Mountaintop removal mining and the environmental rhetoric of the 2010 West Virginia state primary campaign.
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Ford, Rachel (Rachel L.)
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This project analyzes the rhetoric of the 2010 West Virginia special senate primary election paying particular attention to the candidates’ discussion of mountaintop removal mining—a controversial type of mining in which the tops of mountains are removed so that the coal seams deep within can be easily accessed. Recently the practice of mountaintop removal has gained public attention because of its negative environmental impacts. This thesis uses a critical historical approach as a lens through which to interpret the complex historical relationship that has developed between the state and the coal industry. This history is important to my analysis because it illuminates the ways in which the relationship shapes the motivations of each candidate. I attempt to further develop an understanding of how political candidates use rhetorical strategies and tactics to discuss environmental concerns in the context of an election campaign.