Rebuttal to LTE originally provided by
the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 17, 2006
Rebuttal: Please do come take a look at what
Raney's industry is doing to our homeland
W. Va. Coal Association president Bill Raney responded your
recent article "Almost Flat, West Virginia" with a letter to the
editor that sounds as though he's taking lessons from Rush Limbaugh.
He described your reporter's efforts as a "misguided attempt to be
cute." People generally use name calling and the like when they have
nothing of real substance to say.
Raney felt you article was ".stacked heavily against a modern and
responsible industry." We wouldn't be having this discussion if the
industry was acting responsibly. Take a look at this March's issue
of National Geographic and see how 'responsible' coal is mined here.
Raney wrote, "The activist group in West Virginia can be noisy at
times, but it is small." Yet, 56% of the people in the state oppose
mountaintop removal mining according to a poll conducted by the
Appalachian Center for the Economy and Environment.
Raney objects that the story was "dedicating only five paragraphs to
the defense of the industry." Perhaps he is too used to the
billion-dollar coal industry's constant barrage of ads on T. His
industry has spent millions of dollars since 1996 to fund political
campaigns to curry favor with our politicians. I think he just can't
stand it when anything other than his point of view gets exposure.
Raney misleads when he writes, "As I told the reporter during our
phone interview, the truth is that less than 1 percent of West
Virginia's land has been disturbed in any way by mining."
Mountaintop removal is not practiced everywhere in the state; where
it is going on, in some counties like Boone, the disturbance is
closer to 25%. That disturbance devastates communities and the
Raney states, "And the majority of the land that has been touched
has been reconstituted in a way that allows people to use and enjoy
the land." This is simply a lie. Reconstituted land? We're not
talking orange juice here, but about the lush, ancient Appalachian
mountains, forests and streams-some of the most biologically diverse
forests on the planet. The biological losses are incalculable and in
many cases, the land is off limits to people. What's left to
Raney said, "there is great merit in reconstructing rural lands in
ways that nurture development, sustain the surrounding environment
and please most people." Poppy cock. Approximately 1% of the
mountaintop removal and strip-mined land out of around 400,000 acres
in West Virginia has any development on it. In Kentucky, development
has been problematic-consider the prison dubbed "Sink-Sink." About
$40 million has been used to shore it up because of instability of
the "reconstituted" land.
Janet Keating, Co-Director
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition