- Extraction - the mountains of Appalachia are simply being obliterated.
- Heavy Metals - the dangerous metals that exist both in the coal and in the surrounding rock that has been blasted works its way into ground water, poisoning streams, rivers, and folks who have no choice but to drink contaminated well water.
- Sulfur/Nitrogen - at the power plant, sulfur and nitrogen are released into the upper atmosphere where they combine with other gases and moisture to produce acid rain. Coal-fired power plants in the Midwest are the source of all the acid rain that plagues the northeastern US.
- Mercury - at the power plant, mercury is released into the atmosphere and ends up in lakes and fish. Most states have banned the eating of lake fish due to mercury content. Bigger fish eat these fish and the mercury works its way up the food chain and out to the oceans. We are now warned that pregnant women should not eat large game fish, which all have high levels of mercury...all from coal-fired power plants.
- Fine Particulate Matter - there is soot in the atmosphere from these power plants. It is too small to see, but we know that 50,000 people a year die from respiratory and heart conditions caused by fine particulate matter. Though coal-fired plants are not the only source for this, they are a very significant one.
- Anyone want to add?
Monday, May 01, 2006
52% of our electricity???!!! From Coal????
As my Russian friend always says... "can you believe it?" In this day and age, over HALF of all electricity consumed in the United States comes from Coal-fired power plants. It's like a dirty secret. Coal is not of the Victorian era. It is not a relic from the industrial revolution. Coal is here, and it is now, and it is as part of American society today as it has ever been. The difference today is that we have moved the "dirty" aspects of coal to where they are either far away or invisible: