Wednesday, June 06, 2012

House GOPers suggest anti-mining activist's photo of 9-year-old girl in foul water is child pornography

As if things weren't ugly enough in the battle over mountaintop-removal coal mining, The Denver Post reports that leading anti-mining activist Maria Gunnoe of West Virginia was questioned for 45 minutes by U.S. Capitol police on suspicion of child pornography after Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee members or staff, or both, decided a photo she submitted of a 5-year-old girl in bathwater supposedly fouled by coal mining was inappropriate and told the cops.

On his Coal Tattoo blog, Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette writes: "I’m still a little baffled that one of the environmental group lawyers or lobbyists who might have been present at the time didn’t just step in and advise Maria not to go with those police officers unless she was under arrest. Then again, who would have possibly imagined the police going along with something as nutty as this?"

Ward writes, "That a couple of young parents in the richest country in the world — living in a community where untold natural-resource wealth is hauled away every day — don’t have decent water in which to enjoy the wonderful ritual of bath-time with their child?" The outrage has gone viral. On the Ohio Valley's Environmental Coalition's in-house blog, Ward counted four separate posts about the incident. Only grandmother-activist Gunnoe, writing on her Facebook page, said she would like to put it behind her. However, she gave an interview to strip-mining critic Jeff Goodell, who published it with an introduction on the Rolling Stone magazine website.

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