In case you haven’t heard, dozens of proposed amendments to the House Budget Bill would strip EPA of funding to update and enforce safeguards for mountaintop-removal mines, coal ash storage ponds, and emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants. If these amendments are approved, House Republicans would successfully turn back the clock on all of the clean air and clean water safeguards put in place over the past two years and bring back the polluter-friendly rules of the Bush administration.

Well-being rankingsPhoto: Appalachian VoicesThe man overseeing the budget is Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, whose district is home to more than half of the 500 mountains already destroyed by mountaintop-removal mining in Appalachia. Not only does Rogers’ district lead the nation in mountains destroyed, it also leads the nation in human misery according to the Gallup-Healthways 2009 Well-Being Rankings. Of all 435 Congressional districts in America, Rogers’ district ranked dead last in Gallup’s overall well-being index, which combines information on physical and emotional well-being, life evaluation, work environment, and basic access to government services.

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As my Appalachian Voices colleague JW pointed out on the Front Porch Blog, while Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood may be “dead first” in mountaintop removal, his district ranks:

  • 435th in life expectancy (dead last)
  • 435th in physical health (dead last)
  • 435th in overall well-being (dead last)
  • 435th in emotional health (dead last)

There could be no clearer indication of where the new House leadership is trying to take the country. What are you going to do to stop them? [Hint: you can start by taking action here].

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