Coal Comfort - Margaret Palmer

Aired:  01/18/10 Views: 48,782

Margaret Palmer believes there's a better way to mine for coal than blowing the tops off mountains. (6:41)

NATION, IF A DIAMOND IS A GIRL'S

BEST FRIEND, THEN COAL IS ITS

HOTTER YOUNGER SISTER.

IN THE EARLY DAYS OF COAL

MINING, IT WAS DIRTY, DANGEROUS

WORK, AS SEEN IN THIS SAD

FOOTAGE.

♪♪

WE LOST A LOT OF GOOD MEN TO

INFLATABLE DRAGONS.

THANKFULLY MODERN SCIENCE HAS

FOUND A MUCH SAFER WAY TO GET

OUR COAL.

BLOWING THE TOPS OFF MOUNTAINS.

AWESOME!

OH, DADDY.

IT'S GREAT.

YOU START WITH SOME BORING

TREE-COVERED MOUNTAIN, AND YOU

TURN IT INTO AN EXCITING

LIFELESS MOON BASE.

PLUS IT IS THE MOST EFFICIENT

WAY TO GET TO THE COAL INSIDE.

THAT'S WHY WHEN I GO TO THE

DENTIST, I HAVE HIM REMOVE MY

TEETH THROUGH THE TOP OF MY

HEAD.

NOW, UNFORTUNATELY NOT EVERYONE

OUT THERE GETS IT, LIKE THE

E.P.A.

IN SEPTEMBER THEY PUT 79

MOUNTAIN REMOVAL PROJECTS ON

HOLD.

WHO MADE THE E.P.A. THE

PROTECTOR OF THE ENVIRONMENT?

[LAUGHTER]

WELL, GOOD NEWS, NATION, THIS

MONTH THE E.P.A. REVERSED THEIR

POSITION AND AWARDED A PERMIT

FOR A 600-ACRE MINE IN WEST

VIRGINIA TO THE PATRIOT COAL

CORPORATION.

YOU KNOW IT'S PATRIOTIC COAL

BECAUSE THEY'RE USING THEIR

BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR TO TURN

THOSE PURPLE MOUNTAIN MAJESTIES

INTO AMBER WAVES OF GRAY.

[LAUGHTER]

OF COURSE, THIS DECISION DOESN'T

PLEASE EVERYBODY OUT THERE.

LIKE THE SCIENTISTS WHO JUST

PUBLISHED THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE

STUDY EVER ONNP

NHURSC"

THEY CLAIM T WASTE MATERIAL

GETS DUMPED INTO THE SURROUNDING

VALLEYS AND STREAMS,

OBLITERATING THE ECOSYSTEM AND

THAT THE SIGNS ARE SO

OVERWHELMING THAT THE ONLY

CONCLUSION THAT ONE CAN REACH IS

THAT MOUNTAINTOP MINING NEEDS TO

BE STOPPED.

EXCUSE ME.

BUT I SAY MOUNTAINTOP MINING IS

A PROUD AMERICAN TRADITION.

DID YOU KNOW THAT ON MT.

RUSHMORE LINCOLN USED TO HAVE A

STOVE PIPE HAT?

[LAUGHTER]

BUT THEY LOPPED IT OFF TO GET TO

HIS SWEET BRAIN COAL.

[LAUGHTER]

TRUE STORY.

IT'S A TRUE STORY.

BESIDES, HOW ELSE IS AMERICA

SUPPOSED TO GET OUR COAL?

WE CURRENTLY GET 10% OF IT FROM

MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL, AND EXPERTS

SAY ENFORCING THE RULES TO

MINIMIZE DUMPING ALL THIS WASTE

INTO THE STREAMS COULD ADD $1 OR

$2 PER TON TO THE COST OF COAL.

ONE OR TWO DOLLARS?

FOLKS, MY SHOW BURNS THREE TONS

OF COAL PER NIGHT.

THAT'S WHY I OFFERING SHOVEL

INTERNSHIPS.

FASTER, JAY.

YOU WANT THAT COLLEGE CREDIT OR

NOT?

BESIDES, MOST OF THE STREAM

POISONING HAPPENS IN APPALACHIA,

AND THE ONLY PEOPLE IT AFFECTS

ARE THE ONE REMAINING GROUP THAT

EVERYBODY STILL FEELS

COMFORTABLE MAKING FUN OF,

HILLBILLIES.

>> OH, NELLIE!

>> Stephen: HILLBILLIES ARE

POOR.

[LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]

THOUGH IF WE KEEP TAKING AWAY

THE MOUNTAINS, WE'RE GOING TO

HAVE TO START CALLING THEM JUST

BILLIES.

IF YOU ASK ME, THE WOMAN WHO LED

THIS STUDY, DR. MARGARET PALMER

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND,

IS MAKING A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A

MOLEHILL THAT I'M ABOUT TO BLOW

THE TOP OFF OF.

PLEASE WELCOME DR. MARGARET

PALMER.

DR. PALMER, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING ME.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

DOCTOR,E.

YOU'RE ALL ANTI-MOUNTAINTOP

REMOVAL, BUT LET'S FACE FACTS,

THESE MOUNTAINS WILL GROW BACK.

>> ACTUALLY, THESE MOUNTAINS ARE

300 MILLION YEARS OLD, AND EVEN

IF THE MOUNTAINS GROW BACK...

>> Stephen: THEY'LL GROW BACK

IN ANOTHER 300 MILLION YEARS.

>> GUESS WHAT, WHILE THOSE

MOUNTAINS ARE GROWING BACK, WE

HAVE ALL SORTS OF TOXIC

CHEMICALS GOING INTO THE

STREAMS.

>> LIKE WHAT?

LIKE WHAT'S GOING IN THERE?

>> LIKE SELENIUM, LIKE

MANGANESE, THESE THINGS...

>> Stephen: DO YOU KNOW HOW

MUCH YOU PAY FOR MINERAL

SUPPLEMENTS LIKE MANGANESE AND

SELENIUM?

WE'RE GIVING THEM TO THESE

PEOPLE FOR FREE.

[LAUGHTER]

SO YOU SAY THE STREAMS ARE

POISON?

>> LET ME TELL YOU.

YOU DON'T WANT TO BE DRINKING

WATER FROM THESE STREAMS.

FISH SOMETIMES HAVE TWO EYES ON

ONE SIDE OF THE HEAD.

>> Stephen: FLOUNDER.

>> I HAVEN'T SEEN TOO MANY

FLOUNDERS IN THE STREAMS OF WEST

VIRGINIA.

>> Stephen: MOUNTAIN FLOUNDER.

WHY DON'T WE JUST TAKEBIG BRITTA FILTER

AT THE MOUTH OF THAT STREAM?

HAVE YOU EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT

THAT?

>> IT IS INTERESTING TO ASK WHY

THE WATER'ST CLEANED UP, BUT

YOU CAN DO THIS IN A WAY THAT

DOESN'T BLOW UP MOUNTAINS.

THERE ARE MORE EFFICIENT, WELL,

NOT NECESSARILY EFFICIENT IN

TERMS OF MAKING MUST BE...

>> Stephen: SO YOU DON'T THINK

WE SHOULD BE TAKING OFF THE TOPS

OF MOUNTAINS?

YOU THINK THERE IS A BETTER WAY

IN

>> Stephen: YOU WANT TO TAKE

OFFEBOTTOM OF MOUNTAINS?

YOU REALIZE THAT'S DANGEROUS.

>> IN FACT, IF YOU DO IT MORE

TRADITIONAL WAY, MORE MINERS

WILL BE EMPLOYED, WHO ARE

INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO THE

UNITED STATES.

COAL IS IMPORTANT TO THE UNITED

STATES RIGHT NOW.

>> Stephen: ABSOLUTELY.

IT IS OUR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY,

CLEAN COAL.

WE HAVE A LOT OF COAL.

WE'RE THE SAUDI ARABIA OF COAL.

>> UNTIL WE GET TO A MORE

SUSTAINABLE FORM OF ENERGY, WE

DO NEED COAL IN THIS COUNTRY,

AND THE MINERS PLAY AN IMPORTANT

ROLE.

WHAT WE DON'T NEED IS PEOPLE

THAT ARE HAVING SIGNIFICANT

HEALTH PROBLEMS IN THESE AREAS

AROUND SURFACE MINING.

WE'RE TALKING HIGHER RATES OF

KIDNEY DISEASE, CARDIOVASCULAR

DISEASE, LUNG CANCER.

IN FACT, IF YOU LOOK AT THE

MORTALITY RATE IN REGIONSF THE

APPALACHIANS, MORTALITY GOES UP

AS A FUNCTION OF THE AMOUNT OF

MINING THAT GOES ON IN THE

COUNTIES, AND IT'S NOT MINERS.

IT'S CHILDREN AND WOMEN.

>> Stephen: OH, YOU'RE GOING

TO PLAY THE CHILDREN AND WOMEN

CARD.

FINE.

BUT YOU SAY THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE

IN THESE AREAS ARE GETTING THESE

DISEASES.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

THERE'S NO QUESTION.

>> Stephen: BUT IF YOU KEEP

REMOVING THE MOUNTAINS,

EVENTUALLY THESE AREAS WON'T BE

THERE EITHER, AND NO ONE WILL BE

LIVING THERE.

THE PROBLEM KIND OF INVOLVES

ITSELF.

AND LET ME ASK YOU THIS, ALL

RIGHT, IF WE DIDN'T BLOW UP

THESE MOUNTAINS, DON'T YOU THINK

THESE MOUNTAINS WOULD JUST AS

EASILY BLOW US UP?

HAVE YOU HEARD OF VESUVIUS OR

MOUNT ST. HELEN'S?

PAYBACK IS A BITCH.

THIS IS OUR TURN.

DR. PALMER, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING US.

DR. MARGARET PALMER,

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