In the end, Gunnoe asked the House Committee members to put their illusive job rhetoric into perspective and grasped the magnitude of the human rights crisis in the coalfields: “How could anyone say that these temporary jobs is worth the permanent displacement of our people and the destruction of their waters, mountains and culture?”
She concluded: “”My nephew reminds me of what surface mining looks like from a child’s eyes. As we were driving through our community he looks up and says, ‘Aunt Sissy, what is wrong with these people? Don’t they know we live down here?’ I had to be honest with him and say, ‘Yes, they know. They just simply don’t care.”
Bittman nails the Obama administration today in this surprising (to me) piece on the current trend of profits over environment. He connects a lot of dots, but brings it together in the end. (I’d counter by saying that Obama was in a fix - he has had to choose jobs and stimulus over the environment).
I think this section is worth quoting in full:
Sacrificing the environment for profits didn’t stop with Bush, and it doesn’t stop with genetically modified organisms. Take, for example, the Keystone XL pipeline extension. XL is right: the 36-inch-wide pipeline, which will stretch from the Alberta tar sands across the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast, will cost $7 billion and run for 1,711 miles — more than twice as long as the Alaska pipeline. It will cross nearly 2,000 rivers, the huge wetlands ecosystem called the Nebraska Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer, the country’s biggest underground freshwater supply.
If Keystone is built, we’ll see rising greenhouse gas emissions right away (tar sands production creates three times as many greenhouse gases as does conventional oil), and our increased dependence on fossil fuels will further the likelihood of climate-change disaster. Then there is the disastrous potential of leaks of the non-Wiki-variety. (It’s happened before.)
Proponents say the pipeline will ease gas prices and oil “insecurity.” But domestic drilling has raised, not lowered, oil prices, and as for the insecurity — what we need is to develop wiser ways to use the oil we have.
They say, too, that the pipeline could create 100,000 new jobs. But even the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Transport Workers Union oppose the pipeline, saying, “We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil.”
Sounds as if union officials have been reading the writer and activist Bill McKibben, who calls the pipeline “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent,” and NASA scientist Jim Hansen, who says the oil Keystone will deliver “is essentially game over” for the planet.
Game over? No problem, says the State Department (read the rest below: