Save a Mountain, Build a Windmill

Yesterday our friend Big Kenny spoke and performed at a Capitol Hill rally for NRDC's Music Saves Mountains campaign.  Many folks showed up with signs opposing mountaintop removal, including one that was a clever play on Kenny's hit song, "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy."  The sign read: "Save a Mountain, Build a Windmill."

The rally prompted a snarky editorial today in the ultra-conservative rag, Washington Examiner, entitled: "Save a mountain, build a windmill, freeze in the dark."

I felt compelled to issue a rebuke, in the form of a good old-fashioned Letter-to-the Editor.  Here's my LTE:

Mark Tapscott’s editorial, “Save a mountain, build a windmill, freeze in the dark” (September 16, 2010), misrepresents NRDC’s campaign to end mountaintop removal coal mining, oversimplifies the issue, and substitutes false claims for facts.  First, our organization and our Appalachian allies seek through regulation and bi-partisan legislation to abolish the world’s worst coal mining.  Mountaintop removal is an extreme form of strip-mining that has flattened some 500 peaks, destroyed or polluted nearly 2,000 rivers and streams, and impoverished countless communities throughout the region.  NRDC’s “Music Saves Mountains” campaigns features a growing slate of musical artists like Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris who believe that America’s oldest mountain range -- the birthplace of country and bluegrass music -- should be revered, not reduced to rubble. 

Mr. Tapscott cited a sign held at the rally yesterday – “Save a mountain, build a wind mill” – as the slogan for this campaign.  In reality, that sign referenced the ongoing battle to prevent mountaintop mining of West Virginia’s Coal River Mountain, which independent studies show could generate more power – and more jobs – via wind turbines placed on its peak.  

Why continue to allow coal companies to raze our purple mountain majesties? We must transition away from dirty energy that is destroying our natural and cultural heritage, harming our health and endangering the planet.

But speaking of wind power, it provided 39 percent of all new generating capacity installed last year.  Since 2005, wind power and other renewable energy technologies, combined with natural gas, have provided over 90 percent of all new generating capacity in the U.S.

So what have we learned? Save a tree, avoid the Examiner