To me, nothing makes a stronger case in favor of more government regulation than the obscene practice of mountaintop removal mining. I mean, this is the stuff that inspires sci-fi films like Avatar: giant corporations literally buying up pristine habitat, and blowing it up. It would be comical if it didn't happen every day in Appalachia. Here, Tea Party favorite and the GOP's Senate candidate for Kentucky Rand Paul discusses his view of the practice:
To put that in perspective, here's Zaid Jilani: "To illustrate what Paul views as "a hill or two," here's a satellite-taken before-and-after image of a mountaintop removal site in Mud River, West Virginia:
This is why I still can't take libertarianism seriously in the policy arena -- as an ideological belief, sure, it sounds nice. Leave big corporations alone, and the marketplace will offer incentives for them to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the market offers no discouragement for leveling thousands of acres of forest habitat. The practice seems fundamentally indefensible, and the majority of Americans agree with me -- and yet, corporations are allowed to continue dynamiting wilderness, because the market permits it.
To Rand Paul's credit, he sticks to his guns. To his discredit, his statement that no one will miss a hill or two is absolutely idiotic -- mountaintop removal mining not only causes contamination in water supplies and grave health problems in nearby communities, but there are people out there who love Appalachia, and will absolutely miss it when it's been reduced to smoldering rubble in the pursuit of cheap coal.
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