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Thought Provoking Piece in “The Economist” Blog

A thought provoking piece was posted yesterday in The Economist’s Democracy in America Blog. It’s entitled “Can’t See the Fire for the Smoke,” and highlights both the different approaches to public-relations employed by Massey Energy and BP in the wake of national tragedies, and the lack of attention either the Upper Big Branch explosion or the Deepwater Horizon blowout have garnered for overarching issues at play.

Regarding the tragedy at Upper Big Branch, the author suggests more attention should be given to the fact that Massey Energy deliberately inflicts disasters on West Virginia every day “as part of its business model.”

The author gives a shout out to the work of Appalachian Voices, Mike Lillis at the Washington Independent, and activist Denny Tyler:

“The pressure group Appalachian Voices has a fantastic Google Earth application that lets you see how mountaintop removal works. You can view it in your browser with a plugin, or in Google Earth with a KML file. Mike Lillis of the Washington Independent has also done tireless reporting on this subject, and local activists like Denny Tyler, a former Massey electrician, have set up their own websites.

While noting that mountaintop removal,

…is annihilating large chunks of the Appalachian Mountains in a manner one doesn’t expect to see outside the third world.”

And that,

It’s simply bizarre that an advanced country with a strong environmentalist record has been allowing this practice to go on; it was prohibitively expensive until a rules change by the Bush administration allowed companies to dump the waste from blowing tops off mountains into adjoining stream valleys.

Click here to read the post in its entirety.

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