If you know much at all about the political strength of the coal industry, this article in the Phoenix Sun will not surprise you, but is till worth the read to reinforce the knowledge that a blatant 19th Century Robber Baron mentality that is still at work in the US, wrapped in the American Flag.
If you have not paid any attention to this, then it is all the more reason for your to spend some time thinking about the ramifications of Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship addressing a rally in his red, white and blue shirt and introducing pro-coal coloring books into the curriculum for West Virginia's elementary school children.
Several years ago, David Cobb wrote an OpEd for the Eureka Times Standard, commenting on a right wingnut speaker named Holly Swanson whose day job was going around the country railing at all things good and Green. I quote:
Approximately 60 folks attended to hear a diatribe that included an allegation that the Green Party was engaged in a concerted effort to “brainwash” children to respect the earth. Swanson went so far as to accuse the Greens of being just like the Nazi Party of fascist Germany.Doesn't that sound just like Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck today, or the tea bagger venting their wrath on Obama as their target of opportunity.
So, here is a big cheer to Dana Silvernail who actually may be Holly Swanson's worst nightmare, a Green who actually won a seat the board of the Northern Humboldt Union High School District. As I wrote in a congratulatory note to Dana, "All you need to do is have students who respect the truth."
The Phoenix Sun article concludes:
> If you want to stay up-to-date with news on the coal front, you’re in luck. Ken Ward, Jr., the dean of American coal reporters, writes a blog for the Charleston (WV) Gazette called The Coal Tattoo. Read it and weep. And then organize.
I keep up to date by following @Jenwardjr on Twitter.
We don't think much about coal in California. The mines we once had (Parkfield, for example) have long since been abandoned. But we do need to think about where this country is headed and how very effective Coal is at controlling what we do. For example, did you know the the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Nick Rahall, represents the 3rd District of West Virgina which is truly ground zero for mountain top removal mining. You wonder why we can't get anything done?
You may also wonder why the Democrats are so hesitant to push for a climate change bill, or that the bill currently under consideration in the Senate - known as Kerry-Boxer - has so much provision for the future use of coal? Well, both of the Senators from WV, Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, are Dems and taking away their votes would make sure that an Republican filibuster, already promised by Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, would be sustained.
I agree with the Phoenix Sun, Read this and weep. Weep for the mountains that will never be again. Weep for the citizens of Rahall's district who have no other options, whose one last public opportunity to change Coal River Mountain from a toxic cleanup site into a jobs and energy producing windcatcher has been blasted away. Then organize. If you can do nothing else, the next time you feel like a cup of coffee or a soft drink, take the money you would have spent and donate it to the West Virginia Mountain Party.