquid technology as a new source of meat to feast their jaws. “Coal will bring prosperity to the state,” they trumpet; yet after more than a century of economic and political domination by the coal industry, West Virginia has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, especially in the southern coalfields. So much for prosperity.

From intro

longer version Pushing for mountaintop mining

Aug 28, 2007 04:30 AM

Give the Bush administration credit for persistence. It just won't let a bad idea die. On Friday, the Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining proposed new regulations that it hopes will permanently legalize mountaintop mining – a cheap, ruthlessly efficient, environmentally destructive means of mining coal from the mountains of Appalachia.

By our count, this is the third attempt in the last six years to enshrine the practice by insulating it from legal challenge. But since the net result is likely to be more confusion and more courtroom wrestling, the situation cries out for congressional intervention to define once and for all what mining companies can and cannot do.

Mountaintop mining is basically high-altitude strip mining. Enormous machines scrape away the ridges to get at the coal seams below. The residual rock and dirt are then dumped or carted down the mountainside into nearby valleys and streams. By one estimate, this serial decapitation of Appalachia's coal-rich hills has already buried 1,200 miles of streams while damaging hundreds of square miles of forests.

No recent administration, Democratic or Republican, has made a serious effort to end the dumping, largely in deference to the financial influence of the coal industry and the political influence of Robert Byrd, West Virginia's senior senator. But the Bush people have been particularly resourceful in perpetuating the practice.

In 2002, for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency rewrote clean water regulations in a way that magically added mine waste to the list of materials that can be used to fill in streams for development and other purposes. In 2004, confronted with yet another obstacle – the so-called stream buffer zone rule prohibiting any mining activity within 100 feet of a stream – the administration decided that the rule only required companies to respect the buffer zone "to the extent practicable," in effect green-lighting further dumping. The new rule not only reaffirms the 2004 rule but also seems specifically to authorize the disposal of "excess spoil fills," a.k.a. mine waste, in hollows and streams.

Studies have identified more benign, though admittedly more costly, ways to dispose of the waste, while other studies have warned that unless alternatives are found, an area larger than the state of Delaware will be laid waste by dynamite and bulldozer by the end of this decade, poisoning water supplies and leading to continuous flooding.

With that in mind, two members of Congress – Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, a Democrat, and Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, a Republican – introduced a bill last spring that would reaffirm Clean Water Act protections prohibiting mining companies and other industries from dumping solid industrial wastes into the nation's waters. The bill has already picked up 60 sponsors in its brief life, and the administration's latest sleight of hand should add more converts to the cause.

Inorder to facilitate & expand Mountaintop Mining the Bush regime has a solution so that the companies are not accused or held responsible for damage to the environment caused this practice ...well first you change the rules this article " Mountaintop Mining Rules " 06/09/07 from points out...

... the Interior Department has opted to lower the standard. Under proposed regulations issued late last month for public comment, strip miners would have to show only that they intend "to prevent [damage to streams, fish and wildlife], to the extent possible using the best technology currently available." Also under the proposed regulations, a stream's flow could be altered so long as the damage is later repaired.

Existing mountaintop-mining operations could continue provided the areas where the mining and dumping occur are "no larger than needed." Such changes resolve some of the regulatory conflicts faced by companies that engage in mountaintop mining. But they are so vague as to offer little hope for meaningful regulatory standards or to allay concern about the significant environmental costs.

We also take issue with published comments by Interior Department officials, who predicted that a 60-day period for public comment on these proposed regulations is unlikely to result in substantial changes. Such statements leave the overwhelming impression that the public hearing process is a sham and what the public has to say about mountaintop mining has little sway over the Bush administration.

America needs energy. The nation's coal reserves, which are abundant, hold promise for reliably meeting these needs. But coal-fired power plants are also the single largest source of emissions linked to global warming; also, mercury pollution. Coal may remain an important answer to our energy needs, but not at the expense of mountains reduced to rubble, poisoned streams and toxic air.

Also see:
Washington Post series of articles August 2004 on Appalachia is paying price for White House Rule Change

take care,

No comments: