Category: Coal (Page 1 of 2)

If GOP Takes Senate, Climate Change Deniers Will Control Key Committees

GOP Climate Deniers

It wasn’t long ago that coal executives were openly discussing their dream of Republicans seizing the White House and making Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe — who believes climate change is a “hoax” concocted by greedy scientists — the head of the EPA.

Coal companies provide a product that causes mercury poisoning, climate change and other environmental hazards. The increasingly profitable way of extracting it, mountaintop removal, the process by which a mountain is blown up and the coal beneath it is gathered with heavy cranes and machinery, is being blamed for poisoning waterways throughout Appalachia.

Now, they have a second chance. As dark money groups and SuperPACs backed by millions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry are propelling Republicans to a Senate majority, climate science-denying politicians are likely to seize control of key committee chairmanships, a coup for companies seeking to pollute the atmosphere with impunity. What’s more, Inhofe is slated to become chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, with oversight of the EPA.

Take a look at how the U.S. Senate would likely change under GOP control..

Stop protecting polluters

Click To Take Action!On February 3, a Duke Energy coal ash pond ruptured—spilling more than 80,000 tons of coal ash into North Carolina’s Dan River. Enough toxic sludge to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools.

But this was no accident.  In the past year, three Clean Water Act lawsuits were filed against Duke Energy—and each time, North Carolina’s Department of the Environment and Natural Resources blocked any federal enforcement to craft a toothless “settlement.”

It’s no wonder. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory worked at Duke Energy for 28 years.

Duke Energy North Carolina Coal Ash

The News Just Keeps Getting Worse For West Virginia

By Mary Anne Hitt

Dominion's coal fired power plant beside the James River at Dutch Gap, Virginia

Dominion’s coal fired power plant beside the James River at Dutch Gap, Virginia

We know the coal industry is getting away with poisoning our waterways nationwide, and a new study of federal data by the Associated Press shows just that. Coal industry chemicals and waste “have tainted hundreds of waterways and groundwater supplies, spoiling private wells, shutting down fishing and rendering streams virtually lifeless.”

And here’s the damning detail: “(B)ecause these contaminants are released gradually and in some cases not tracked or regulated, they attract much less attention than a massive spill such as the recent one in West Virginia.”

Coal-fired power plants are the nation’s biggest water polluters, spewing millions of pounds of toxic metals and other pollutants like arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and selenium into surface waters each year.

“I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. Now they’re telling us not to drink the water? We’ve been dumping this stuff into unlined ponds and into old mines for years,” he says. “This MCHM was just one of the chemicals we were told was highly toxic but that we dumped into old mine shafts and slurry ponds, and it’s been seeping into the groundwater for years.”

Beyond West Virginia, need another example of how close to home this contamination can be? Duke Energy’s coal ash pollution is contaminating North Carolina’s Mountain Island Lake – a drinking water source for more than 750,000 people in the greater Charlotte area.

Additionally, Duke Energy’s coal ash pollution from one coal plant in North Carolina kills 900,000 fish every year in Sutton Lake — and that’s just how it affects the fish!

In West Virginia, parents are wondering if they can let their kids drink the water, pregnant women are being told to drink bottled water — and we don’t even know yet the full effects of these leaked chemicals on the land and aquatic wildlife.

How much longer will we let the coal industry play fast and loose with our water? From coal processing chemicals, to the toxics scrubbed while burning coal, to the coal ash left behind – the industry is poisoning an element necessary for all life: water. It’s time to close these water pollution loopholes once and for all.

Will Your Tax Dollars Fund a Highway That’s a Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine in Disguise?

by Mary Anne Hitt

Will Your Tax Dollars Fund a Highway That's a Mountaintop Removal Coal Mine in Disguise?

Today, Appalachian community leaders are in Washington, D.C., to protest a Virginia coal boondoggle that has set its sights on $2 billion of your federal tax dollars. Mountaintop removal coal mining is already a shocking, devastating, and destructive practice on its own — but what happens when you add in coal companies making deals with state and federal transportation agencies in order to seize private land and blow it up for coal? Well then you get the planned Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia.

The project is a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth of Virginia and coal mining companies, including Alpha Natural Resources. The coal companies would get to strip mine the land and leave it razed for building the highway (which may not ever be completed). In order to make this bad deal work, the coal companies were allowed to re-route the highway’s proposed route, moving it away from local business districts and threatening to take thousands of acres of privately-owned land through eminent domain.

Clearly, land and water would be ruined by this mountaintop removal coal mining project, and public health would be put at risk. But on top of all that, the companies are also gunning for $2 billion in federal funds to help make this happen.


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