Blog author: jballor
by on Friday, February 6, 2009

Here’s a brief report from The Environmental Report on mountain-top removal mining, and the increasing involvement of religious groups weighing in on the question. One of these groups is Christians for the Mountains. A quote by the group’s co-founder Allen Johnson was noteworthy, “We cannot destroy God’s creation in order to have a temporal economy.”

One other thing that struck me about the interview is that the AmeriCorp involvement smacks of “rebranding” secular environmentalism. Add the magic words “creation care” and all of a sudden you’ve gained the moral authority of all kinds of Christians and churches.

The report from Sandra Sleight-Brennan is quite short, and even though it doesn’t find anyone to speak up for the mining companies, the workers, or the mining methods, it does manage to get a quote from “creation care” advocate Richard Cizik (formerly of the NAE).

And what are the economic options beyond mountain-top removal mining for these communities? They include “wind energy, tourism, and not letting the mining companies decide the fate of the Appalachian mountains and the people who live there.”

As the report makes clear, though, the issue is a complicated one, and a simple juxtaposition of “economy” versus “environment” isn’t sufficient to tease out all the answers. There are legitimate concerns on the one side regarding negative externalities like pollution of habitat and waterways as well as what might be called a kind of aesthetic pollution. But on the other are legitimate concerns about property rights (which include responsibilities for negative externalities), energy needs, and economic freedom.


  • Ted

    God’s word has been left out of these discussions far too often. When it is brought in to the conversation it is used to justify destruction because of the “dominion” idea in Genesis. Since Lynn White blamed Christianity for environmental problems in 1967, it has been a losing battle. However, when considered in its entirety, God’s word has a great deal more to say about the environment. Nearly 3000 verses have been compiled. Let God’s word, the Bible, speak for itself: http://repositories.cdlib.org/uclalib/egj/vol1/iss12/art8/