Top Ten Reasons Coal is Dirty

#1: “Clean” Coal Increases Rates of Disease

The United States burns more than a billion tons of coal each year– that’s 20 pounds of coal for every person in the country, every day.

According to the American Lung Association, 24,000 people a year die prematurely because of pollution from coal-fired power plants. And every year 38,000 heart attacks, 12,000 hospital admissions and an additional 550,000 asthma attacks result from power plant pollution.


#2: “Clean” Coal Kills Jobs

Despite coal industry claims that coal mining creates lots of jobs, the truth is that coal mining employment has been declining for decades, due to increased use of machinery instead of manpower.

In West Virginia alone, coal mining employment has plummeted from 126,000 miners in 1948 (who produced 168 million tons of coal), to just 15,000 miners employed in 2005 (who, with the help of machinery, produced 128 million tons of coal).


#3: Burning “Clean” Coal Emits Mercury

Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of human-generated mercury pollution in the U.S. Mercury emissions from electrical generation continues to rise.

Mercury in mothers’ blood and breast milk can interfere with the development of babies’ brains and neurological systems and can lead to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, problems with coordination, lowered IQ and even mental retardation.


#4: Burning “Clean” Coal is Fuel for Climate Change

The U.S. produces about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissionsfrom burning fossil fuels.

Burning coal contributes 40 percent of U.S. CO2 emissions. Coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel. According to the United Nations Environment Program, coal emits around 1.7 times as much carbon per unit of energy when burned as does natural gas and 1.25 times as much as oil.


#5: “Clean” Coal Kills Miners

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 12,000 coal miners died from black lung disease between 1992 and 2002.


#6: “Clean” Coal Wastes Huge Quantities of Water

Coal mining requires an estimated 70 to 260 million gallons of waterevery day.


#7: “Clean” Coal Pollutes Seafood and Freshwater Fish

49 U.S. states have issued fish consumption advisories due to high mercury concentrations in freshwater bodies throughout the country.

Coal-fired power plants are the largest sourceof human-generated mercury pollution in the U.S.


#8: “Clean” Coal Destroys Mountains

Instead of traditional mining, many coal companies now use mountaintop removal to extract coal.

Coal companies are increasingly using this method because it allows for almost complete recovery of coal seams while reducing the number of workers required to a fraction of what conventional methods require.

Mountaintop removal involves clear cutting native hardwood forests, using dynamite to blast away as much as 800-1000 feet of mountaintop, and then dumping the waste into nearby valleys, often burying streams.


#9: “Clean” Coal Kills Freshwater Streams

More than 1,200 miles of Appalachian streams have been buried or damaged by mountaintop removal mining. At least 724 miles of streams were completely buried by valley fills from Appalachian mountaintop removal between 1985 and 2001.

400,000 acres of rich and diverse temperate forests have been destroyed during the same time period as a result of mountaintop mining in Appalachia.


#10: “Clean” Coal Costs Billions in Taxpayer Subsidies

The U.S. government continues to aggressively fund coal-related projects despite all that is known about coal’s impacts on health, climate and the economy.

The Department of Energy is currently seeking $648 million for “clean coal” projects in its 2009 budget request, “representing the largest budget request for coal RD&D in over 25 years.”


This should be titled “Top Ten Environmentalist Myths”.

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2 Responses to Top Ten Reasons Coal is Dirty

  1. Walt says:

    This should be titled “Top Ten Environmentalist Myths”.

  2. Walt says:

    Response To – Top Ten Reasons Coal is Dirty

    #1: “Clean” Coal Increases Rates of Disease

    ALA reports vary greatly, their estimation of premature deaths range from 400 to 30,000. In reality they do not have a clue on the number of premature deaths if any are caused by burning coal. I seem to remember other past predictions, such as the ice age from the 70’s, global warming where millions of people living along the coastline would be homeless and the list goes on and on.
    It is obvious that Hendryx is anti-coal, so any conclusions drawn from his so-called are bias in every meaning of the word. Hendryx admits in the Lexington Herald dated June 23 that “Technically it’s true that we don’t have direct environmental data that we can link in this study.”

    #2: “Clean” Coal Kills Jobs

    Why do enviro’s continue to run with this nonsense? Can anyone name one industry that has not automated their equipment since the 40’s and 50’s. Can anyone name one industry that needs as many workers as they did in the 40’s and 50’s. Do today’s auto makers employ as many as they did in 1948? Don’t the auto makers build more cars today than they did in 1948? Are there as many farmers today as there were in 1948? Don’t we grow more food today than we did in 1948? Are there as many manufacturing available today as there were in 1948?

    ________________________________________
    #3: Burning “Clean” Coal Emits Mercury

    Mercury emissions have been dropping and continue to drop. Compare the annual level of mercury emitted in 1970 and compare it to today level.
    ________________________________________
    #4: Burning “Clean” Coal is Fuel for Climate Change

    First, CO2 is not a pollutant. Secondly our entire atmosphere only contains 0.0039% CO2.
    ________________________________________

    #5: “Clean” Coal Kills Miners

    This stat is misleading. The workers who died in 1992 of black lung more than likely started working in the mines in the early 60’s if not before. Even the workers who died in 2002 would have started in the early 70’s.
    ________________________________________
    #6: “Clean” Coal Wastes Huge Quantities of Water

    Are we running low on water? How much water is used to generate electricity in hydro-electric dams? Would you consider this a waste of water? Is the water really wasted, considering the amount of electricity generated by these coal fired power plants? Doesn’t ethanol also use huge amounts of water?
    ________________________________________
    #7: “Clean” Coal Pollutes Seafood and Freshwater Fish

    Isn’t it strange that states that do not mine coal and states that do not burn coal are having these same advisories as those that do?
    ________________________________________
    #8: “Clean” Coal Destroys Mountains

    Can someone show me where they take 1,000 off a mountaintop? Can someone show me a mountain in Kentucky or West Virginia where there is 1,000 feet of relief from the hollow to the mountaintop?

    If you consider the same area for mountaintop mining, and underground mining you would realize that more jobs would be created and more coal would be recovered by the mountaintop mining method than underground method.
    ________________________________________
    #9: “Clean” Coal Kills Freshwater Streams

    The majority of these so called streams are nothing more than dry gullies which are less than a foot wide and six inches deep and only carry water during rain/snow events.
    If you really want to help the freshwater streams, let’s stop all raw sewage from being dumped into our streams.
    ________________________________________

    #10: “Clean” Coal Costs Billions in Taxpayer Subsidies

    The U.S. government continues to aggressively fund coal-related projects despite all that is known about coal’s impacts on health, climate and the economy.
    The Department of Energy is currently seeking $648 million for “clean coal” projects in its 2009 budget request, “representing the largest budget request for coal RD&D in over 25 years.”
    Clean coal projects are a result of demands made by environmentalist’s. What about all of the tax breaks for wind, solar and ethanol industries? If you consider cost per KW wind and solar garner more subsidies than coal.

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