If you think Bush enjoyed Cold Mountain, wait until you learn how he likes Flat Mountain. He's yet to meet one he doesn't like.
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
President Bush please shed your grace on God's beauty
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The purple mountain majesties!
8-17-04 Washington Post. "The Fine Print: A Word Accelerates Mountaintop Mining. Appalachia Is Paying Price for White House Rule Change:"
Mountaintop mining is booming again thanks to a small wording change to federal environmental regulations. It is a case study of how Bush administration officials have taken existing regulations and made subtle tweaks that carry large consequences.
The coal industry chafes at the name -- "mountaintop removal" -- but it aptly describes the novel mining method that became popular in this part of Appalachia in the late 1980s. Miners target a green peak, scrape it bare of trees and topsoil, and then blast away layer after layer of rock until the mountaintop is gone.
In just over a decade, coal miners used the technique to flatten hundreds of peaks across a region spanning West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. Thousands of tons of rocky debris were dumped into valleys, permanently burying more than 700 miles of mountain streams. By 1999, concerns over the damage to waterways triggered a backlash of lawsuits and court rulings that slowed the industry's growth to a trickle.
Today, mountaintop removal is booming again, and the practice of dumping mining debris into streambeds is explicitly protected, thanks to a small wording change to federal environmental regulations.
[For you old codgers, the title was going to be "To Dick Tracy's chagrin, our President likes Flattop Jones." Those were the days . . . .]