Manchin's Coal Corruption Is So Much Worse Than You Knew
The senator from West Virginia is bought and paid for by Big Coal. With his help the dying industry is pulling one final heist — and the entire planet may pay the price
Very well written piece - it’s a takedown of Manchin but goes into the US political system, the electoral politics and history of Virginia, and interviews a bunch of locals. I learnt a lot.
“I found the road to the mine, but it was closed with a chain-link fence. I drove around to some back roads, and was able to bushwhack up onto a ridge and get a view of the pit. Rock and coal in the ancient mountains were exposed like layers in a wedding cake. Some scrubby locust trees grew in the “reclaimed” areas, where Arch’s mining engineers had piled up dirt to make it look vaguely like a hill. A small lake at the bottom of the pit glowed toxic blue. Twenty years ago, I had stood near this spot and listened to one of those engineers tell me that blowing up mountains was a good thing because it provided more flat land for commercial development. He suggested there would be a shopping mall up here one day, maybe a factory. Hundreds of people would be employed here, he told me. It was a lie then, and it is a lie now. There are 6 million acres of abandoned mine sites in the U.S. Solar panels have popped up on a few, and not far from where I stood, a 35-acre lavender farm employs a handful of former coal miners. Hopeful as those projects may be, they are just lipstick on the coal-country cadaver that Manchin pretends is still alive. Like the disemboweled mountain itself, Manchin is a scar from a time when blasting the Earth to mine coal to burn for energy that cooked the climate was a profitable thing to do. As I stood there on the ridgetop, it occurred to me that if future historians want to tell the story of how humans turned our home into a hell zone of fire, drought, and rising seas, this would be as good of a place as any to begin.”Posted on 2022-01-11T06:56:30+0000