Moving the Mountains – A post-Propagandized View of the Socio-political & Economic-ecological dialogues involving Mountain Top Removal Mining

(Please note, this includes a ‘supplemental resources’ section, along with footnotes and the bibliography)

Matthew Lipscomb

Dr. Heather Palmer

Propaganda & Persuasion, 3/10/2011

2nd Paper: Moving the Mountains – A post-Propagandized View of the Socio-political & Economic-ecological dialogues involving Mountain Top Removal Mining

(Corrected Version)

“Whenever a theory appears to you as the only

possible one, take this as a sign that you

have neither understood the theory nor the

problem which it was intended to solve.”

– Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge:

An Evolutionary Approach (1972)[1]

         Few issues supercharge the emotions as much the issue of Mountain Top Removal. Hailed as a cost-effective[2] and safe way[3] to retrieve the coal necessary for the continued sustenance of the American national economic infrastructure,[4] as well that the creation of suitable areas for economic development[5] (especially in places such as the seemingly ever-contiguous mountain-filled state of West Virginia[6]) – it is thoroughly demonized by most environmentalists, seemingly without any kind of allowable exception[7]. This paper will attempt to deconstruct the propaganda dynamics intrinsic to the ongoing conversations regarding the issue as well as make an attempt to undertake an exploration of the way that it is related through different sectors of the media, respective to both size and general political inclination. Is it a practice that has any proper place at all in the ‘cannon’ of acceptable mining practices[8],[9] – or – is it a mind-numbingly horrific and irredeemably destructive practice that irreparably destroys Mother Nature?[10] This paper will make an attempt to find an objective standard for the interpretation of the facts. The reason for this is based on the assertion that to gain an introspective analysis of the dynamics of the conversation – the message must be decoded, in terms of the biases relative to the sources of the respective articles of information and their related conjectural assertions. In this sense, this paper will attempt to find a ‘post-propaganized’ or non-propaganda influenced position – while also attempting to cast a light on the propaganda dynamics of each side. The goal, therefore, is essentially two-fold – in that an examination will be made of the propaganda dynamics, but also the importance of the issues that serve as their respective ideological motifs.  In the battle for the minds and hearts of ideological constituents – there are rarely those who can rise above the cacophony of the war of ideas: the tug of war between the ‘deep frames’ that battle for legislative protection and action. Is such a thing possible – without devolving into the world of academic ivory tower-speak? Or can we arrive at a non-demagogical conclusion?

         It is an established fact that procuring energy is a costly endeavor. In truth, there are no ‘good’ or ‘easy’ solutions.[11], [12] Wind power – though highly touted as an alternative – remains both costly[13],[14] and ineffective.[15] Hydroelectric power is equally problematic, as it is fraught with potential destruction for the environment for the areas that they encompass.[16] The future viability of nuclear power is being aggressively questioned everywhere.[17] Everyone wants a solution that creates zero discomfort for all involved. It is an incontrovertible fact that this option simply does not exist. This results in a veritably intolerable situation, due to the fact that the questions, implications, and decisions loom both large and offensively against the hopes, dreams, and visions; assumptions, politics, and ideologies of everyone involved. This is commonly referred to as a ‘stasis problem’[18],[19]  – and it is the resultant ‘search for stability’ that is the driving force behind the fervor and intensity between competing ideologies and their concomitant propaganda efforts.

         It is certainly true are that there are in fact some issues that one can afford to ignore. For instance – it is quite possible to detach oneself from any thought towards the civil war going on in Libya,[20] especially if one has no friends or relatives either living there or in the United States Arms forces. Electrical power generation, however, is an issue that, without question, affects everyone. Unless you are a hermit living in the woods – electrical power is critical to your day-to-day life. Something that some people fail to remember is that, even in the years of its early implementation, electrical power proved to be extremely controversial. As talk radio personality ‘professor’ Micho Kaku stated in a recent NPR interview, early critics of electrical power argued that electricity would burn down people’s homes and that people would be unexpectedly electrocuted in their own living rooms. Kaku points out that these outlandish assertions were exactly right – and that all these things really do happen, literally somewhere to someone, every day – but that despite this, we cannot imagine life without electricity.[21] A neighbor’s house burning down and a mountain being forever destroyed may seem like completely incongruent events – but it can be argued that they are, in essence, like-in-kind in their respective ways as well: each was forewarned as potentially inevitable, transpired, and in the collective societal consciousness of some people – accepted as perfectly reasonable, given the relative tradeoff: plenty of electricity. In this sense – this dire warning of the past – seemingly echoes into the future: the cost of continued energy production will be immensely costly to us – but will continue to pay it, without ever even blinking? Will we agree to burn down our own homes in a figurative sense?

         It is arguable, that the larger perspective of mainstream media adheres to this collective sense of there being a sense of an ‘immanent domain against the permanence of nature’  – or that sacrifices have to be made against our environment in the name of progress: we have to be willing to have a few houses burn down; willing to lose a few mountains. This is the consistent backdrop to the majority of discussions in the main stream media about any and all forms of energy procurement and their attendant affects: they are necessary evils – regardless of how evil they in fact are. Many argue that such an argument is representational of the fallacy of special pleading;[22] when someone makes an argument for something claiming objectivity and neutrality – yet still operates from a guiding ideological presupposition.

         If traditional media suffers from a ‘group think’ in terms of overlooking the personal and environmental cost of mountain top removal – then there is, in fact, a dynamic within the media that does serve to naturally evolve and exert itself as an antithesis to it. This dynamic is often expressed by way of the so-called ‘new media’.

         Whereas ‘old media’ has seemingly been comfortable with this potential for of contradictions[23] – the new abhors it.[24] The tendency to embrace the pain and cost in lieu of attaining a subsequent aggregate benefit, along with necessary pain – is owing, perhaps, to the possible platonic ideal that ‘there is a sacrifice to be made to participate in modern culture’. We are understood to give up certain freedoms to enjoy others. This dynamic has been criticized as a veritable totalitarianism-enabling substrate by many political thinkers such as Karl Popper.[25]  One reason that the new media is more reactionary, may owe to the fact that it is generally made up of networks who are smaller both in organizational and purpose-related dimensions – whereas traditional media creates content for the express purpose of filling its pre-ordained, time-slotted moment of dispensation within the larger organizational structure. NBC News, for instance, is a part of a larger organization and shares both resources and potential agendas along with those who would also be behind the production of any given number of their network-related shows. This potentially vast collection of individuals and potentially conflicting, collaborating, or otherwise co-mediating ideologies represents a ‘veritable soup of thought’ that can give expression to a variety of ideological expressions, at any given time, or even imposed financial situation. The ontologically-smaller organizational unit of the New Media stands in contrast with this. Some entities in new media (such as bloggers) can even be considered ‘lone wolves’ because many are essentially ‘one-man ideological shops;’ and have radical freedom to pursue esoteric and even obscure ideological tangents and presuppositions for as long as they can hold their respective pursuer’s fascination. Such inclinations would rarely ever be encouraged by a news desk editor. In fact – in Old Media, reporting assignments are often assigned, and many reporters spend considerable time pursing news reports that they have no personal interest or fascination with at all. Some may argue that this is representational of the strength of the Old vs. the New Media – whereas others will argue that having a passion for ideological presuppositions brings clarity and intensity to both the creation and delivery aspects of media content.

         But how does the new media tend to operate from an ideological perspective? owHowThe so-called ‘new media’ however – is less egalitarian in relation to a cost-benefit dynamic, and less bourgeois in their utilization of it.  In this understanding, they are certainly more proletarian; more ‘working man’: more focused on what the experience is like for the blue collar worker in his or her respective working environment; furthermore, without any consideration, one might argue, for the burden of all the technological resource management that must go into the sustainment of literally everything behind their job: electricity. This potentially conflated, pedestrian view might be considered a non-dialectical understanding of cost-of-fuel-acquisition/generation vs. benefits of the availability of cheap and pervasive electricity; and by this nature – potentially has a singular focus that potentially permeates the whole of its ideological perceptual-interpretive continuum. This archetypical essence plays out through various concepts of this socio-economic demographic – as it relates to their sometimes-myopic concerns. New media may endorse windmills – as long as they are ‘not in my backyard’ – because of the noise pollution they create[26]. They will tout hydroelectric power – as long as no trout are being blocked from seasonal upstream migration.[27] The benefits of this – is that they can provide a laser-like focus on the gravity of the issue(s). The drawbacks are that they sometimes offer no solution other then ‘something else, somewhere else:’ the often derided ‘nimby’[28] mentality.

         If the voice of ‘nimby’ looms large and pervasively in the discussion between mountain top removal and other alternate forms of energy – those both traditional and those innovative/renewable – the intensity of the New Media voice – whether it is speaking potentially in a constructive manner – or a relatively myopic & selfish one, owes its power to distinct and relatively recent changes in the ontologies of media power. No longer does one need a million dollar video editing system – once owned only by news companies and their regional affiliates. Now, all you need is couple thousand dollars and you can buy an HD video camera, a Mac Book Pro laptop, and a video editing suite. A few more hundred dollars buys the html/website builder Dreamweaver – and fifteen dollars a month buys a website where videos and editorials can be posted online for others to see. In the old model – the entire world tuned into one of a handful of nightly news desks. Now  – the world browses facebook accounts, thousands of blogger websites, twitter feeds, or whatever new modality that the internet has recently spawned: social media, news parodies[29] and other ever-evolving, innovative expressions. It is also very important to point out the grass-roots oriented, even ‘lone wolf’ new media entities are not exclusive denizens of any particular block of the ideological-political spectrum. Indeed – they show up all along its continuum, sometimes focuses on all types of issues, both singular and those multidimensional.

         But in what ways does mass media function as propaganda? The older, larger news aggregates generally, arguably function from the before-mentioned Platonic Social Principle. In terms of issues – they might even be described as Aristotelian (in terms of their thought processes as they would relate to complicated issues) – as Aristotle was understood to have once said “the mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”[30] These dynamics of allowable compromise for the purposes of creating a mutually held social contract (Social Platonism) and allowable contradictions in ideas discussed within it (Aristotelian Intellectual Diversity) informs both the function and power of mass media in terms of that which is generally larger and more established (such as the traditional networks).  Because of the grass-roots nature of the “new media” – and especially owing to their own self-sufficiency (in terms of ownership and direction) – they are sometimes ‘the rouge agents’ in shaping political discourse and the control of politics. This same contradiction – in terms of huge differences between Old/New Media expressions (both in power-ontologies[31] and ideological-content derivitatives[32]) – is, in a sense, sublimated into the whole of the larger discourse; as for those who hold to the Aristotelian view of the inevitable consideration of opposed/oppositional positions[33] (if not the crucially necessity thereof) – diversities of power and ideology make for a greater strength in terms of the political and ideological integrity and sustenance of the whole. To others – however – this is just sophistic, ivory tower, academic double-speak; engineered for the rich, powerful, technocratic bourgeois to foist their agendas upon the unsuspecting proletariat.  It might be argued that, because of this – the ‘old media’ is more comfortable alongside the ‘new’ then the ‘new’ is alongside the ‘old’. Whereas the old may see the new as being conducive and informing – the new may see the old as, at best, merely being in the way – and at worst; deceptive, manipulative and intrinsically evil.

         Mountain Top Removal activists incorporate a distinct dimension of emotion into their efforts. As most mainstream coverage will provide a dichotomatic (intrinsically two-sided)/dialectical [the two extremes guide and form a new synthesis/path]) approach[34] – their manner of presentation almost always appeals directly to the heart;[35] a technique which is often accused of being an Emotional Appeal Fallacy.[36] Indeed- when they are at their very best – Mountain Top Removal documentaries literally pull at the heartstrings.[37] But is this a viable approach? What of the spate of accidents and deaths in underground mines?[38] Can these issues merely be resolved to poor safety and compliance[39] on the part of mining operators?[40] Despite its environmental impact – is it safer – regardless of the efficiency and affectivity of any reform of present mining safety law?[41] In addition to this – the recent earthquake in Japan and the subsequent nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant,[42] have caused a tremendous backlash against both present and future nuclear power generation ambitions.[43] As a backdrop against all of this, Coal Advocacy remains in high gear.[44] Most fatalities come from deep mining efforts. A new ‘reality show’ by Spike TV gives a nitty, gritty in-your-face reality television-oriented picture of life in the mines.[45], [46]          Surface mining has proven to be much safer. If it is imperative that coal be acquired, as it obviously is (at least for now – environmental/political/economic realities aside) then is it worth endangering (and thusly, eventually losing) more lives to save more mountains? Some may argue that this represents an Appeal to Fear or Scare Tactic[47] Fallacy. Others would argue that deep mine fatalities have and will continue to be incurred – even in the face of thorough mine safety regulation, arguing that the only way to get coal with maximum potential safetly is to stay out of deep mines and that the idea of surface mining being much safer for those mining it is in no way an Inductive Leap Fallacy – or the product of Non Sequitor or Hasty Conclusion[48] thinking.

         Everyone who has spent a degree of time in the American workplace has eventually (at least once) been in a meeting with a supervisor or upper management, where multiple problems and respective solutions were presented. Sometimes such a meeting goes well – and all parties agree on the beneficence of adopting a certain, agreed upon approach. However – sometimes, no one agrees on how to properly deal with the situation – and the supervisor responds with arbitrary heavy-handedness; I simply just don’t care how it gets done – it just has to get done, regardless. There is no doubt, that this is the backdrop to the current situation regarding the acquisition/mining of coal and its use for power generation. The prospects for a unified front, in terms of a mutually agreed on energy policy is becoming ever more elusive. The voices for and/or against virtually every dimension of energy creation/provision – are sounding more and more shrill. This only adds the divisiveness and the frustration that the issue provokes. Regardless of how present choices can positively influence the long-term or even short-term future – the present situation is unchangeable. Coal must be mined – and mined in vast quantities. It is desperately needed now and right now. If disparate ideological groups can find a presently illusive consensus, then there can be a choice. Perhaps – a choice sooner – rather then one much later. But continued bickering and ideological intransigence potentially only serves to exacerbate the problem and delay potential solutions. With an ever-increasing demand and a dearth of innovation – supply will potentially diminish exponentially – and unless Americans are prepared for radical or even catastrophic event inducing-like power reduction scenarios, then more and more desperate and even drastic measures will be employed. When rolling blackouts are being employed to conserve energy – it is less likely that anyone will care about any mountains anywhere being destroyed in whatever way.

         Much of the old/mainstream media remains pragmatic and solutions-driven. Much of the new media, because of its grass-roots and emotionalism, remains bound to a single-issue mindset. ‘Nimby’[49] becomes ‘Notnaom’[50] or even ‘Nehnae’.[51] It is my honest opinion that great fault lies on both sides. Both are committed to a no-nonsense, no-compromise approach to the ideological opposition. It is unlikely that this will ever fully change into a different kind of arraignment. This may truly prove to be one of the great American Tragedies; it is fearful to consider how far down a self-destructive path we will literally fall – before we start to make necessary and critical decision toward a better, more truly responsible future regarding both our energy consumption and our acquiring of respective sources.

         But how does this intractability, in terms of a relational rapprochement, resolve back to their respective roles as ‘forums for public debate’? Is there actually any dialogue taking place? Or is one merely ignoring the other – while still shouting out its own agenda? It is likely that the issue of Mountain Top Removal suffers from a very real stasis problem: the task of finding solid, defendable definitions/positions is and will remain extraordinarily difficult. Part of this problem owes to the essentially situational dynamics. Another part owes to the people involved themselves. Both people and businesses often operate on presuppositional metanarratives that inform their respective ideological orientations – which function outside of and regardless of secondary, specific situational contexts. There are businessmen and women who believe that the only force that should ever guide a business is the search for the ‘almighty dollar’. On the environmentalist side, there are activists who unashamedly co-opt the environmental discussion for the purposes of an advancement of their own political ideologies/power quests. Potentially, they care absolutely nothing about the environment – and only see it as a tool to advance their way of seeing things. In recent years, many Socialists and Marxist-oriented thinkers have openly become self-referential in this regard; openly calling themselves ‘watermelons:’[52] green [environmentally-oriented] on the outside, red [Socialist/Marxist/Leftist/Progressive] on the inside.[53] In this regard, such behavior is counterproductive to any constructive public debate.  When manifest in such forms, there is little room for any actual discussion, only the pursuit of foreordained and previously adopted positions and agendas. Furthermore – the ‘co-opting’ of such issues by political parties – who see them only as representing means-to-power ontologies – represents a profound abuse of them. When the issue is something that is an essentially sacred public trust (as is the intrinsic nature of such things, regardless if the public is cognizant of the reality or not) – then it inflicts even more ruthless damage to the dichotomy of public involvement and awareness. If – for instance – Global Warming were proven to be a systematically orchestrated fraud on the part of corporate and/or political opportunists; engineered with the express purpose of creating opportunities to exert more control over and corporate financial beneficence from the common public, then when a real and credible threat evolves – it will be readily dismissed by those who were previously victimized by those they would then see warning them. It is not a question of whether or not political ideologues and corporate interests have in fact employed subterfuge to advance ideological and financial objectives. Rather it is only a question of how many, and if that number has been significant enough to actually be of any influence in terms of any global or national corporate/political power ontologies.

         There is, however, also a multiplicity of dynamics that potentially supersede such ideological ‘hardheadedness’ on the part of those who disdain any actual conversation betwixt oppositional parties. In terms of the larger public discourse, such entities may inadvertently and non-purposefully advance the conversation out of no willingness[54] to do so on their own part. No one person or agency can possibly control, coordinate or predict all possible outcomes. There is always the potential for an independent dialectic to emerge in the imagination of the public, one beholden to the ongoing ‘firefight’[55] – which, potentially, can serve as a sort of archeological tool, in terms of its excavation of ideas and explorations of past, present and future possibilities. Even if all who are doing the talking refuse to listen to each other – those in the public sphere, existing on the periphery of the conversation, can and often do listen in on what is said. And it can be argued that it is these passions and imaginations that most genuinely (and appropriately) guide the conversations forward and potentially create new solutions. This ‘meta-level dialectic’ is perhaps the most unpredictable, yet most crucially important dynamic in both the issue of Mountain Top Removal, a host of other thorny issues.

         A second reality is that not everyone genuinely dislikes hearing what the opposition has to say. Within some vectors of the conversation, a true inter-relational, communication can spark the dialectical light, in such a way that it actually can cast an innovative light into the shadows.  The how and when such a dialectic is present – when it is inadvertent (and embodied within the imagination of the peripherally observant public) and when it actually is a shared experienced between parties openly and aggressively seeking a mutually beneficial synthesis[56] between their respective Hegelian thesis/antithesis counterparts – cannot be accurately predicted. In fact, it is very likely that any attempts on the part of a strong-armed agency acting as a ‘fairness agent’ to force such parties to create a dialectic synthesis/degree of communication, would probably force it (the dialectic) to only manifest only on a larger meta-level: only as a tool to be embraced or rejected, on the part of the potentially ‘disinterested observers’/the public watching the gridlock from a distance. For this reason – it is likely that any use of a ‘Fairness Doctrine’ would merely degenerate into ‘fairness procedures’ weighing heavily either to the thesis or the antithesis sides – and not into the desired ‘synthetic mean;’ where they actually meet together and create something genuinely new. It is the opinion of this observer, that the only real foundation that can be found, in terms of continual ontological assurity, is a genuine dialogue between the two.

         In terms of any media bias, I was unable to locate any resources that purported to be able to consistently demonstrate where any mainstream newspapers consistently demonstrated bias. I did find an article where the allegations were made against a newspaper, but after a couple of days, the page on the site that made the accusation seemed to have gone down mysteriously.[57] For several weeks, I did make an effort to carefully look for any references to “Mountain Top Removal” in the local papers. On Wednesday, March 23, 2011 the Chattanooga News Free Press did run an article from the Associated Press entitled U.S. opens coal area to mining. The article appeared on page A9. It does not reference Mountain Top Removal specifically – but rather eluded to the area as being in the Powder River Basin. It stated that 40 percent of the nation’s coal comes from Wyoming, that the area is expected to yield 758 millions tons of coal, and that it will subsequently take 10 to 20 years to fully mine.  The article references the current Japanese nuclear crisis and “coal’s own baggage – especially when it comes to climate change,” further stating that coal from the Wyoming’s Powder River Basin accounts for 14 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.[58] The article makes no reference to any local environmental impacts. Online research revealed several websites detailing the nature and history of the Powder River Mines, both governmental,[59] and apparently advocacy-oriented.[60] There is apparently some degree of concern among local Indian tribes regarding water quality issues,[61] and an article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Sierra Club[62] Executive Director Michael Brune, wherein he describes the recent licensures as “giveaways,”[63] and references research related to mercury poisoning that claims that coal results in 300,000 otherwise preventable birth defects.[64] Another article by Earthworks states that the EPA has “confirmed drinking water contamination by toxins”[65] because of ‘fracking’[66] efforts at the Powder River Mines. Efforts to contact local activist groups, such the Sequatchie Valley Institute[67] did not yield any results. This, of course, may be owing to the limited amount of time during which this project was carried out.

         In closing, my family traces much of its own history along with the history of West Virginia.[68],[69] A part of this history is that of the brutal, and savage logging that took place in the past.[70] Those who never had a chance to ever even see them, can only imagine what the virgin forests of timber would have looked like. They can only be dreamed about in terms of their immeasurable beauty. They are gone forever.[71] Recent studies submitted and published online by the West Virginia Forestry Association contend that “Forestry as profession” has been wrongly villainized[72] and that many of the topics related the state’s logging history have been misrepresented and inappropriately contextualized.[73] Will this eventually also be the story of West Virginia’s mountains? Will they be relegated to an explanation that they were appropriately done away with – in the name of progress? We cannot afford any knee-jerk reactions when it comes to any form of energy production – or the way that it is respectively procured.[74] Environmentalism must have sincere[75] and unadulterated passion. Anything less cannot be tolerated. It is intellectually disingenuous to claim that all mining in any form is a form of rape. If Mountain Top Removal is to be considered, then it must be considered and weighed in terms of all its benefits and costs thoughtfully and thoroughly. If the past provides any clue towards the future – the future depends on it more then we can know today.


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MSNBC. Mine owner ran up serious violations Massey Energy and its CEO center of political controversy. 2010, 6-April. MSNBC.com. 2011, 28-March <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36202623/ns/us_news-life/&gt;.

NPR. Is Nuclear Energy The Best Alternative? NPR. 2011, 23-March. 2011, 28-March <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134794862&gt;.

—. Are Nuclear Plants Safe? Environmentalists Are Split. 2011, 28-March <http://www.npr.org/2011/03/28/134863507/are-nuclear-plants-safe-environmentalists-are-split >.

—. Imagining the U.S. Without Nuclear Power. 2011, 24-March. NPR. 2011, 28-March <http://www.npr.org/2011/03/24/134827595/imagining-the-u-s-without-nuclear-power&gt;.

—. No Flying Car, But How About An Invisibility Cloak? : NPR. 2011 йил 28-March. 2011, 28-March <http://www.npr.org/2011/03/26/134600339/no-flying-car-but-how-about-an-invisibility-cloak&gt;.

Page, The Quotations. Quote Details: Aristotle: It is the Mark… – The Quotations Page. The Quotations Page. 2011, 28-March <http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/1152.html&gt;.

Planet Energies. The future of coal: disadvantages and advantages of coal. 2011, 28-March <http://www.planete-energies.com/content/coal/future.html&gt;.

Popper, Karl. Whenever a theory appears to you…(Karl Popper). 2010 йил 30-9. 2011, 28-3 <http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=433737&gt;.

PSFK. What the frack? US natural gas drilling method contaminates water – PSFK. 2011, 28-February. PSKF. 2011 йил 28-March <http://www.psfk.com/2011/02/what-is-fracking.html&gt;.

SBA Office of Advocacy. Stream Buffer Zone and Related Rules. 2009. SBA Advocacy. 2011, 28-March <http://archive.sba.gov/advo/laws/comments/doi09_1216.html&gt;.

Sequatchie Valley Institute. Sequatchie Valley Institute – research and education is sustainable living. 2011, 28-March <http://svionline.org/&gt;.

Show, Diane Rehm. Japan’s Nuclear Crisis and Its Impact on the Nuclear Industry. 2011, 17-March. 2011, 28-March <http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-03-17/japans-nuclear-crisis-and-its-impact-nuclear-industry-0&gt;.

Spike TV. COAL | Thom Beers Reality Show About Coal Miners | Full Episodes | Spike. SPIKE. 1 May 2011 <http://www.spike.com/shows/coal&gt;.

SPIKE TV. Youtube – Coal Trailer. YouTube. 2 May 2011 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk4PB8rHjq4&gt;.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Plato’s Ethics and Politics in The Republic (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). 2009, 31-August. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2011, 28-March <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-ethics-politics/&gt;.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. Powder River Basin Coal. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. 2011, 28-March <http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/ energy/Coal_Resources/PRB_Coal.html>.

United States Department of Labor. Coal Mine Safety and Health. United States Department of Labor. 2011, 2011-March <http://www.msha.gov/programs/coal.htm&gt;.

USA Today. “ Knee-jerks and nukes, Cal and Bob agree that despite the chorus of hand-wringers, it would be foolish to give up on nuclear power plants in the wake of Japan’s tragedy. USA TODAY, Thursday, March 24, 2011, pg. 11A. .” USA Today 2011, Thursday, 24th-March.

—. “What ‘Earth Hour’ backers don’t have: a real vision.” USA Today 2011, March.

Watkinson, Jane. Ed Miliband’s speech and politial fruit making (progressive watermelons). 2010, 20-September. 2011, 28-March <http://janespoliticalramblings.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/ed-milibands-speech-and-political-fruit-making-progressive-watermelons/&gt;.

West Virginia Coal Association. 2010 Coal Facts. 2010. West Virginia Coal Association. 2011, 3 <http://www.wvcoal.com/201012182463/2010-coal-facts.html&gt;.

—. Mining Symposium 2011 Draws Huge Crowd | Latest | News. 2011 йил 11-February. 2011, 28-March <http://www.wvcoal.com/201102112644/Latest/mining-symposium-2011-draws-huge-crowd.html&gt;.

West Virginia Forestry Association. 2001. West Virginia Forestry Association. 2011, 28-March <http://www.wvfa.org/pdf/factsheets/FACT%20SHEET%20%20No.%201.pdf&gt;.

—. West Virginia Forestry Association – Forestry Fact Sheets. 2011, 28-March <http://www.wvfa.org/forestry-facts-sheets.html&gt;.

West Virginia Humanities Council. e-WV | Mountain Top Mining. 2011, 28-3 <http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1530&gt;.

Wild Trout and Salmon Genetics Laboratory, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812. 2010. LUKAS P. NERAAS and PAUL SPRUELL. 2011, 28-March <http://golab.unl.edu/teaching/Lindoia/ Neraas2001_FragmentationRiverine.pdf>.

Windustry® & Great Plains Windustry Project. How much do wind turbines cost? | Windustry. Windustry® & Great Plains Windustry Project. 2011, 28-March <http://www.windustry.org/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost&gt;.

wordnetweb.princeton.edu/. WordNet Search 3.0. WordNet Search – 3.0. 2011, 2011-March <http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=nimby&gt;.

Youtube.com. Youtube.com – Mountaintop-Removal Mining CNN LOVES BIG COAL. 2008, 8-June. 2011, 28-March <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqeqVx29DMc&gt;.

Supplemental References

http://www.patc.us/history/archive/virg_fst.html
A website that covers the history of some of the logging operations that took place in West Virgina, as well as how large many of the old growth timber that was cut down.

http://www.msrlha.org/

The Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association

http://www.shaylocomotives.com/surviving/SLc-Survivors.htm

In order to log the mountainous regions of West Virgina, a specialized type of steam locamotive was invented, which featured a worm-gear driven drive assembly, vs. the classic steam engine setup.

http://www.counterpunch.org/roselle01262010.html

Photography of Mountain Top Removal projects in process.

Launch statement of Green Left

(From http://thewatermelon.wordpress.com/headcorn-declaration/)

Green Left has been launched as a network for socialists and other radicals in the Green Party of England and Wales. It will act as an outreach body that will communicate the party’s radical policies to socialists and other anti-capitalists outside the party.

Green Left (GL) is based on the assumption that capitalism is a system that wrecks the planet and promotes war. A green society must be based on economic, political and social justice. GL in short works to promote ecosocialism as a solution to our planetary ills.

GL supports the democratic structures in the party and encourages transparency, accountability and engagement in all organs of the party. We also see the Green Party as a ‘bottom up’ political organization where the principles of the membership are paramount and not a ‘top down’ one where a self-designated political elite decide on policies and principles.

GL aims to increase and improve the international links of the Green Party, building links with radical greens and ecosocialists across the planet. It will work closely with members of other European Green Parties to reform the workings of the European Green Party structures that must be democratised. Green politics must realise the slogan ‘think globally, act locally’ by linking practical local campaigns to global issues of ecology, democracy, justice and liberation.

GL aims to act within the Green Party so as to raise Green Party politics to meet the demands of its radical policies. Green politics needs to be based on dynamic campaigning and hard intellectual groundwork to create workable alternatives.

GL aims to build regional campaigns and contribute to coalition-building through coherent alignments and open discussion with progressive anti-capitalists. The movement that is required to address the issues across Britain, Europe and the world will not be the sole preserve of one party. The movement requires the development of united action by progressive forces including organisations formed by working people to defend their interests in the workplace. Within this diverse movement GL will stand firmly in favour of the libertarian and democratic traditions of ecosocialism.

It is vitally important that the Green Party works to develop the continuing peace, environmental and social movements. An orientation to organised working people through the Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) also requires maximum support from GL, with the emphasis on supporting radical and rank and file currents in the unions. Likewise, GL should seek to promote organisation and solidarity amongst currently unorganised and marginalised groups.

GL will work to enhance Green Party contributions to demonstrations, marches and other solidarity events. Greens must be active on issues that affect ordinary working people in their everyday lives and aim to be known as amongst their strongest defenders.

While GL is keen to build links with members of faith communities, and to fight alongside them against intolerance and discrimination, it will not compromise on human rights – including issues concerning women, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, and people with disabilities.

Since the activism of William Morris in the Social Democratic Federation and Socialist League in the late nineteenth century, there has been an ecosocialist tradition in Britain. Green Left believes that ecosocialism provides an alternative to a society based on alienation, economic exploitation, corporate rule, ecological destruction and wars. Our analysis demands that in the best tradition of the historic left we ‘agitate, educate and organize’ to build such an alternative.

The time has come for drawing together forces that can present a serious challenge to the disastrous neo-liberal project. We believe that ‘another world is possible’, based on ecological and socialist values. In conclusion, Green Left would work to enable you to live in a society based on peace, ecological balance, economic equality and inclusion.


[1] Karl Popper, Whenever a theory appears to you…(Karl Popper), 30 9 2010, 28 3 2011 <http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=433737&gt;.

[2] Fossil Fuel Resources, Fossill Fuel >> Featured >> Coal Frequently Asked Questions, Fossil Fuel Resources, <http://fossil-fuel.co.uk/coal-frequently-asked-questions&gt;.

[3] Fossil Fuel Resources, Fossill Fuel >> Featured >> Coal Frequently Asked Questions, Fossil Fuel Resources, <http://fossil-fuel.co.uk/coal-frequently-asked-questions&gt;.

[4] West Virginia Coal Association, 2010 Coal Facts, 2010, West Virginia Coal Association, 3 2011 <http://www.wvcoal.com/201012182463/2010-coal-facts.html&gt;.

[5] West Virginia Humanities Council, e-WV | Mountain Top Mining, 28 3 2011 <http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1530&gt;.

[6] According to Mountain Top Mining: Viewpoint, published by Walker Cat, previous mountain top removal projects have resulted in numerous economic developments such as Twisted Gun Golf Course, Logan County Airport, Mylan Park Baseball Fields, Boone County Wetlands, Southern WV Recreation Area, Southwestern Regional Jail, Mount Olive Prison, and the community shopping Mall in Bridgeport, WV. Are all projects that resulted from the land reclaimed for development, which prior to mining was unusable for any developmental potential. West Virginia Coal Association & Walker Cat, Mountaintop Mining Viewpoint –, 28 March 2011 <http://www.wvcoal.com/attachments/909_WALKER%20MMV%20LOW%20RES.pdf&gt;.

[7] CNN Politics, Protesters arrested outside the White House – CNN, 27 September 2010, CNN Politics, 28 3 2011 <http://articles.cnn.com/2010-09-27/politics/white.house.protest_1_mountaintop-removal-coal-mining-protesters?_s=PM:POLITICS&gt;.

[8] SBA Office of Advocacy, Stream Buffer Zone and Related Rules, 2009, SBA Advocacy, 28 March 2011 <http://archive.sba.gov/advo/laws/comments/doi09_1216.html&gt;.

[9] Planet Energies, The future of coal: disadvantages and advantages of coal, 28 March 2011 <http://www.planete-energies.com/content/coal/future.html&gt;.

[10] Coal River Mountain Watch, Save Coal River Mountain! | Coal River Mountain Watch, 28 March 2011 <http://www.crmw.net/crmw/savecoalrivermountain&gt;.

[11] NPR, Are Nuclear Plants Safe? Environmentalists Are Split, 28 March 2011 <http://www.npr.org/2011/03/28/134863507/are-nuclear-plants-safe-environmentalists-are-split >.

[12] Diane Rehm Show, Japan’s Nuclear Crisis and Its Impact on the Nuclear Industry, 17 March 2011, 28 March 2011 <http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-03-17/japans-nuclear-crisis-and-its-impact-nuclear-industry-0&gt;.

[13] Windustry® & Great Plains Windustry Project, How much do wind turbines cost? | Windustry, Windustry® & Great Plains Windustry Project, 28 March 2011 <http://www.windustry.org/how-much-do-wind-turbines-cost&gt;.

[14] Robert L. Bradley Jr., RENEWABLE ENERGY Not Cheap, Not “Green” – The Problems of Wind Power, 27 August 1997, Cato Policy Analysis No. 280, 28 March 2011 <http://www.mensetmanus.net/windpower/cato/probwind.shtml&gt;.

[15] Clean Energy Ideas, A Wind Turbines Impact On The Surrounding Environment, 28 March 2011 <http://www.clean-energy-ideas.com/articles/wind_turbines_impact.html&gt;.

[16] Alternative Energy Sources, Disadvantages of Hydropower – Not Just Water Over the Dam, 28 March 2011 <http://www.alternative-energy-resources.net/disadvantages-of-hydropower.html&gt;.

[17] NPR, Is Nuclear Energy The Best Alternative? NPR, 23 March 2011, 28 March 2011 <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134794862&gt;.

[20] Fox News Corporation, Obama Defends Military Mission in Libya, Says U.S. Acted to ‘Prevent a Massacre’, 28 March 2011, 28 March 2011 <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/03/28/obama-delivers-address-nation-libya-intervention/ >.

[21] “Some people might not be all that excited about these new technologies, Kaku admits. They might be frightened. But he points to the example of electricity — when it was first introduced, people found it intrusive and dangerous. And the dangers were real; electricity does cause frequent deaths and fires. “And you know something? We love it,” Kaku says. “You get used to it. And later you say to yourself, how could I have lived without it?” From NPR, No Flying Car, But How About An Invisibility Cloak? : NPR, 28 March 2011, 28 March 2011 <http://www.npr.org/2011/03/26/134600339/no-flying-car-but-how-about-an-invisibility-cloak&gt;.

[22] Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy, The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric, pg. 294. Donald Lazere, Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy, The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2005).

[23] Youtube.com, Youtube.com – Mountaintop-Removal Mining CNN LOVES BIG COAL, 8 June 2008, 28 March 2011 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqeqVx29DMc&gt;. Youtube.com, Youtube.com – Mountaintop-Removal Mining CNN LOVES BIG COAL, 8 June 2008, 28 March 2011 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqeqVx29DMc&gt;.

A CNN video story that seems to be fairly balanced in its presentation of both sides.

[24] Democracy Now!, The Struggle Against Mountain Top Removal: Leading Activist Mike Roselle Continues Fight Against Destructive Coal Mining, 9 April 2009, Democracy Now!, 28 March 2011 <http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/8/the_struggle_against_mountaintop_removal_leading&gt;. An interview with Earth First co-founder and activist Mike Roselle by Democracy NOW! From April 08, 2009.

Earth First is considered a terrorist organization by the Anti-Defamation League, because of their sponsor of so-called eco-terrorism. Anti-Defamation League, Ecoterrorism: Extremism in the Animal Rights and Environmentalist Movements, ADF, 28 March 2011 <http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/ecoterrorism.asp?learn_cat=extremism&learn_subcat=extremism_in_america&xpicked=4&item=eco&gt;.

[25] “Some of the most heated discussions of the politics of Plato’s Republic have surrounded the charge of totalitarianism famously advanced by Karl Popper (in The Open Society and its Enemies). Like the other “isms” we have been considering, totalitarianism applies to the Republic only conditionally, depending on the definition of ‘totalitarianism’ offered. But it is worth thinking through the various ways in which this charge might be made, to clarify the way the philosopher-rulers wield political authority over the rest of the city.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Plato’s Ethics and Politics in The Republic (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy), 31 August 2009, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 28 March 2011 <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-ethics-politics/&gt;.

[26] Clean Energy Ideas, A Wind Turbines Impact On The Surrounding Environment, 28 March 2011 <http://www.clean-energy-ideas.com/articles/wind_turbines_impact.html&gt;.

[27] Wild Trout and Salmon Genetics Laboratory, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, 2010, LUKAS P. NERAAS and PAUL SPRUELL, 28 March 2011 <http://golab.unl.edu/teaching/Lindoia/ Neraas2001_FragmentationRiverine.pdf>.

[28] wordnetweb.princeton.edu/, WordNet Search 3.0, WordNet Search – 3.0, 2011 March 2011 <http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=nimby&gt;.

[29] Coal Comfort – Margaret Palmer – The Colbert Rerport – 1/18/10 – Video Clip | Comedy Central, 18 January 2010, Comedy Central, 28 March 2011 <http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/261997/january-18-2010/coal-comfort—margaret-palmer >.Mountain Top Removal from the perspective of Stephen Colbert.

[30] The Quotations Page, Quote Details: Aristotle: It is the Mark… – The Quotations Page, The Quotations Page, 28 March 2011 <http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/1152.html&gt;.

[31] Here the term ‘Power-ontology’ refers to any given one of the various expressions of power expressed in various but archetypically unique but groupable ways. For instance, a media company leverages/exerts various types of power; Propagandal (ideological), Advertisement (refusal to air/accept advertising from certain ‘controversial’ advertisers, and Social (writing in social or atypical social norms as normal or lampoonable into sitcom scripts).

[32]  The generated media content and/or Power-ontologies directly (or indirectly) derived from individual (as in the case of very small [lone-wolf] “new media” content proviers) or corporate-entity ideological/”corporate culture” (those held on a large-scale, group-think level) presuppositions.

[33] See previous quote regarding the ‘…ability to entertain a thought without excepting it.”

[34] Youtube.com, Youtube.com – Mountaintop-Removal Mining CNN LOVES BIG COAL, 8 June 2008, 28 March 2011 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqeqVx29DMc&gt;.

[35] Bill Haney, The Last Mountain, Bill Haney, 28 March 2011 <http://thelastmountainmovie.com/&gt;.

[36] Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy, The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric, pg. 291.

[37] Coal River Mountain Watch, Save Coal River Mountain! | Coal River Mountain Watch, 28 March 2011 <http://www.crmw.net/crmw/savecoalrivermountain&gt;.

[38] MSNBC, Mine owner ran up serious violations Massey Energy and its CEO center of political controversy, 6 April 2010, MSNBC.com, 28 March 2011 <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36202623/ns/us_news-life/&gt;.

[39] United States Department of Labor, Coal Mine Safety and Health , United States Department of Labor, <http://www.msha.gov/programs/coal.htm&gt;.

[40] Forbes.com, Massey’s Long History of Coal Mine Violations, 6 April 2010, 28 March 2011 <http://blogs.forbes.com/energysource/2010/04/06/masseys-long-history-of-coal-mine-violations/&gt;.

[41] West Virginia Coal Association, Mining Symposium 2011 Draws Huge Crowd | Latest | News, 11 February 2011, 28 March 2011 <http://www.wvcoal.com/201102112644/Latest/mining-symposium-2011-draws-huge-crowd.html&gt;.

[42] ABC News, Japan Nuclear Crisis Close to Stabilizing, U.S. Official Says – ABC NEWS, 21 March 2011, ABC NEWS, 28 March 2011 <http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/japan-nuclear-crisis-close-stabilizing-us-official/story?id=13184684&gt;.

[43] NPR, Imagining the U.S. Without Nuclear Power, 24 March 2011, NPR, 28 March 2011 <http://www.npr.org/2011/03/24/134827595/imagining-the-u-s-without-nuclear-power&gt;.

[44] West Virginia Coal Association, 2010 Coal Facts, 2010, West Virginia Coal Association, 3 2011 <http://www.wvcoal.com/201012182463/2010-coal-facts.html&gt;.

[46] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk4PB8rHjq4 Trailer for Spike TV’s Coal.

[47] Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy, The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric, pg. 290.

[48] Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy, The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric, pg. 292.

[49] ‘Not In My BackYard.’

[50] ‘Not On This, Nor Any Other Mountain.’

[51] ‘Not Ever Here, Nor Anywhere Else.’

[52] Jane Watkinson, Ed Miliband’s speech and politial fruit making (progressive watermelons), 20 September 2010, 28 March 2011 <http://janespoliticalramblings.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/ed-milibands-speech-and-political-fruit-making-progressive-watermelons/&gt;.

[53] Green Left, ecosocialist manifesto << Green Left, September 2001, 28 March 2011 <http://thewatermelon.wordpress.com/homepage/&gt;.
Please see attached “Headcorn Declaration.”

[54] Huffington Post, Mountain Top Removal, Huffington Post, 28 March 2011 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/mountaintop-removal >.
A search on the liberal-leaning Huffington Post reveals a large collection of articles with a decidedly strong bias against Mountain Top Removal.

[55] Jeff Biggers: Governor’s Sit-In Day Two: Why Kentucky Can’t Wait, 12 February 2011, Huffington Poset, 28 March 2011 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-biggers/governors-sit-in-day-two_b_822327.html >.An example of a typical Mountain Top Removal advocacy article from Huffingtonpost.com

[56] CNN, The battle over Coal River Mountain, 7 October 2008, CNN, 28 March 2011 <http://articles.cnn.com/2008-10-07/us/coal.river_1_coal-river-mountain-watch-mountaintop-removal-coal-miners?_s=PM:US&gt;.

An article from CNN that discusses one groups attempt to advance the idea of wind power over the destruction of a mountain for its coal.

[57] http://endmtr.com/2010/03/04/boycott-the-logan-banner/ (Offline at the time of this writing – found during initial research for this paper.)

[58] Chattanooga News Free Press, “U.S. Opens coal area to mining,” Chattanooga News Free Press 23 March 2011.

[59] U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, Powder River Basin Coal, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, 28 March 2011 <http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/ energy/Coal_Resources/PRB_Coal.html>.

[60] PE and Ken Wicker Dr. Robert Peltier, http://www.prbcoals.com, PRB Coal Group, 28 March 2011 <http://www.prbcoals.com/pdf/PRBCoalInformation/Power-Oct03-PRBCoal.pdf&gt;.

[61] Missoulian.com, Northern Cheyenne Tribe wants water pollution limits in Powder River Basin, Missoulian.com, 2011 March 2011 <http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_4566099e-8772-11de-8a85-001cc4c03286.html&gt;.

[63] Michael Brune, The Powder River Basis: A big coal giveaway : Michael Brune : Bright Lights, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 March 2011 <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/mbrune/detail?entry_id=85773&gt;.

[64] EPA.gov, EPA.gov, 2011 March 2011 <http://www.epa.gov/mercury/exposure.htm&gt;.

[65] Earthworks, Earthworks – EPA Confirms Drinking Water Contamination by Toxics Used in Hydraulic Fracturing, 14 August 2009, 28 March 2011 <http://www.earthworksaction.org/PR_EPApavillionDrinkingWater.cfm&gt;.

[66] PSFK, What the frack? US natural gass drilling method contaminates water – PSFK, 28 February 2011, PSKF, 28 March 2011 <http://www.psfk.com/2011/02/what-is-fracking.html&gt;.

[67] Sequatchie Valley Institute, Sequatchie Valley Institute – research and education is sustainable living, 28 March 2011 <http://svionline.org/&gt;.

[68] Matthew Lipscomb, Facebook, 28 March 2011 <http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=414606034932&set=a.36956129932.43676.662019932&theater. >. Veteran’s Memorial in Parsons, West Virgina.

[71] Andy Hilz, Logging the Virgin Forests of West Virginia, 28 March 2011 <http://www.patc.us/history/archive/virg_fst.html&gt;.

[72] West Virginia Forestry Association, West Virginia Forestry Association – Forestry Fact Sheets, 28 March 2011 <http://www.wvfa.org/forestry-facts-sheets.html&gt;.

[73] “By the end of the 19th century, West Virginia was overwhelmingly a state of largely self-sufficient farms. It was never clear-cut from border to border by lumber barons as is often stated. Perhaps as much as half the state was in farms before the advent of the lumber barons.” West Virginia Forestry Association, 2001, West Virginia Forestry Association, 28 March 2011 <http://www.wvfa.org/pdf/factsheets/FACT%20SHEET%20%20No.%201.pdf&gt;.

[74] USA Today, Knee-jerks and nukes, Cal and Bob agree that despite the chorus of hand-wringers, it would be foolish to give up on nuclear power plants in the wake of Japan’s tragedy. USA TODAY, Thursday, March 24, 2011, pg. 11A. ,” USA Today Thursday, 24th March 2011.

[75] What ‘Earth Hour’ backers don’t have: a real vision. USA TODAY, Thursday, March 24, 2011, pg. 11A.

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About hollerscholar

I'm a theology & philosophy student, writer, web developer, and medical laboratory professional.
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