Posts filed under ‘mining’
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.
Friday, November 14, 2008
GreenPeace amd RAN called for campuses across the country to hold a Coal Day of Action. The Eco Advocate’s of Central Florida at UCF responded.
On Friday, around 11am, we suited up for a theatrical display. Three of us laid on the ground, in a “die-in” fashion, all bloody and dirtied up with signs propped against our lifeless bodies that gave facts regarding coal mining and it’s effect on health and the environment. The rest of us were manned with flyers explaining the truth behind clean coal. Awareness was spread on companies that finance the coal industry and a petition was passed around asking Bank of America, a bank with ATMs and a branch on UCF property, to discontinue financing the coal industry. Our wonderful Coal Representative, “Coal B. Stinky”, informed people of the “wonders” of clean coal and how clean it really was. She offered coal (which was really charcoal) to passers-by and some were actually taking it!
We had a great time with this action. We passed out over 650 flyers and sparked up some very interesting conversation with those in need of more knowledge on the subject. Some opposing minds began to change and question the reality of clean coal after our demonstration. At the end of the action, we all headed to the Reflection Pond, in front of Millican Hall, the building that houses our high-level administration. We took a group picture with a banner that read “Coal is NEVER Clean” and sent it, along with our petition of over 60 signatures, to Bank of America.
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…)