Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More Coal

I cannot even express in words how much I hate coal companies. They may be the scum of the earth. Once on this blog I argued that human resources people were the worst people in the world. I don't back down from that argument. All this shows is that for every group of evil in the world, there's another more evil group that you haven't thought of.

Coal companies have done more to damage one part of America than any industry or group of people have since at least the rise of Jim Crow in the late 19th century. They have murdered thousands of miners, including these 12, due to their practice of blatantly ignoring safety issues. They destroy more mountains every day through mountaintop removal. They have busted unions since the late 19th century. They control local and state politics in West Virginia and Kentucky, and to a somewhat lesser extent in several other states. They even acquire rights to land underneath people's homes and then drill there, undermining the foundations of the homes and leaving their residents with no alternative but to move. This is the defintion of an evil industry.

Of course local elites in these places not only embrace the worst of coal's practices, but want them to expand. For instance, see this story about Pikeville, Kentucky's plans to invite coal companies in to remove mountains so that the town can grow. This quixotic attempt to spur growth in Appalachia is just not going to work for most towns, especially if it is copied by more and more towns. What kind of industry is going to move to these places, particularly when, for as poor as West Virginia and eastern Kentucky are, there is no way they can compete for jobs with the developing world? The best answer is in the linked article, when the town of Inez secured a high security federal prison for their flattened mountains. So I guess at best we can turn Appalachia into a prison. Great long-term strategy.

Anyway, I've talked more about this issue here.
Fun stuff. And I hope the executives of International Coal Company burn in hell.