Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Opponents of mountaintop-removal mining gain support, but their cause has much room to grow

Opponents of mountaintop-removal mining gained more support in 2009 than in the previous decade, but they have yet to mobilize the millions of supporters they want, The Associated Press reported this week. Social networking, protests and celebrity support are just a few of the strategies they have used to advance the anti-MTR message, but they continue to struggle to overcome the collective indifference of average Americans. This section of Vicki Smith's story stood out to us:

Although the practice may seem tailor-made to stoke public outrage, it lacks a cuddly mascot. Its victims are not photogenic polar bears or spotted owls; they are people and places.

Mountaintop-removal mining occurs in sparsely populated parts of Appalachia, places tourists don't visit. It is rugged, unglamorous country, filled with valuable natural resources, yet slow to inspire passion.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Americans voiced strong opinions on whether oil companies should drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. People cared because the debate pitted $4-per-gallon gasoline against Alaska's majestic, snowcapped mountains.

But there is no sticker shock at the light switch. The cost of electricity has grown slowly and steadily. Tolerably, even. (Read more)

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