A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices


The Coal Report

Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Will Save Lives

By Meg Holden

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newest regulations to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants, will take into account the problem of air currents whisking pollutants far away from their original sources.

“Pollution that crosses state lines places a greater burden on (downwind) states and makes them responsible for cleaning up someone else’s mess,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The new regulations help ensure that communities are not responsible for air pollution created elsewhere.

According to EPA estimates, the new regulations will cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 73 percent of 2005 levels within two years and Nitrogen oxide will be cut by over half. Both of these gases cause acid rain, contribute to holes in the ozone layer and cause respiratory illness.

Teri Blanton of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth feels that upgrades to air pollution regulations are long overdue.

“We have known for decades that producing energy through coal-fired power plants is disastrous to the health of the people,” Blanton said. “We’re all affected by what comes out of their stacks.”

Implementation of the CSAPR will help Americans avoid adverse health effects including 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 19,000 hospital and emergency visits, 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma and 1.8 million missed days of school and work annually, according to EPA estimates.

The CSAPR will affect 27 states, including all nine states in the central and southern Appalachians. For more information, visit epa.gov/crossstaterule.

Newsbites from Coal Country

Sierra Club Coal Campaign Is Blooming

NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged $50 million to the enviro club’s Beyond Coal Campaign over the next four years. The funds will be used to double the 100-person staff dedicated to stopping coal-fired energy from being used in the U.S.

Turning Brownfields Green

Washington County, Penn., is home to 136 brownfields, areas where the potential presence of harmful contaminants preclude use. The EPA hopes that an injection of green–$400,000 in grants–will help the Washington County Redevelopment Association assess options for old coal mines.

Super Monopoly to Progress?

Duke Energy and Progress Energy have set August 23 as the date for shareholders to vote on their proposed merger. The action would create the nation’s largest utility, with 7.1 million customers. Numerous objections to the merger have been filed.

Astrophysicist Admits to Accepting Dirty Money

Climate change skeptic Willie Soon has received more than $1 million from major U.S. coal and oil companies. No report on whether he has used any of that money to benefit the polar bears that he claims are not threatened by human-caused climate change.

Lowering Education … and Life Expectancy

Upshur County, W.Va., high schoolers may be getting the ultimate excuse to skip class: a 1,800 acre mine directly underneath Buckhannon-Upshur High School. The mine, proposed by industry giant Arch Coal, would risk the lives of students and teachers for the sake of cheap coal.

The Coal-bert Report

Comedian and pundit Stephen Colbert, along with Talisman Terry the Frackasaurus, a character created by oil and gas company Talisman Energy, informed the viewing public about hydraulic fracturing in July. Colbert also invoked Mountaintop Mining Manny in a jibe at Massey Energy.

Coal: Now Bad for Jobs, Too?

A new study comparing strip-mine locations in West Virginia with population and economic data reports that mountaintop removal coal mining does not increase local employment. The report denies coal company claims that “coal means jobs.”

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