Speak Out Against Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining

mountaintop removal suggested crop

Mountaintop-removal coal mining (MTR) literally levels the tops of mountains to extract the coal underneath, dumping the leftover debris as “fill” into surrounding streams and waterways. It’s a form of mining that devastates communities and ecosystems, and imperils the rich Appalachian culture – and that’s before we even talk about the climate-change effects of all that burning coal and deforestation. […]

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The True Cost of Coal

The American Economic Review has just published a paper, “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy,” which highlights the economic costs of air pollution versus economic benefits for several industries.  While the paper is fairly dense (and there is a cost to download it), the authors make clear that the economic harms of coal-fired power far outweigh its economic benefits.  In fact, coal has the worst cost benefit ratio of several polluting industries profiled, including solid waste combustion, sewage treatment, and stone quarrying (which also create more economic harms than benefits).  The authors of this study are just looking at the air-pollution harms of coal, which leaves aside the many other health and environmental harms caused by coal-fired power plants.  If you add those in, it is exceedingly clear that coal has a major negative impact on the US economy. In fact, a study published earlier this year by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, and written by faculty at the Center for Health and Global Environment at  Harvard Medical School, found that the true cost of coal is up to ½ trillion dollars per year, when all environmental and health impacts are added in.  Based on this true cost accounting, all clean energy sources are much cheaper than coal.  Of course, if you consider the fact that some of the economic harms of coal literally result from people dying, the need to transition our energy mix away […]

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March to Save Blair Mountain

BlairSign

In 1921, more than 10,000 West Virginia coal miners marched over Blair Mountain, in Logan County, WV, protesting unsafe working conditions in the mines, and with the intention of rescuing illegally imprisoned mine workers in Mingo County, on the Kentucky border. The marchers were met on the mountain by heavily armed anti-union coal-company thugs, and the result was the bloodiest […]

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