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Ashley Judd to Obama: Save Our Mountaintops

Men, could you possibly resist a tearfully plaintive request from this person?

Ashley Judd

Well, we didn’t think so. Like, whatever she wants, right? Well, Obama, this is Ashley Judd, and what she wants is for you to stop mining companies from blowing the tops off mountains in her native Appalachia.

Remember or those cute emails you exchanged with Scarlett Johansson during the campaign? Got a nice little midlife crisis thrill out of it, didn’t you? Not saying these were (Bill) Clintonesque emails, but was she, you know, advising you how to bend the cost curve on health care? I don’t think so.

But here’s an actress with actual brains – and a Harvard degree to prove it – who wants to meet with you on an issue that is decimating the environment in her home state of Kentucky. Well, what do you say?

Of course, some note that jobs do depend on the practice.

But this is Ashley Judd (please see photo above). At least meet with her for goodness sake. I’ll get you in touch with Michelle’s scheduler to see when she’ll be out of town.

But with the left already pouncing on you for Elena Kagan’s lack of a record, for the failure to get a public option in the health bill, for the lack of immigration reform, and other perceived shortcomings, you must be thinking, Et Tu Enviros? Et tu Hollywood?

Here’s a report Judd’s appearance at the National Press Club Thursday from our Extra Special Correspondent Melissa Charbonneau.

Actress Ashley Judd Compares Gulf Oil Spill to Mountaintop Mining
By Melissa Charbonneau
White House Dossier Extra Special Correspondent
June 9

Ashley Judd, at times moved to tears, called today for the immediate end to a controversial coal mining practice of Mountaintop Removal, or MTR. Calling MTR a “stain on America,” the actress/environmental activist targeted the mining method she says is ravaging the environment and communities of Appalachia, including her home state of Kentucky. Judd says mountaintop removal entails the razing of forests, the blasting of mountaintops to reach the coal, and the dumping of sludge and debris into nearby valleys that buries streams and pollutes waterways.

“Every single day in Kentucky and West Virginia, around the clock, seven days a week, 2,500 tons of explosives are detonated — blasts one thousand times greater than the blast that brought down the Oklahoma City federal building,” she said.

Speaking to journalists at Washington’s National Press Club, Judd equated the environmental damage of three decades of mountaintop removal to the BP Gulf oil spill. Judd, who stumped for Barack Obama on the campaign trail, today chided the President for failing to give MTR’s Appalachian devastation the same attention he’s showing the Gulf crisis.

Here she is requesting meetings with a mining CEO and the CEO of the United States:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ3h-C0blOE[/youtube]

Judd prodded the Administration to act, asking the audience to write Obama’s EPA chief Lisa Jackson to veto a pending permit for West Virginia’s largest mountaintop removal mine, Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1. Critics say the veto threatens hundreds of jobs and exceeds the EPA’s authority.

Despite tough talk from the White House about tightening federal regulations on permits for coal companies who use MTR, Mr. Obama has stopped short of an outright MTR ban. That’s ruffling green feathers at environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which Judd represents.

Judd, who recently earned a graduate degree from Harvard, says she’s also been “sorely disappointed” by apathy among her Ivy League colleagues on the impact of MTR on the Appalachian states where it’s commonly used — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Lesson learned? Ocean oil spills grab big headlines. Mountain sludge spills, not so much.

“Press, press, press, press, press, press. This issue needs press. In 2000 the Martin County oil sludge spill was ‘x’ number of times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill,” Judd said. “It was enormously bigger. . .  Have you ever heard of the Martin County sludge spill? Point taken.”

The question is, will Ms. Judd’s point man get the point? And can this celebrity’s media appeal spark enough of a public outcry to shift the President sights from the beachfront to the mountaintop.

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