Coal sweeps into communities

23 10 2011

I’d like to direct people to John Locke, whose philosophy shaped our nation at large. He wrote that one’s natural rights come down to “life, liberty and property,” a phrase often associated with the Revolutionary era. While early leaders replaced property with the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence, I think America has a strong belief in inherent property rights — that your home is your own. While this concept has had flaws, it does seem to endure as an American value.


So why does the production of coal want to infringe upon the rights of communities? Issues like this coal storage heap seem to come up again and again. Why should individuals have to cede the purity of the land that they’ve purchased and developed and loved? Why should local institutions, like schools, have to suffer drastic consequences to continue mining?


Some juicy quotes from pro-coal advocates in the articles above note that: “We’re government when it suits us. Sometimes, we find the government entirely unsuitable.” As well as, “Your representatives in Washington understand that we need mountains of coal to generate power with no restraints on its waste disposal.” Those come from Kilmore Trout of the Tennessee Valley Authority, failing to respond to the cries of upset citizens.


I wonder how John Locke would have felt, sitting in on that meeting.




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