Here's Rand Paul's latest libertarian blunder: On the heels of a new NRDC report that over 293 mountains and 574,000 acres of hardwood forests in eastern Kentucky have been irreversibly destroyed by mountaintop removal strip mining, Rand Paul flippantly tells a TV interviewer in footage from last fall: "I don't think anyone's going to be missing a hill or two here and there."
"This research shows what a sacrificial lamb Kentucky has been for an industry that is not interested in any kind of restoration," says Kentuckians for the Commonwealth member and eastern Kentucky resident Mick McCoy. "Here in Martin County, more than 25 percent of the land has been leveled by coal companies yet we are among the poorest of counties not just in Kentucky, but the entire country."
Worse yet, Paul erroneously claims that "a lot of the land is desirable once it gets flattened out...Some people like the flat land, and some of it apparently has become rather valuable when it's become flattened."
Wrong again. As NRDC's Rob Perks points out:
Of the 500 mountaintop removal sites we examined, we excluded 90 from our survey due to active, ongoing mining activity. That left 410 supposedly reclaimed mine sites, for which we found that:
366 (89.3%) had no form of verifiable post-mining economic reclamation excluding forestry and pasture
26 (6.3% of total) yield some form of verifiable post-mining economic development
Only about 4% of mountains in Kentucky and West Virginia, where the vast majority of this mining is occurring, had any post-mining economic activity.
"Mining companies don't love mountains but they love bragging about how they restore mine sites for the benefit of local communities," says NRDC's Rob Perks. "Our study exposes Big Coal's broken promises by proving that post-mining economic prosperity is a big, flat lie."
Here's the Paul interview from October, 2009: