Lecture: Health Costs of Mountaintop Removal Mining
April 22, 2013 | 08:00 PM to 09:15 PM
Allen Johnson of Christians for the Mountains will present a lecture titled; 'The Economic, Political, and Moral Considerations On The Health Externalities of Mountaintop Mining in Central Appalachia'. Mountaintop mining, often termed mountaintop removal, is a method of extracting coal by blasting apart a mountain layer by layer to scoop up the coal, with the remaining 97% of rock debris pushed down into the valleys. Numerous peer-reviewed studies conclude that the resultant pollution contributes to serious health consequences for local populations. Numerous anecdotal stories bear this out. Furthermore, demographical studies identify these areas as among the most impoverished, unhappy, and psychologically depressed in the nation. Yet these externalized human costs are not accounted for in the electric bills consumers pay for their coal-generated power. To exploit a resource for personal profit, comfort, or privilege while foisting negative consequences upon innocent victims of present and future generations is morally repugnant and tantamount to theft. Advocates for the planet should insist upon honest full cost accounting for every extraction practice involving resources, and furthermore insist upon the Precautionary Principle--that an action should not be taken if the consequences are uncertain and potentially dangerous.