This might be one of the Humane Society’s cruelest acts against animals, and humanity.
In the face of one of the most irreversible and egregious environmental and wildlife catastrophes in the hemisphere, and a blatant disregard for the human rights violations of mountaintop removal, the Humane Society announced today that it will give its “2009 Humane Legislator of the Year” to the greatest congressional defender of mountaintop removal–House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, (D-W.Va.).
While Rahall defiantly leads the campaign to detonate over 3.5 million pounds of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil explosives in his state every day for mountaintop removal and strip mining operations–that’s over 5 billion pounds of explosives detonated in West Virginia alone since 2004, give or take a few million–wiping out historic mountain ranges and all flora and fauna in its way, the Humane Society is sucking up to Rahall’s powerful role on the Natural Resource Committee to honor him “for his leadership on the Restore Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act to overhaul the Interior Department’s management of wild horses on public lands and restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros; and for skillfully guiding eleven wildlife protection measures successfully through that Committee and to approval by the full House.”
Wow, wild jack asses and horses can run free in the West.
But wildlife and American citizens, as part of one of the largest forced removals since the mid-19th century, are being rounded up and moved off their land to appease outside coal companies.
“The Humane Society couldn’t have consulted with anyone working to save the fauna of southern Appalachia. It’s impossible to think of Representative Rahall as a “humane legislator” in light of the thousands and thousands of wild animals he’s condemned to death or dislocation via his slavish dedication to perpetuating Mountaintop Removal.”
Mountaintop Removal has destroyed over five hundred Appalachian mountains and buried over a thousand miles of streams in one of the most biodiverse regions of the entire planet. Those mountains Rep. Rahall has helped kill were home to deer, bears, bobcats, squirrels, raccoons, possums, foxes, rabbits, hawks, owls, snakes, lizards, songbirds, fish, frogs and sundry other living things for which Congressman Rahall shows openly hostile disdain. His disregard for West Virginia’s wildlife population is further manifested in the fact that he actively opposes real science that has proven beyond question that the ecological harm done by Mountaintop Removal is irreversible over a span of time measured in tens of thousands of years.
Some 200 members of the House proposed legislation to abolish the method, but it went to the Roads and Transportation Committee, where Rahall is vice chairman.
In 1977, as a 20-something freshman US Representative, Rahall made sure one of his first acts in Congress was to drive a loophole through the decade-long work of fellow West Virginia congressman Ken Hechler to ban strip mining. On the 30th anniversary of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, Rahall recalled escorting US Rep. Mo Udall, the venerable House Natural Resources Committee Chair, to the southern Appalachian coalfields, where Rahall convinced the Arizona congressman to include a loophole for mountaintop removal operations in the surface mining bill. At a House hearing on the anniversary of SMCRA, Rahall crowed: “And he (Udall) agreed that with flatland at such a premium, that we should not totally abolish the practice of mountaintop mining; but that we should have an exemption, an exemption that would allow for better post-mining uses of that land.”