Coal Tattoo

There’s a new public opinion survey out this morning from CNN and ORC International that concludes:

Fifty-seven percent of respondents in a CNN/ORC survey released Thursday say they oppose the controversial mining process, in which a mountain is blasted apart and the debris deposited in nearby valleys.

CNN has more details about the poll posted here, and of course the survey was done and is being released in conjunction with “Battle for Blair Mountain,” the big, hour-long CNN piece that’s scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday night.

The survey involved telephone interviews with 1,009 adult Americans conducted on July 18-20. The margin of error, based on their sampling size is 3 percentage points.

Those who were interviewed were asked:

As you may know, companies that mine coal sometimes use a practice known as “mountain top removal.” Under this practice, a large portion of a mountain which contains coal is removed to allow the mining company access to the coal, and the soil and rock from the mountain is deposited in nearby valleys. Do you favor or oppose mountain top removal?

The results: 57 percent said they oppose mountaintop removal; 36 percent said they favor it; and 7 percent had no opinion.

In CNN’s article about the poll, West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney was quoted questioning the results:

I think you have to spend some time explaining that mountaintop mining is authorized by federal law, has been for years.

Of course, Coal Tattoo readers know that the CNN poll results generally match those that have been found in other public opinion surveys on this issue. We had a good summary of previous polls, with links to stories and results, in the comments section of this Coal Tattoo post.

Recall the words of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd:

It is also a reality that the practice of mountaintop removal mining has a diminishing constituency in Washington. It is not a widespread method of mining, with its use confined to only three states. Most members of Congress, like most Americans, oppose the practice, and we may not yet fully understand the effects of mountaintop removal mining on the health of our citizens. West Virginians may demonstrate anger toward the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over mountaintop removal mining, but we risk the very probable consequence of shouting ourselves out of any productive dialogue with EPA and our adversaries in the Congress.

Here’s a preview of the CNN show: