A day or two ago I was lamenting the fact that a ban on mountaintop removal coal mining had died in Tennessee's state Senate Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee hearing because none of the good Republicans would make a motion to move the bill. Reps from the mining companies were on hand to high-five their successful lobbying efforts.
Now I've found out that some of the most conservative, coal-loving people in Tennessee are pissed about ONE aspect of mountaintop removal mining, and have even started an ad campaign to derail one company's efforts to destroy our mountain heritage. Why are these die-hard scorched-Earth Republican conservatives upset about a practice they were in love with a few days ago? Well, the answer's almost too good to be true...
Here's a snippet from Mother Jones:
On Tuesday, the Tennessee Conservative Union, which bills itself as the state's "largest and oldest conservative group," started running anti-mountaintop removal coal mining ads on television throughout the state. Their complaint? The Chinese company Guizhou Guochuang Energy Holding Group announced last year that it is acquiring Triple H Coal Mining, which does mountaintop removal. The Tennessee Conservative Union ad warns that they will become "the first state in our great nation to permit the red Chinese to destroy our mountains and take our coal."
"We're proud that Tennessee is a red state," the ad concludes. "But just how red are we willing to go?"
"The Tennessee Conservative Union is 100% pro-Coal, but our organization does not support destroying our mountain heritage," TCU Chairman Lloyd Daugherty said in a statement Tuesday. "Mountaintop removal mining kills jobs because it takes fewer workers to blow up a mountain."
JW Randolph, Tennessee director of Appalachian Voices, a group that has been working to pass the anti-mountaintop removal law, welcomed the ad. "We don't care if you're from Bristol or Beijing, blowing up the oldest mountains in America for a few tons of coal is a bad idea," he said.
If it takes Chinese ownership of a mining company to wake people up to the lunacy of mountaintop removal mining, so be it. Whatever it takes to stop the ruination of our mountains is fine with me, even if it's nationalistic xenophobia.
I wonder if any of the good folks who are upset about this Chinese company's mining plans for Tennessee are also worried that the Keystone Pipeline will put American aquifers at risk to refine oil destined for China, or that the majority of our national debt is owned by China?
Sort of doubt it.