Posted by: tylere108 | September 28, 2010

No Mining Safety Bill? No Oil Spill Bill? What is the Senate doing?

Just a quick post this Tuesday evening . . . . on the state of play in the Senate.

I know that we are in the run up to the 2010 elections and everyone on the ballot is sticking with their party, refusing to stray from the rest of their block but as a result, the Senate is getting nothing accomplished.

The things that I find most frustrating are the pieces of energy legislation that are being throw out because the Senate can’t get to 60.  In the last 2 years, we have seen three of the most destructive energy disasters in the US. First the release of 1.7 million cubic yards of coal ash spilled across eastern Tennessee taking with it lead, arsenic and other toxins into the local community. Then in April of this year 29 coal miners died in an explosion, leaving us with the worst US mining disaster since 1970. And 2 weeks later, an oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, spewing 4.9 million barrels into the Gulf before it was finally capped at the end of July. Before the oil spill happened, the coal ash spill was deemed the worst environmental disaster the US has ever seen. Now most people give that award to the oil spill. And i would argue these aren’t just environmental disasters but economic disasters, health disasters, community disasters as well.

Its clear that our energy production and energy systems in this country are not safe and need to be changed in serious and meaningful  ways. And yet here we are with the Senate refusing to expand mining safety requirements and at the same time slowly and quietly retreating from an oil spill response bill. All because of politics. So while miners continue to go down into unsafe mines on a daily basis and families struggle to put food on their plates in the Gulf, the Senate continues to quibble over which side of the aisle they are on.

What about the lives that were lost? what about the livelihoods that won’t be the same? What about the families, communities, our brothers and sisters, and God’s creation that continue to struggle. The exploding mine, the coal ash spill and the Gulf oil spill affected everyone regardless of political party, economics, race, and religion. And local responses to each of these disasters wasn’t centered around who you voted for in the last presidential election.

People and communities pulled together to help one another, to pray, to eat and to heal. Its about community, about being our brother’s/sister’s keeper, loving our neighbors as ourselves, not about politics.

Seems we have a long way to go before what is morally right is also politically right.


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