Mountaintop Removal Un-American

As we all have shivered through some of the coldest weather in recent memory, it saddens me greatly, as a proud and patriotic American that loves the Appalachian Mountains, to know that much of the energy we rely on comes from the practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. This mining practice occurs mostly in relatively remote sections of Appalachia and involves basically the top of a once living mountain being blasted apart and the thousands of tons of remains dumped into the streams below, killing everything in its path.

What bothers me the most about this is that our innovative and brilliant nation that has led the world in so many areas has been reduced to accepting a practice which would be more typical of the former Soviet Union or North Korea. Is this really the best we can do in America? Certainly the wealthy and politically influential coal company executives hope so. These folks have no qualms in taking our Appalachian Mountains that God blessed this great nation with and leaving them decimated and forever altered. I consider mountaintop removal as an insult to American ingenuity and American pride in its natural heritage. Would we just sit by if Mt. LeConte were blasted apart? Coal and all that it brings (e.g. thousands of annual premature deaths and record levels of childhood asthma from air quality issues, coal ash pond failures, air quality alert days where activities outside are restricted, scarred landscapes, etc.) represents an acceptance of far less than what this country is capable of. Moving quickly to a complete clean-energy grid and immediately ending mountaintop removal coal mining is something any true patriot would demand of our legislators.

Mark Shipley

Knoxville