Posts filed under ‘mountainjustice’
by Maura Friedman, UGA Student Organizer
Though Power4Georgians, a coalition of Georgia electric membership corporations, is quick to tout dirty coal, on October 20th, the real source of power was the people.
At Tuesday’s Environmental Protection Division hearing, Georgia citizens had the opportunity to publicly voice comments on the proposed coal-fired power plant to be built in Sandersville, GA. People hailing from all backgrounds and corners of the state came out in full force to represent what they wanted the future of Georgia to look like. Nearly 8 out of every 10 who spoke agreed that the future should include clean air, fresh water, healthy kids, and, subsequently, no coal.
Members of communities across the state came together to remind the EPD that coal’s pollutants and health effects don’t just stay within city limits, they’re felt upwind and downstream as well, while Sandersville residents made it clear their livelihood wasn’t up for discussion either.
Most striking about the content of the hearing was the human component. Many who spoke included stories of their personal connection to the land. Sometimes we forget that polluting streams means a granddaughter can’t play in the water or a family can’t eat the fish their son catches. Polluting the air means residents can’t enjoy their own property or a young person leaves to raise a family somewhere safer. Using 16 million gallons of water a day to run a coal fired power plant means wells go dry, but more than that, it means a specific family loses their water access.
Although the promise of jobs to accompany the construction of the coal plant glimmered like fool’s gold, many had their eye on an even more economical prize. The resounding preference at the hearing was for renewable energy and green jobs, the creation of which provides an average of 6 jobs to every 4 jobs fossil fuel-dependent industry contributes. Moreover, sustainable energy does not ask communities to make the tremendous choice between jobs and health.
On Tuesday, the people spoke and their message, one against the damage coal brings to communities, resonated clearly. Now their fate, as well as that of their land and future generations is in the hands of the EPD as Georgia waits with bated breath.
Tenn. shouldn’t be a ‘cheap place to mine,’ Gov. Bredesen says of effort
NASHVILLE – Plans for expanded coal mining in East Tennessee, much of it in the Sundquist Wildlife Management Area, would be jeopardized by a proposed increase in the state’s coal severance tax, National Coal Corp. officials said Tuesday.
The tax bill’s sponsor, Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, said the state shouldn’t make it easy to strip mine, however, and he has Gov. Phil Bredesen’s support.
“I think of mining as kind of a necessary evil,” Bredesen said, pointing out that after talking to Jackson, he understands the proposed tax rate would put Tennessee on par with other coal-mining states.
BOONE, NC and WASHINGTON, DC – Advocates for the mountains and coalfield residents today opened a new front in the fight against destructive coal mining, filing suit in Washington, D.C. District Court to stop federal investment in new power plants that would enshrine coal for another generation.
The suit, filed by the North Carolina-based Appalachian Voices and Canary Coalition, states that the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing coal plants without knowing the true environmental costs – including impacts of ultra-destructive mountaintop removal coal mining. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 included $1.65 billion in tax incentives for new coal plants, $1 billion of which has been allocated to nine projects around the country.
“The fact is that there’s no such thing as clean coal as long as our mountains are getting clear-cut, blown up and bulldozed down,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Executive Director of Appalachian Voices. “Right now, the electricity that powers your home may well come from mountaintop removal coal. We need fewer coal plants, not more.”
Mountaintop removal coal mining is an extremely destructive form of strip mining found throughout Appalachia, with some mines as big as the island of Manhattan. Coalfield residents say that it tears apart communities, poisons water supplies, pollutes the air and destroys our nation’s natural heritage – while only making the climate crisis worse.
“Members of the Canary Coalition and all people who live, work or vacation in western North Carolina are feeling the impact of existing coal-burning power plants on our health and the environment,” said Avram Friedman, Executive Director of the Canary Coalition. “Asthma related to ozone pollution is the largest cause of absenteeism in our public schools. Emphysema plagues the elderly in this region. Heart and lung disease related to fine particulate sulfur dioxide has been documented by the American Lung Association. We are threatened by tropical diseases migrating north due to global warming caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. The status quo of air quality in western North Carolina is unacceptable. Building and operating a new coal-burning power plant such as Duke Energy’s planned expansion at Cliffside is unacceptable.”
Of the nine experimental coal facilities that have received tax incentives, none have conducted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) looking at the impact of coal on the environment – as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The nine facilities include a Duke Energy projects in Edwardsport, IN and in Rutherford and Cleveland Counties, NC; a Mississippi Power Company project; an E.ON U.S. & Louisville Gas and Electric project in Bedford, KY; a Carson Hydrogen Power project in Carson, CA; a TX Energy project in Longview, TX; a Tampa Electric project in Polk County, FL (that is currently delayed); and two anonymous coal gasification projects.
The effort to end mountaintop removal has been gaining steam over the past year. As of today, the leading Congressional plan to end the practice has 129 co-sponsors – dozens more than last Congress, and only halfway through this session. (more…)
March 2, 2008
Coal companies fight bill to ban mountaintop strip mining
By ERIK SCHELZIG
A proposal to ban most mountaintop removal mining and to toughen other environmental standards for the coal industry in Tennessee is running into stiff opposition from state coal producers.
National Coal Corp. President Dan Roling told the state Senate Environment and Conservation Committee last week that passing the measure would have dire effects on the industry in the state.
“Prohibiting mining above 2,000 feet elevation in the case of National Coal alone would basically force us — or almost force us — to close our doors,” Roling told the committee.
Roling said about 28 million tons of the company’s coal reserves worth about $700 million would be affected by the measure.
Knoxville-based National Coal currently produces about 1.4 million tons of coal a year, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
So we are a little less than 14 days out from MJSB Virginia 2008. We are really excited about it. We have got a big chunk of the schedule all worked out, and we’ve got really great workshops, trainings, community service opportunities and action opportunities lined up. So check it out at www.mjsb.org. And Register!! And forward this message along to interested parties.
We really need folks who are planning on coming out to register on the website. We need to know how much food to buy! And to set up carpooling, and cover fundraising.