Positions Paper

Submitted By hibbitts07
Words: 1141
Pages: 5

Nathaniel Hibbitts
English 111 W-1
Spring 2013
Argument Essay

Environment vs. Economics In today’s society we enjoy many things. Running water, electricity and automobiles just to name a few, however, we need to ask ourselves, do we truly understand the cost of modern day conveniences? The environment and the economy go hand in hand. If the economy is doing well the environment may end up taking a back seat, but if the economy is doing poorly the environment tends to be a more interesting topic of discussion. In southwest Virginia, coal and natural gas are the two major natural resources we have. If the industries are doing well people tend to forget what harm is being done to the environment. In contrast when the industries aren’t doing as well as expected that is when you usually tend to see a lot of environmental movement. There are so many beautiful features that southwest Virginia offers, such as the majestic view of the mountains, and the tranquility of fresh springs and rivers. All of these wonderful treasures are affected by economic success, does it really have to be that way, is there a solution to have a successful economy in southwest Virginia without affecting the environment in a negative way? In southwest Virginia we are privileged to have some of the most unique and diverse wildlife, reptiles, amphibians, and landscapes. Some of the precious forest and wildlife are in danger due to logging, strip mining, and natural gas pipelines. Although economic progress is a wonderful thing for a small area since it provides jobs, we should take a look at our environment and how it will be changed be it positive or negative before we just start tearing up and ripping down. Other alternatives should be explored such as wind and solar energy instead of relying majorly on coal or natural gas. Unfortunately there are too many “big businesses” that will not allow this to happen. Big businesses have been polluting the waterways and drinking water for many years. According to Environment America Research and Policy Center “Big agribusinesses is a major polluter of America’s waterways.” Also “Agriculture contributes to making more than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams and 2,500 square miles of inland lakes too polluted to sustain important uses such as fishing, drinking, or to maintain healthy populations of wildlife.” (Dutzik et al. 4). Because of so many animals in such a small area the fecal matter can seep into creeks and streams. Huge agribusinesses and other companies are controlling the market and they are affecting the areas in which they raise their product. All across the southern and mid Appalachian Mountains, many big coal corporations are using strip mining or mountain top removal to extract coal from the ground. This tends to be an easier alternative to underground mining when the coal is in between layers of rock. An attorney with the public interest group Earth Justice says that “Mountain top removal must be recognized as what it is, a reckless and barbaric form of mining that rips apart mountains.” (EPA 1). Strip mining is not an efficient way at all. I understand the need of jobs and that those jobs help sustain families in this region, but what is going to happen when people can no longer drink the water, or go fishing? All across southwest Virginia there is a diversity of fisheries and rivers. Unfortunately 3 of these rivers the Powell, Clinch, and the Holston are all polluted. There are 48 freshwater mussel species that are in the Clinch and Powell Rivers. There are several reasons as to why the Clinch has become so polluted: in 1967 130 million gallons of coal ash spilled into a creek that was part of the Clinch River, in 1970 sulfuric acid was dumped into the river after a cooling tower malfunctioned. (Crane-Murdoch 1). As a result of the pollution the freshwater mussels are now becoming scarcer. On the plus side, many big businesses are starting