Tracking the Impact of Coal
A Threat to Human and Environmental Health
March 5, 2015
When you flip on a switch powered by coal-generated electricity, the cost of that energy runs far beyond the typical conversation on fossil fuels and climate change. Every stage in the life cycle of coal — mining, processing, transportation and use — creates a stream of toxic waste that contaminates our land, air and water. These dangers are all the more pronounced for Appalachian coal mining communities, where a radical form of extraction known as mountaintop removal occurs, and for communities across the country that are exposed to hazardous waste generated by nearby coal-fired power plants.
Join students, academics, activists and the general public for a discussion of the environmental repercussions that come to harm local populations when coal blasted from the mountains of Appalachia is used to power electric generation in homes and businesses across the eastern United States. Our panel of experts will explain the steps in this process that wreak havoc on human and environmental health and help you to understand the true costs of coal.
- Dr. Avner Vengosh is a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University and has conducted research on topics such as mountaintop removal mining contaminants and coal combustion waste
- Terry Lansdell is the manager of Clean Air Carolina’s Medical Advocates for Healthy Air program
- Dr. Matt Wasson is the director of programs with Appalachian Voices and holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from Cornell University