[imgcontainer right] [img:rallyforcoal.jpeg] [source]Charleston Gazette[/source] West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (a Democrat) spoke at yesterday’s Rally For Coal in Charleston. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is at the far left. [/imgcontainer]

The Boston Globe lists a number of hospital mergers and consolidations in Massachusetts, a trend that is accelerating, according to the paper. “For an organization to be successful in the era of health care reform, you’re going to have to serve a larger geography,’’ said a hospital executive. “You’re going to have to have more scale and a lower cost structure.’’

• Verizon has sued the Federal Communications Commission, looking to overturn the commission’s order on “net neutrality.” Verizon says the FCC doesn’t have the authority to tell providers how they should treat content on their networks.

• Members of the House Agriculture Committee delivered what Agri-Pulse said was a “clear message” yesterday: Deregulate genetically engineered alfalfa — and do it now.
Jim Webster reports that there were no supporters in either party for restrictions on biotech alfalfa in order to protect organic and non-GE fields. (See Yonder story here on effort to find a way for GE and organic to “co-exist.”)

• DTN editor Urban Lehner explores the “vertical farm.” One problem is light. In order to provide enough light to grow crops — and to do so “sustainably” — you’d have to have solar panels covering 20-times the area used for planting.

• The state of the Wisconsin farm economy is darn good.

• Several hundred joined a “rally for coal” in the West Virginia state house yesterday, led by the state’s highest ranking elected officials, reports Paul Nyden in the Charleston Gazette.
The rally was called after the federal Environmental Protection Agency denied a permit for what would have been the largest coal strip mining operation in West Virginia. Arch Coal would have used the mountaintop removal method at the Spruce No. 1 mine site.

“This is a rally about jobs, plain and simple,” said Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. “When you create an atmosphere of uncertainty, you hurt our economy. You hurt our jobs. What the EPA has done is fundamentally wrong.”

In his invocation, the Rev. Mitchell Bias, from the Delbarton Regional Church of God, said, “Coal is your will. You placed it here on earth. It is part of your master plan.”

• Getting broadband “will change our lives,” according to residents of Innerleithen, one of the first isolated towns to be connected under a new British program. Innerleithen is in the Scottish Borders.

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