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The New York Times reported that Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said, “Economic growth is what is going to make mountaintop removal palatable.”
Since becoming a West Virginia public figure Manchin has been the state’s mouthpiece for the coal industry, shouting from the flattened mountaintops the praises of the industry. When a lie is big, one shouts it much louder.
Ignoring the growing links to cancer, congestive heart failure, nervous system damage, respiratory diseases, asthma, lower life expectancies and severe birth defects in coal field communities, Manchin only sees dollar signs.
Coal towns with mountaintop removal sites resemble wartime towns pillaged by an advancing army, that army being coal profiteers. For maximum profits, they raped former panoramic landscapes, blasted away majestic mountaintops, and left desolation behind.
Since Manchin’s 2005 election, nearly 100 people have been killed in West Virginia mining accidents, including the methane gas explosion that killed 29 miners in April 2010 in Montcoal, the worst mining disaster in the nation in more than 25 years.
Despite the growing deaths, health impacts and irreparable environmental damage, Manchin continues to wave the ‘Friends of Coal Banner.’ So now we ask him to bring his ‘palate’ to a coal town and live for six weeks in a community directly affected by mountaintop removal.
As the cameras roll for this Reality TV Show, Manchin and his wife will live their lives as far too many Appalachians do. After six weeks in a coal town, affected by tainted water, polluted air, massive explosions and poverty, let’s see how palatable mountaintop removal will be to Manchin’s rich-man taste buds.