Photo via I Love Mountains
I may spend most of my time writing about climate and politics, but almost nothing gets me more fired up than the topic of mountaintop removal mining. It's just one of those things that seems to be morally wrong at a fundamental level, and therefore resonates on a primal level. After all, you don't need to make a movie about blue aliens to intuitively show that blowing up pristine mountain habitats to get easy access to the resources within is bad. Which is why I like to see such ardent activism challenging the practice--like this inventive stunt where Rev. Billy brought a mound coal dirt to Chase bank, one of the biggest financial backers of companies employing MTR. Here's the video of the action (you can learn more about the group responsible here)
There's a great post over at Climate Progress that details the protest, along with the reasons behind it. It of course includes an apt description of the process, which should make any appreciator of nature cringe. Here goes:
Mountaintop removal mining is a disgrace. The day may seem far away where a CEO will be inspired to stop supporting such a practice by underwriting its perpetrators, but protests like this one can keep the conversation in the spotlight. Thanks, Billy and co.
* The cookbook version of MTR goes something like this:
1. Remove the forest. (Note, the US EPA estimates that 2,200 square miles of Appalachian forests will be cleared for MTR sites by the year 2012.)
2. Scrape away topsoil, the larger the steam shovel, the better.
3. Insert bomb. (States engaging in MTR each detonate about 1,000 tons of explosives a day and some blasts have lopped as much as 800 feet off a mountain.)
4. Remove coal, sell on open (highly subsidized) market.
5. Use bulldozers to put "overburden" (sterile dirt) back to try and make mountain look "good as new."
6. Push and shove leftover rock and soil debris into hollows and stream beds, ignore fish screams.
More on Mountaintop Removal Mining
Scientists Say Mountaintop Removal Mining Should Be Banned
Mountaintop Removal Has Filled 700 Miles of US Streams with Debris
Ready to Get Pissed Off at Mountaintop Removal Mining ? Watch This Video