By James Kwak
That, I believe, was a line from Nemo in a comment long ago, on how the megabanks were holding the federal government hostage by threatening to collapse and take the financial system with them.
The coal industry seems to have learned something. Now that the EPA is recommending revoking a mountaintop mining permit (mountaintop mining is when, instead of drilling holes to get at coal underground, you simply blow the top off the mountain), the coal company in question has this to say:
“If the E.P.A. proceeds with its unlawful veto of the Spruce permit — as it appears determined to do — West Virginia’s economy and future tax base will suffer a serious blow.
“Beyond that, every business in the nation would be put on notice that any lawfully issued permit — Clean Water Act 404 or otherwise — can be revoked at any time according to the whims of the federal government. Clearly, such a development would have a chilling impact on future investment and job creation.”
No, every business would be put on notice a permit could be revoked for a project that “would bury more than seven miles of the Pigeonroost Branch and Oldhouse Branch streams under 110 million cubic yards of spoil, killing everything in them and sending downstream a flood of contaminants, toxic substances and life-choking algae.” Which to me seems about the right message to send.
But this is the basic position of every big corporate interest: if you don’t let us do what we want to do, the economy will suffer.
(If you want to see what mountaintop mining looks like, go to this Google Maps mashup and zoom in. It’s the big gray scars in the green mountains.)