Moving Mountains For Coal: McCain & Obama Agree It's A Bad Thing

Pictured here is a mountain-top removal, coal mining site in southwestern Virginia.

Have faith readers: what had seemed impossible only months ago may yet come to pass. Although the coal mining industry seems determined to move many more mountain tops, both leading candidates for President of the USA have decided (according to recent campaign statements) this should no longer be done.

The following quote comes from the Charlestown Sunday Gazette Mail, a West Virginia (coal country) newspaper.

Last week, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain offered a rare moment of consensus: They agreed that mountaintop removal coal mining should be stopped...Then, a funny thing happened. No one really attacked them for saying so.
You really should read the entire story in the Gazette; as there are important nuances in writer Ken Ward Jr's. analysis. Before you go clicking off, though, consider the possibility that this is a seminal event, an indication that Obama and McCain are willing pander to the green vote - even if just a little bit. This is the relevant definition of pandering.
In politics, portrayal of one's views to fit in line with a certain crowd of voters the candidate is attempting to impress, when often, these are not the candidate's true beliefs. A candidate may engage in pandering out of desperation if s/he is already losing a race, or if polls taken prior to an election show others as being in the lead.

Both candidates have previously stated their support for "clean coal:" a technology which may never exist without government support. And, mountain-top removal is an increasingly common method of extracting coal east of the Mississippi River.

Why pander now? Could there be another reason for their positions?
The Gazette article provides evidence that the candidates' shared opposition to mountain-top removal coal mining is a matter of politicians catching up with popular sentiment. Maybe it's a matter of watching the polls and following what the public really wants.

So...we make our progress one step at a time. Let's keep candidate opposition to mountain top removal on the radar screen. And, when that opposition has been corroborated, we'll ask for more.

Please sirs, can you show a little more green?

Image credit:Richmond Diocese; Mountain top removal coal mining site in southwestern Virginia, photograph taken from the air in October 2007.

TreeHugger has a range of mountain top removal posts.
An Alternative to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in West Virginia ...
Quote of the Day: Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo on ...
Majority of American Public Opposes Mountaintop Removal
Friends of Coal Put Out the Word
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Bush Admin Expands Mountaintop Coal Mining : TreeHugger

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