Thursday, January 01, 2009

Toxic Sludge: Tennessee, West Virginia and DC.

I should not have read the latest post by Dave Roberts at Gristmill this late in the evening. This one suggests that there are more coal sludge disasters waiting to happen. We know about the recent containment pond spill at the Kingston Power Plant run by the TVA. Roberts and the rest of the crowd at Grist want us to keep on worrying. This time over a leaking pond in Raleigh County West Virginia. The problem with this is that there is a school and, for part of the day, 200 students directly in the path if it finally breaks loose.

What these Yes We Can blinded environmentalists don't say is that there is little hope anything is going to change. Much of what coal is allowed to do and the rules under which they have to operate is controlled by the House Committee on Natural Resources. That Committee is headed by Congressman Nick Rahall (WV-03) . There is little chance that any real oversight or real legislative leadership will come out of this Committee while Rahall is sitting in the Chair. I don't think that Massey Energy is going to miss much sleep.

Even as we are told that the new administration is taking science seriously... and it looks like that is the case with a Nobel Prize winner, Steven Chu named to head the Dept. of Energy and John Holdren to be Obama's Science and Technology Adviser... the funding for much work still has to come through the House Appropriations Commitee, where the SubCommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, Alan Mohollan (WV-01) is sitting there to take care of making sure King Coal get its fair share of funding.

Then, if anything gets out of the House, we have the nominal Dean of the Senate, Robery Byrd ready to filibuster whatever coal does not like.

Now, you see why I am a Green, not a Democrat... and why I continue to push back at Roberts and all of the others when they forget how this really works. In order to get the right legislation regarding the Auto Industry, Waxman had to replace Dingell. If we want to get the right legislation and oversight regarding the Coal Mining Industry, we need someone to replace Nick Rahall. He is just too dependent on coal industry votes to be effective in doing what this entire country needs to have done.

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