Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Myth Of Clean Coal

Every time I see one of those “clean coal” ads on TV I have to wonder how it is that big companies can bend the truth with impunity to the American public. The statistics quoted in the ads are used to confuse people and make them think that coal is not a part of the pollution problem. When they speak about reductions of emissions they are not talking about greenhouse gasses. Coal-fired power plants belch tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every minute.

The ads also side step the issue of mountaintop removal and the environmental damage caused by this highly destructive mining technique. Additionally coal mining pollutes water and destroys streams. According to the EPA environmental impact statement, more than 1,000 miles of Appalachian streams were permitted to be buried as of 2001.

Coal has to be moved as well. Most of the power plants are far from the coal fields and that means thousands of rail trips to bring it to the generating plants. Rail traffic in American runs on diesel, a fossil fuel that contributes to the pollution and greenhouse gasses.

The Clean Coal campaign is a sham designed to put a happy face on the dirty business of coal mining and burning. We must expand our use of renewable energy such as solar and wind power or we will kill our planet.

I made the switch from an electrical provider who uses coal to one who relies on wind, hydro and solar to generate the power it feeds into the grid. In time, my partner and I hope to equip our house with our own solar panels and wean ourselves off the grid as much as possible. I urge you to learn more and take action to change the way power is generated in this country.

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