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Posts Tagged ‘Big Coal

EPA mercury regs end 2011 on a high note

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It took a while—20 years!—but the EPA’s historic decision to regulate mercury emissions are cause for a major celebration and at least a dollop of optimism that the U.S. is on the right environmental path heading into the new year. That is if the Republicans don’t mess it all up by winning the White House in November. (Writing that just sent a major chill up my spine.)

Not long ago I wrote about how a few miniscule drops of mercury can contaminate a 20-acre lake and the fish that happen to reside there, thanks to coal-fired plant emissions. That’s a major reason why the EPA’s decision to regulate the emissions of mercury, lead and other toxic pollutants from coal- and oil-fired plants is a major victory for the health and environmental welfare of the nation. And for jobs.

Please ignore the scare tactics from Big Coal and right-wing wackos about blackouts, job losses and energy security risks as a result of the rules. That’s their big lie and they are sticking to it no matter what.

“Congress ordered the EPA to regulate toxic air pollution more than 20 years ago when it passed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,” said Rachel Cleetus, senior climate economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The EPA has been regulating most industries up until now, except for the biggest polluters—coal and oil-fired power plants. The public health benefits far outweigh the costs. And contrary to the doomsday predictions of industry and their allies in Congress, the lights will stay on.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by William DiBenedetto

29 December, 2011 at 2:02 am

Spruce Down: Saving the Mountain top

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A 12-year battle over the future of one of the largest West Virginia mountaintop removal coal mines was resolved this week when the Environmental Protection Agency “vetoed” Spruce Mine No. 1.

Since 1998, the Sierra Club, along with Coal River Mountain Watch, WV Highlands Conservancy, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Public Justice and the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment have fought the Spruce mine specifically and the practice of blowing up mountain tops to get at coal.

And now, apparently Spruce is stopped.

In its final determination, EPA says that after “extensive scientific study,” a major public hearing in the state and more than 50,000 public comments, it is using its authority under the Clean Water Act to halt the disposal of mining waste in streams at Arch Coal’s Mingo-Logan Coal Company mine. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

21 January, 2011 at 2:00 am

Have a sustainable, renewable New Year

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This is the time of year when writers, journalists, bloggers or whatever we scribblers have become in an age where communication and connection occurs mostly in 140-word snippets or less take a look back and ahead. Top Ten lists abound; crystal ball thumb-sucking dots the landscape and cyberspace.

I’ll leave that listing and prediction stuff (mostly) to the experts, or at least to those who have managed to stay gainfully and reliably employed over the last 12 months. They must have greater insight, or skills or something.

I do have some observations, for what they are worth:

– The usual word to describe the recovery is fragile but I prefer chimerical. Corporate profits are rebounding, Wall Street’s escape act was hugely successful and Republicans proved once again that America’s short-term memory disorder is firmly entrenched and that lies, inaccuracies, misrepresentations, denials, polarization and fear-mongering is a winning strategy. Well, winning for them – for many the economic recovery is mostly non-existent: unemployment hovers stubbornly around 10 percent; wages continue their decline; the housing market remains in the toilet; energy costs are increasing; the stranglehold of Big Oil and Big Coal continues unabated.

– Whatever the emerging ‘new normal’ is, it’s not much fun – it’s really pretty raw, stressful and uncertain.

– On a personal note: Freelancing should never be construed as working for free! OK? Are we clear?

– Environmentally-speaking, when electric vehicles hit the market in a major and consumer-friendly way—and one, the Chevy Volt, wins Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award—that is stunning and hopeful progress.

– Environmentally-speaking, when a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon occurs and little to nothing occurs to change our dependence on fossil fuel, or regulation of Big Oil, that is stunning and disturbing progress of an entirely different sort.

So ‘here’s to the new boss, same as the old boss.’

Here’s to the New Year, same as the Old Year.

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