Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Lump of Coal for his Stocking

I've finished browsing through the 2007 edition of The Best American Science and Nature Writing. I'm choosy about which essays I actually read in these collections; I'm at best uninterested and often opposed to most of the popular fields of science these days, so I mostly stick to those articles which fall under the nature category. This year, I enjoyed reading about lemurs, fishers, bears, and gryllacridids (don't mess with the big ones).

Much less appealing was reading about the hundreds of miles of plastic floating in the ocean, and The Rape of Appalachia by Michael Shnayerson. The article is about coal mining by mountaintop removal in West Virginia and focuses in particular on Don Blankenship and Massey Energy, the country's fourth largest coal producer. After you read the article's tales of buried streams, broken impoundments, violations, show-cause hearings, union busting, judge buying, and moving property lines, chances are you'll agree with me that Don's stocking isn't where you'd like to stick the coal.

If the article itself doesn't annoy you enough, there's his letter in reply to it. I don't know if that is the full text of his reply (I couldn't find it on the magazine's site) but he completely fails to respond to anything in the actual article and instead writes about the terrible martyrdom of his company and the unscientific myth of climate change.

Here are some of the groups mentioned in the article who deserve something better for their holiday. Check out the OVEC photo links if you've never seen this atrocity.

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