Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bill Moyers updates story on mountaintop removal and evangelicals with news of proposed new rule

Last fall, Bill Moyers reported on PBS about evangelical Christians who were implementing their faith to fight the mountaintop-removal strip mining of coal. "Bill Moyers' Journal" updated the report last night, letting viewers know we are in a 60-day comment period on a regulation proposed by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, aimed at eliminating legal barriers to the controversial practice.

Both reports focused on West Virginia and quoted Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch: "I wonder which one of these mountains do you think God will come down here and blow up? Which one of these hollers do you think Jesus would store waste in?" Moyers reported, "Bonds was a raised a Christian, then strayed from the church. This fight, she says, has brought her back to God. . . . Allen Johnson is part of the same campaign. He co-founded an advocacy group Christians for the Mountains." (Photo of Johnson from the Journal)

Johnson said, "Some people say that churches are in the pockets of the coal company. And maybe they want to build a picnic shelter, so the coal company helped -- give a nice donation. I think there are some pointed questions we can ask these churches. And we can ask them, now 'Are you gonna say nothing because you're getting some money?' Or, are you gonna say, 'We don't wanna say anything because somebody in our church is getting their job is connected with the polluters?' And so, you don't . . . say anything. What does that say? Now, justify that scripturally." For a transcript of the report, click here. To watch it, click here.

The Office of Surface Mining, part of the Interior Department, has posted a detailed "fact sheet" responding to news reports and environmentalists' criticism of the agency and its proposed rule. To read it, click here. The agency's news release and "How to Comment" section does not list the deadline for filing comments, but the federal Web site lists the deadline as Oct. 23.

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