Front Porch Blog

National Mining Association And the Rhetoric of Irresponsibility

“The President has parked his tanks on our front lawn”- Luke Popovich of National Mining Association

The Washington Post gave us a big sloppy pile of news-ish Sunday morning about how Appalachian citizens are wary of President Obama’s environmental policies. The authors choose to regurgitate the uber-Appalachian authenticity of Washington DC’s own Luke Popovich (a chief spokesperson for the DC coal lobby) while ignoring the 1000s of Appalachian citizens who have shown their appreciation to President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for “doing their jobs.”

These four paragraphs sum up the rudderlessness incomprehensibility of the article’s narrative, but check out what shock-jock Popovich has to say about protecting Appalachian communities from the inevitable impacts mining coal:

Obama argues that mine owners could afford operations — if they wanted to — that protect the waterways while preserving valuable mining jobs.

Many coal companies didn’t seem to suffer financially in Obama’s first year: Massey Energy, for instance, recorded a $104 million profit despite the recession. But companies say the new guidelines threaten both companies and mining towns.

“You’d be hard pressed to find a president whose actions have been more warlike on coal. There are those who say the president has parked his tanks on our front lawn, and it’s hard to dispute that,” said Luke Popovich of the National Mining Association.

On Sunday, however, Obama will be talking about miners, a subject that unites all parties. Local political experts say he could win favor by promising more federal safety oversight and punishment of coal companies’ offenses.

Mr. Popovich’s rhetoric is astoundingly irresponsible. The NMA’s beltway spokesperson, responsible to ZERO citizens, who lives in Washington DC, indulges in right-wing militaristic fantasy talk about Obama’s personal aggressiveness towards him in vivid 3D detail. In that culture of unaccountability, no wonder then that the NMA encourages mountaintop removal and also fights worker safety regulations at every turn.

Raised on the banks of the Tennessee River, JW's work to create progress in his home state and throughout Appalachia has been featured on the Rachel Maddow Show, The Daily Kos and Grist. He served first as Appalachian Voices’ Legislative Associate and then Tennessee director until leaving to pursue a career in medicine in 2012.


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