Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
We promote fair and honest political discussion from all sides of the ideological spectrum While my own opinions and my contributors tend toward a more progressive view, that's not always the case. I ask people to comment freely and openly to promote fair discourse.
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Sago Mining Accident and Other Mining Issues Thursday, January 05, 2006

By now, most everyone knows the news of what happened in the West Virginia coal mine. There was an explosion and all but one of the men died and he's not in great shape. He was taken to a hospital in Pittsburg to get more air into... to pull him out of a coma.

Living in Kentucky, coal is a signficant portion of our history, our economy. Coal and rivers give Ky some of the cheapest electricity in the nation. It provides jobs for many in eastern Kentucky and provides money for the state. But it comes at a price.

There's a coal fired electricity plant just a few miles near my home. The air quality here isn't so good. Mining accidents happen and while only 5 were killed last year in actual mining accidents, there were others. Truckers drive overloaded trucks trying to get more for each trip. The problem they drive on crappy mountain roads and sometimes don't stop. They kill people more frequently on Kentucky's extended weight coal road system.

Then there's the environmental impact. I mentioned air quality. We can't forget slurry ponds full of coal dust. Those are vile. Then there's the real kicker...strip mining and mountain top removal. My family has been in Kentucky for centuries. My wife's family is from eastern Kentucky. This state, despite what others might say is a beautiful place to be. Driving through Daniel Boone National Forest in late September is a beautiful drive. We head to Apple Day in Paintsville or perhaps a road trip down to Gatlinburg Tennessee. It's wonderful.

Our Appalachia is one of our great wonders. It's the oldest mountain chain in the world. You can hike through them. You can ski in them. You can spot black bears and other wildlife. It's glorious and anyone who love nature should visit the land my ancestors have called home for centuries. Whether you go to the "Land Between the Lakes" or Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky is gorgeous. The problem however is the mining industry destroys its natural beauty.

They say mountain top removal is better for the environment. But logically, how can stripping the top off of a mountain be sound ecology and environmental science? Who're they kidding. You take beautiful works of nature and lob their heads off.

Coal provides a lot of jobs, a lot of power and it's becoming more economically enticing. Recent statistics say mining companies have 4500 jobs to fill. But will these companies do what they need to keep the mines safe? The mine in the disaster had hundreds of violations in recent years. Why wasn't it shut down? You strip away our naturally beauty? There must be an alternative.

Many blogs say this stuff is a partisan issue but we in states like Kentucky know better. It's a "whoever's in power" issue. Both side of the aisle get lots of money from coal companies. That's why they have the overweight roads. That's we have our mountain tops stripped away. That's why we have slurry pond disasters that pollute everything it toucheKentuckys with minimal fines involved. I love my state. I love this land of my ancestors. I just wish those in power now weren't killing it and the people in it.

My heart goes out to the families of the miners. I just hope we can keep this from happening again..

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posted by Stithmeister @ 11:52 PM

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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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