We Do It Too
by James Glaser
February 21, 2008

It always seems to happen in foreign countries, and usually the report comes from a third world nation. I'm talking about the wanton destruction of some natural resource for profit. You hear stories about how many square miles of South American Rain Forest is destroyed every day to make room for farming, and to sell the old growth timber. Many times if you follow the story close enough, you will find that some American corporation that has gone international is involved.

Rain forests are a big one, but then there is the over fishing of the oceans, and the massive killing of whales by the Japanese in the name of scientific research. But now there is an even bigger environmental crime taking place, and it is happening right here in the States.

David Roberts wrote a report about "Mountain Top Removal Mining," www.thenation.com/blogs/passingthrough?bid=769 where coal companies are allowed by, surprise, the Bush administration, to do what ever it takes to increase their bottom line.

Mountain ridges and peaks are clear-cut, stripped of all trees and other flora. Explosives are buried underground, and enormous blasts dislodge millions of tons of rock, dirt, soil, and animal and plant life. That "overburden" is then carted away or dumped into the stream and creek beds in the mountain hollows below, destroying or polluting thousands of miles of running water. Huge 20-story-tall draglines pull away the rock to expose coal seams. Similarly huge machines then yank the coal out and dump the remaining waste down into those streams.

That's right, we are blasting away the Smokey Mountains in Appalachia, so that we can get cheap coal, but after the coal is gone, so are the mountains. When American companies do this type of thing in the rest of the world, it is out of sight and therefore out of mind, but now our corporations are so bold, that they are willing to destroy our own country to increase profits.

Yesterday, I wrote a column asking if our country was becoming evil because we torture people. I would have to say that destroying whole mountain ranges is pretty evil any way you look at it. You have to ask yourself, are we crazy or what?

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