by J.D. CHARLES, Staff Writer, and MICHAEL BROWNING, Managing Editor of the Logan Banner

Every time there is a mine disaster there is a lot of finger pointing. Much of this finger pointing has more to do with politics than it does concerns about the safety of coal miners.

One great example is the furor over strip mining. When people ask me about “surface mining” or “mountaintop removal” I tell them, I am pro-strip mining because it is SAFER for the coal miners than deep mining.

Statistics back me up on that.

When I meet an environmentalist who lives in a tree eating nuts and berries in the wilderness, I will pay attention to him. But I’m not holding my breath waiting, considering most of the enviromentalcases (as I call them) live in big cities in apartments stuffed with high-tech plastic gizmos that are NOT environmentally friendly. They don’t live like a neolithic-era shaman any more than I do — or even as close as I do for that matter.

When they start in on valley fills, I ask them what the difference is between the rocks and dirt in a stream from a mall being built or a road being built, which is built the same way as a surface mine and valley fill is operated.

There is no difference.

It’s the same rocks and dirt. Now, what do you find in the bottom of any stream?

Rocks and dirt.

Valley fill is a political myth. Rocks and dirt are rocks and dirt. Doesn’t matter if it gets in a stream from a strip mine, a road or a mall, or if it was there all along.

This “it’s only bad because it is related to mining” malarky is just that.

I recently saw a letter from a friend of mine who is an engineer to the EPA who addresses this stuff technically and draconian new proposals that would destroy our way of life, and I felt I should show it to you, the readers who DO CARE about local miners, their families, jobs and communities. After all, we LIVE HERE in the Mountains. When the furor dies down, we are not gonna fly back to Seattle on grant money and wait for the next protest, which is a profession to such types.

This anti-coal activism is all about politics and money. On the left wing of the political spectrum you have old hippies still obsessed with their hatred of America and who wish to destroy us and level us to the point of a third world country out of spite. It’s also about money. When the coal-fired power plants are closed, who will benefit the most?

Not the windmill people, I assure you. The Nuclear Power people have already started funneling TONS of money into this anti-coal effort. Think about that the next time you see some Birkenstock sandals-hemp necklace-wearing-hippy wannabes on TV protesting coal mining. They’re getting paid to do that by the Nuclear Power people. A real environmentalist would be FAR more concerned about the environmental threats posed by Nukes than coal, any day of the week.