Tsk, tsk ACCCE. This group of "clean" coal propagandists is to blame for the phony "grassroots" campaign that involved hiring a notorious "astro-turf" consulting firm to forge letters to Congress opposing the recently passed climate bill.
My colleague Pete Altman shares the latest coverage on dirty energy's dirty tricks here. He also notes how, for some strange reason, ACCCE's chief flack felt the need to promote mountaintop removal in a recent story on the forgery scandal:
"I can take you to places in eastern Kentucky where community services were hampered because of a lack of flat space -- to build factories, to build hospitals, even to build schools," said Joe Lucas of Americans for Clean Coal Electricity. "In many places, mountain-top mining, if done responsibly, allows for land to be developed for community space."
Now, as anyone who's read my blog knows, mountaintop removal coal mining is the world's worst coal mining. Throughout Appalachia it levels mountains, clearcuts forest, buries streams, impoverishes local communities, and harms local residents. And little, if any, economic development actually takes places on so-called "reclaimed" mountaintops. In fact, less than 1% of mountaintop-mined sites in Kentucky have been converted for commercial development.
Below is an aerial view of a former mountaintop in Kentucky -- post-mining:
Gone is the lush forest, replaced with non-native scrub grass covering hard-packed, toxic-laden rock and debris. Barely anything will grow back, and nothing that can ever replace the biologically diverse habitat where wildlife used to thrive or the native vegetation which for eons filtered rainwater for the once-clean streams in the valley below.
Now, aside from the blatent falshood of Mr. Lucas' statement, what struck me was how eerily reminiscent his words are of other zany comments found on the America's Coal Power website. Take this exchange, for instance, in the "Ask the Experts" section of the website:
Q: Is it true that blowing up mountains in Appalachia to mine coal leads to economic opportunity?
A: Absolutely. You wouldn't believe how easy (and cool) it is to blast away a few hundred feet of mountaintop to scrape out the coal seams below. And while most of the economic opportunity in mountaintop removal mining is reserved for the coal industry itself, don't forget that some of it trickles down to you -- not unlike the way freshly exploded mountaintop residue, rich with unhealthy minerals, trickles down the mountainsides and chokes up the stream beds below.
As for the mountains themselves, and some of the animals that formerly lived there, don't worry. We're talking about the Appalachians -- the country's oldest, and therefore lamest, mountains. The Rockies are way cooler. There's a reason why our vacation homes are in Vail, not Wheeling.
Seriously, you've gotta check out this crazy website: www.americascoalpower.org.