Let’s see… in 2010, 29 miners died in the Upper Big Branch mine because Massey Energy didn’t want to comply with safety regulations. BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up, killing 35 workers and contaminating the Gulf of Mexico with over 50 million gallons of crude oil that will affect the ecosystem for years, maybe decades. Natural gas companies foul our land and ground water with their fracking technology, killing and sickening people as well as wild & farm animals, while ruining rural roads by hauling thousands of truckloads of water to and from drilling sites. Uranium mining left a legacy of cancer and birth defects in the Navajo nation, the plants that process fuel for reactors have created some of the worst superfund sites. After they’ve extracted the resources, many of these extraction industries leave town or go bankrupt, leaving the government to try to clean up the mess and repair the damage.
Yes, these businesses all create some jobs—but what kind of jobs? Organized crime and drug dealers also create jobs, but is that what we want? The extractive and energy industries are responsible for more death and illness than organized crime, so why do legislators (state & federal) and elected officials keep sucking up to these greed-heads, these leaches who get rich through death and destruction?
Why don’t more communities stand up for their right to protect their citizens from harm, as Pittsburgh and some other municipalities have done with community rights ordinances? I think it’s time to stop allowing these extractive industries to destroy people’s health and lives for their own profit.