I spent a few days down in West Virginia looking into where we in Ontario get much of our coal. It was eye-opening. If you haven't had time to read the article, then check out the slide-show (same page). It's a Cole's Notes version.
One of the most damaging thing about mountaintop removal coal mining is the valley fills it creates. Basically, they lop the top third of a mountain off and then pitch it all into the valley below.
Some people who live in those valleys are understandably upset about it. And they've started to take the companies, and the government to court -- first for doing it, and then for allowing them to do it.
This has inspired a Pro-Coal group in the area called "Friends of Coal." It's funded by Walker Machinery, a company that's in the business of providing mining equipment -- and fixing it -- for these very mines. The owner of the company, Steve Walker, says the locals opposing the mines "range from uninformed citizens to eco-terrorists." The water coming off these mine sites are "almost completely cleaner than the water that's already there," he says.
And then the biggest threat -- without mining, the state will have to turn to gambling to make money.
His company has funded this ad. It's an enlightening picture of American politics around global warming.
-- Catherine Porter