“Environmentalists baffled by Obama’s strategy,” reads the headline in The Los Angeles Times. The story by Jim Tankersley tells us that as a candidate, the President “wooed environmentalists with a promise to ‘support and defend’ pristine national forest land from road building and other development that had been pushed by the George W. Bush administration.” As President, however, Obama is “actively opposing those protections on about 60 million acres of federal woodlands in a case being considered by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The roadless issue is one of several instances of the administration defending in court environmental policies that it once vowed to end.”
Another example of conflict between the President and environmentalists, can be found in the East, where the New York Times editorialized that the Obama administration has taken “several useful steps” to curb mountaintop removal coal mining, but that “these are stopgap measures, well short of the permanent protections needed.” The Bush administration had interpreted rules in such a way that coal companies were allowed to strip off the tops of mountains and dump the rock and soil in the stream beds below. The Times editorial chastised the Obama administration for being slow to change these practices.
Meanwhile, Jeff Biggers reminds us that there will be a rather large and star-studded protest in West Virginia Tuesday. The protesters (including actress Daryl Hannah) will attempt to attract some attention to a coal mining operation near the Marsh Fork Elementary School (photo above, from Coal River Mountain Watch). Biggers reports: “Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, West Virginia might be the most tragic and symbolic site of American children left behind by their state government. Forsaken by state officials and a recent WV Supreme Court decision last week, the school and its children must play amid the toxic dust of a coal silo–and soon a second one–that sits less than a football field away.”