12 November 2009

Music and Industrial Scars Save Mountains

13 November 2009

Monday night, NRDC, Gibson Guitars, EmmyLou Harris, and her manager Ken Levitan hosted an event to raise awareness in the country music community about mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR). The first step in the lengthy trail of devastation caused by the use of coal as a power source, is the practice of blowing the top off of the mountain, dumping the blasted earth into the adjacent valley, extracting the coal, planting grass seed, and repeat.

The goal of the event was to recruit more country musicians to the cause, as they reach a wide audience outside of the “environmentalist crowd.”

Industrial Scars images of MTR were a central part of the event, as were two custom-made guitars with my images of Coal River Mountain, the destruction of which has just begun.

This is the second event Ms. Harris has hosted on this issue, and the list of notable musicians is growing: Randy Travis, Ben Sollee, Big Kenny Alphin, Delbert McClinton, Dierks Bentley, Gloriana, James Otto, J.D. Souther, Matraca Berg, Jeff Hanna, Michelle Branch, Kid Rock, Patty Griffin, and Rodney Crowell were all there.

Bravo to them all, and if you are a fan, send them a note of applause for their work on this horrific issue.

Bobby Kennedy spoke eloquently (as always) about the link between our cultural heritage and the environment, a link that is particularly relevant in this case as the roots of country music are in the Appalachians.
Coal is the source of half of our electricity, and billed as a cheap energy source. But the reason it’s cheap when your electric bill comes is that you have already paid for it with your high taxes that subsidize it. Some of the 2005 coal subsidies (out of your pocket) include:
$1.612 billion in tax credits to invest in new coal power plants
$1.147 billion in tax breaks for coal power plants to install pollution control equipment
$1.8 billion of taxpayer money to help build a new fleet of coal power plants
$1.137 billion of taxpayer money to help make coal power a cost-competitive source of power generation (there’s a joke on us).
$90 million to research ways to sequester carbon dioxide emitted from coal power plants.
And this is just the beginning.

Is this the way you want your money to be spent, to subsidize global warming and mercury poisoning?

1 comment:

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