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And I have nothing against coal powered electricity as long as it does NOT pollute up the air, soil and water. And the technology to build or to refit older coal fired power plants into ones that are basically near pollution free exists as well. The coal industry has fought very successfully for years to avoid having to use it. Just as they have fought to avoid paying to treat acid runoff into everyone's trout streams.

 So, until the coal crowd cleans up its act, I say a pox on it.

Exactly.

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They are cleaning up their emissions and reclaming damaged land and yet they still get bad press. I dont understand it, this industry employs thousands of people and contribute greatly to our society yet they are looked upon as a POX???

Have any of you ever been in  coal mine do you realize what these people risk and give up to bring us fuel? Mountain topping is a far safer and more healthy way for these folks to give us the power our country needs.

GO into a underground mine and spend time there. I have and they are scary unhealthy hell holes to work in. I would never ask anyone to do it on a daily basis.

The beauty of the human mind is when we see that our efforts on this earth are creating harm we can and always do ( in this country atleast) find a way to correct our mistake and fix it. One only has to look at water quality improvements thruought the US where many rivers are now clean and have trout fisheries in them  ( look at the thread on here from the fellow catch brown trout in the rivers near the great lakes that in my childhood were dead rivers.)

AS I approach 60 years of age I often wonder what happened to our society that we have become so willing to demonize the very things that we have built that have made this country the best place in the world to live. Somehow all the immigrants trying to come here see that clearly yet we have lost that seemingly common sensical view.

Heres a excerpt to the GAO report on acid rain its obvious we are cleaning it up and will continue to do so I'll put the link to the report at the bottom of the post.

Every objection I put a link to a counter to has been mocked even though photographic evidence and birding web sites ( certainly not a top secret coal organization) are provided.

WE need prairie evironments for certain species of birds the coal company creates them and still gets bad comments?? I just do not understand that.

In terms of the health of the earth 10 year 50 years or even a 1000 years is a mere blip on the time line.

God gave us the brains to fix our mistakes instead of seeing a hopeless problem we always see the means to fix them.

We should marvel at that and be proud of it.

QUOTE]In the United States, total emissions of sulfur dioxide—one of two major

causes of acid rain—declined 17 percent from 1990 through 1998, but total

emissions of nitrogen oxides—the other major cause—changed little

during the same time period. Meanwhile, sulfur dioxide emissions from

electric utility power plants (the largest single source of such emissions)

also declined 17 percent during this period, and nitrogen oxide emissions

from electric utility power plants (the second largest source) declined by 8

percent.

In the eastern United States, total deposition of sulfur decreased 26 percent

from 1989 through 1998, while total deposition of nitrogen decreased 2

percent, according to a preliminary analysis performed by an EPA

contractor of data collected by EPA and other federal agencies. For the

three environmentally sensitive areas, the trends were generally similar.

For example, there was a 26-percent decrease—measured as the annual

average for 1983-94 versus 1995-98—in wet sulfate deposition in the

Adirondack Mountains.

In the Adirondack Mountains from 1992 through 1999, sulfates declined in

92 percent of a representative sample of lakes—selected by the Adirondack

Lakes Survey Corporation, but nitrates increased in 48 percent of those

lakes. The decrease in sulfates is consistent with decreases in sulfur

emissions and deposition, but the increase in nitrates is inconsistent with

the stable levels of nitrogen emissions and deposition. On the basis of our

review of relevant scientific literature, it appears that the vegetation and

land surrounding these lakes have lost some of their previous capacity to

use nitrogen, which allowed more of the nitrogen to flow into the lakes and

increase their acidity. Increases in these lakes’ acidity raise questions about

their prospects for recovering under the current program and being able to

support fish and other wildlife.

The utilities in the 11 midwestern states relied on sulfur dioxide allowances

that originated in those states for 11.2 million (81 percent) of the 13.9

million allowances they used from 1995 through 1998, according to EPA’s

1The 11 midwestern states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan,

Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Here is the link to the whole report

link to trends in acid rain

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I am going to try to put a little more information out here to show the complexity of the issue.  Unfortunately the thread is degrading to political opinions and if it continues perhaps Brad should shut it down.

Coal mining in Kentucky and West Virginia has been going on for over a hundred years. It is part of the social fabric of the region. When coal was discovered, often buyers who came into the country to buy timber would offer to purchase the mineral rights for pennys per acre. Since cash was always scarce, many landowners felt they got a nice "nest egg"  selling something underground.

Some definitions:

Deep mining is tunneling into a seam of coal and extracting it at the mine entance.

Strip mining occurs in flat areas. A long, deep trench is dug down to the coal seam. The material on top of the coal, called overburden, is piled up parallel to the first cut. A second trench is dug on the opposite side of the first one, and overburdon from the first cut is placed in the second. This operation proceeds across the property until all coal is extracted. The final cut is left as an open pit that eventually fills with water. Depending on the makeup of the overburden, the water can be clean and pure, acidic and sometime basic. Some final cut lakes or ponds have wonderful fishing, some are toxic to all life.

Contour mining is done on mountain and hillsides and looks like a common road cut around the mountain. In the old days, the overburden was placed on the outslope, in other words, shoved over the hill. In the late 70s, early 80s Federal requirements said the industry had to restore the cuts on hills and strip mines to "approximate original countour". The industry did not like this as it was expensive.

At about this time engineers determined that removing the whole mountain top was as cost effective as retoring the countour.  It was also the beginning of the era of deregulation and the deal was worked out that since they were creating flat land, the industry could restore it to that condition. There were also standards for "ultimate land use." If the land was to be used for development, ie factories, retail, housing, the industry had to ensure that the ground was solid and stable.  If it were to be developed for agriculture, soil fertility was mandated. The easiest standard was to develop the land for wildlfe and many wildlife agencies bought off on this. I worked on this a lot in my early carreer and I am not happy with the end result. The state and Federal wildlife agencies wanted certain plants excluded and wanted revegetation with native species. In the end we lost and so large areas that could have had major benefical impacts on wildlife have been setback for decades if not centuries.

Bobman found in a KDFWR report that mined lands at the Peabody WMA and certain mine lands in eastern Kentucky have good quail numbers. These are lands that were mined 50 -70 years ago and are just now reaching a shrub/herbaceous stage that is good for quail, rabbits and open land non game species. If these areas had simply been logged, not mined, they would now be maturing forests.

As an aside, I spent over two yeqrs acquiring the Peabody lands for the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and I am proud of my efforts.

The same KDFWR report indicates that quail numbers are about half of the historic averages dating to the 1960s. There are many reasons for this, mostly land use changes, but this includes mining.

The large mountain top jobs are going to be pretty sterile for a long time. We can haul in top soil and lots of fertilizer and create golf courses, do the same thing and create "show farms", if decent water can be piped in, but all in all I think we could have done better for furture generations.

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AS I approach 60 years of age I often wonder what happened to our society that we have become so willing to demonize the very things that we have built that have made this country the best place in the world to live. Somehow all the immigrants trying to come here see that clearly yet we have lost that seemingly common sensenical view.

Bob,

I honestly don't see any "demonizing" going on. As I (and others) have already said, it's not that we're against coal, per se. And there has been acknowledgment that, at least for now, we still need it. It's not about coal - it's about the impacts of the way that it has been extracted. Coal mining has had huge environmental impacts, does not have a good environmental track record, and is a heavily subsidized industry - I think that's pretty hard to deny.

As far as, "the very things that we have built that have made this country the best place in the world to live" goes, it's all about learning and evolving, or at least it should be. Just because something may have been essential 50 years ago doesn't mean we can't, over time,  reassess whether the benefits continue to outweigh the negative impacts. And also continue to hold our industries to high standards, so that future generations aren't paying for it. In fact, that's exactly what we should be doing all the time, imo.

It isn't things like "coal" that made this country great - it's been our strong spirit of innovation. Unfortunately, we seem to be reaching a point where, for a variety of reasons, we're finding ourselves wedded to aging technologies and resources (and defending them), when we should be leading the new wave and continuing to innovate. Other countries are already passing us in this regard.

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quail have declined to far less then half the populations of the 60's here in georgia without mining so compared to that its an improvement.

I agree with one thing though we can always do better each step is another in the learning curve

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It isn't things like "coal" that made this country great - it's been our strong spirit of innovation. Unfortunately, we seem to be reaching a point where, for a variety of reasons, we're finding ourselves wedded to aging technologies and resources (and defending them), when we should be leading the new wave and continuing to innovate. Other countries are already passing us in this regard.

examples please of these countries

thanks

I believe our country has the best track record of evironmental issues of any leading industrial nation

the largest barriers to clean energy is politically motivated and makes no sense nulear is the only workable one and even though its working safely and fine in France and also here in Georgia its unacceptable by the same folks that claim carbon emmisions need to be dealt with immediately. That tells me there is a hidden ajenda and/or the problem doesn't really exist.

Go back and read some of the posts wishing a POX on someone could be described as demonizing couldn't it :D  

I dont think there is any energy source that doesn't have side effects and is currently viable when we develops one that will be great but until that happens we need energy NOW

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examples please of these countries

thanks

the largest barriers to clean energy is politically motivated

Norway leads the world in terms of innovating and implementing wind power technology according to many sources.

Germany is in a similar position in terms of solar power, both in terms of developing technology and in terms of implementing it through public works and by creating strong incentives for individuals to power (at least part) of their homes with it. And far from still being "economically unfeasible" as we're often told in the States, it has created a booming industry there.

Now, I'm the first to admit that we aren't at a point where either wind, or solar, or any other renewable resource that we're aware of is going to solve all of our energy problems. But the attitude of waiting until something like that is developed is a "follower" attitude, not a "leader."

But you're right, Bob, that the biggest obstacle to clean energy development in this country has been political - it has been the massively powerful traditional resource lobbies and the politicians that they put in office. If we subsidized solar, wind, etc. projects to the degree that we subsidize oil, gas and coal, I think we'd be in a very different situation right now. The whole "it's still economically unfeasible" argument in terms of renewables is really laughable when you consider that most of our traditional, non-renewable resource industries wouldn't be able to survive without the massive subsidies that they receive, and if they had to truly function as for-profit industries (and that goes for nuclear too, probably even more so than the others). The oil industry is obviously excluded from this, and yet, being the most lucrative industry on the planet doesn't stop them from receiving all sorts of subsidies.

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Btw, I don't necessarily have any problem with our energy being subsidized - it is just about everywhere in the world, by every country. But I sometimes think that in the U.S. we're pretty ignorant in terms of the degree to which our energy is subsidized. Especially when the discussion comes around to what is "economically feasible" and/or what isn't "cost effective." Often the argument that switching to more renewable technology still isn't "economically feasible" is coming from "experts" who in one way or another are frequently connected to non-renewable energy industries if you do a little digging. And rarely, if ever, in those discussions does the topic of the amount that we subsidize our existing industries come up as a counterpoint to what is economically feasible and what isn't.
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I am all for solar wind I think is unworkable but maybe that will change.

Those in opposition to the only workable alternative currently available, nuclear, are certainly not

the massively powerful traditional resource lobbies and the politicians that they put in office.
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Btw, I don't necessarily have any problem with our energy being subsidized - it is just about everywhere in the world, by every country. But I sometimes think that in the U.S. we're pretty ignorant in terms of the degree to which our energy is subsidized....

Why do you say coal and other fossil fuels are subsidized?

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I am all for solar wind I think is unworkable but maybe that will change.

Just remember, the wind will not always blow and the sun will not always shine.

You will always need the "reliable" sources of power in the amount > 100% of your needs. Reliable = coal, gan, nuclear, etc.

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The acid mine drainage problem, just in PA:

Acidic, metal-laden drainage from abandoned coal mines is common in Appalachia and has a negative effect on aquatic resources including degradation of habitat and loss of important recreational fisheries. In Pennsylvania, the 3,000 miles of streams degraded by AMD create an estimated annual loss of $67 million in revenue associated with sport fishing. The cost for correcting the AMD-related problems with currently available technology is estimated to be $5 billion to $15 billion.

source: http://pa.water.usgs.gov/projects/amd/restoration.html

Acid rain effects, just in PA:    

                                                                                   http://www.gasp-pgh.org/hotline/hotline-fall-1999/fall99-3/

And:  

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep....ain.htm

 

And don't eat the fish, due to mercury poisoning, primarily from power plant emissions:

http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/watersu....=453946

So, somebody tell me again why ONE industry has the right to pollute up everyone's world??  :angry:  :angry:

A cost of from between $5 and 15 BILLION dollars for the clean up?? In one state??

All I am saying is if you mess it up, you clean it up. That rule applies to our children and to most people. Why does it NOT apply to coal and coal powered electric plants??

A pox on the whole lot of them. To quote my favorite Vice President: " I said it and I meant it."

Quailguy

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The acid mine drainage problem, just in PA:

Acidic, metal-laden drainage from abandoned coal mines is common in Appalachia and has a negative effect on aquatic resources...

I agree.

But what I wonder is if the damage was done by the mining industry years ago?  

Or stated another way, I agree the practices of the mining industry from years gone by was horrible.  Is it better today and we are blaming them for something that happened 25 years ago?  Or is it still happening today?

I say this because I know a little more about the chemical industry (emphasis on the word little).  The practices of the chemical industry in thr 70's compared to today are night and day.  Yet there is still great bias against them.

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Why do you say coal and other fossil fuels are subsidized?

Really? You don't think they are? You can start here:

From, "Taking a Closer Look at Energy Subsidies in the Federal Tax Code"

by Gilbert E. Metcalf (professor of economics at Tufts University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research).

"According to the Office of Management and Budget in the president's most recent budget submission, the federal government provided over $10 billion in energy-related subsidies through special tax deductions and credits in 2007...

Tax-based energy subsidies are an increasingly important policy tool: in constant dollars, these subsidies have more than tripled between 1999 and 2007...

Coal accounts for 25 percent of tax-related subsidies and 90 percent of that goes to refined coal. (Refined coal is a fuel produced from coal or high carbon fly ash that is modified to increase its energy content and reduce certain emissions.) Other coal subsidies include, among other things, capital gains tax treatment of royalty payments to owners of land on which coal is mined.

Oil and natural gas received 20 percent of the tax-related subsidies in FY 2007. Expensing exploration and development costs and allowing independent producers to use percentage depletion rather than cost depletion account for over three-quarters of this total..."

Source.

And, from the Energy Information Administration (Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government):

Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy Markets 2007

And that's just federal, that's not including all the additional state subsidies, or "incentives."

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Whats confusing to me is they subsidize and they also tax it.

I wonder how the heck it all works this kind of stuff never makes any sense to me. Any time a politicain is in the mix I suspect corruption....

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