Environmental Cost of Coal


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Beyond the Light Switch: Part 1 | 2015 | PBS | 56:46 minutes


U.S. EPA | 2016 | Overview of Greenhouse Gases  | United States Environmental Protection Agency

Description: “Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. This section provides information on emissions and removals of the main greenhouse gases to and from the atmosphere. For more information on the science of climate change and other climate forcers, such as black carbon, please visit the Climate Change Science Home Page


Carbon Tracker | 2013 | Pumphandle 2012: History of atmospheric carbon dioxide | YouTube | 3:35 Minutes

Description: “History of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years before present until January, 2012. Recommend full screen/HD to read titles. See http://carbontracker.noaa.gov  for more information on the global carbon cycle.”


NPR | 2011 | 7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast?  | YouTube | 2:33 Minutes

Description: “It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West. As higher standards of living and better health care are reaching more parts of the world, the rates of fertility — and population growth — have started to slow down, though the population will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. U.N. forecasts suggest the world population could hit a peak of 10.1 billion by 2100 before beginning to decline. But exact numbers are hard to come by — just small variations in fertility rates could mean a population of 15 billion by the end of the century. http://skunkbear.tumblr.com”


Energy News  | National Geographic

Description: “Stories and solutions for powering the world.”


The Greenhouse Effect  | National Geographic

Description: “Here’s what you need to know about ​the warming planet, ho​​w it’s affecting us, and what’s at stake.”


The Great Energy Challenge | Four Ways to Look at Carbon Footprints | National Geographic

Description: “Fourteen nations and Europe account for about 80% of world greenhouse gas emissions.”


Columbus Business First | June 11, 2009 | Gee Re-elected to Massey Energy Board | American City Business Journals

Description: “Shareholders of Virginia coal mining concern Massey Energy Co. have given a thumbs-up to the controversial re-election of Ohio State University President Gordon Gee.”


Everdeen Mason | May 30, 2009 | President Gee Retires from Coal Board | The Lantern

Description: “Massey Energy appreciates and understands Dr. Gee’s desire to devote his attention to Ohio,” said chairman and CEO Don Blankenship in a press release. ‘Since 2000, Dr. Gee has served Massey Energy with distinction. His wisdom, advice and experience will be greatly missed.’ Gee served on Massey’s Executive Committee, Audit Committee and Governance and Nominating Committee, according to Massey’s 2008 annual report. Gee also was chair of the Safety, Environmental and Public Policy Committee. For his service, Gee receives more than $200,000, according to The Associated Press.”


Ian Urbina | April 9, 2010 | No Survivors Found After West Virginia Mine Disaster | The New York Times

Description: “Rescue workers failed to find any survivors after a huge explosion on Monday left 29 dead in the worst U.S. mine disaster in decades.”


Laura Wagner | April 6, 2016 | Former Coal Executive Don Blankenship Sentenced to 1 year In Prison | NPR

Description: “Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was sentenced to the maximum of one year in prison for conspiring to break safety laws and defrauding mine regulators at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch Mine, which exploded in 2010, killing 29 men.”


Yale Environment 360 | 2009 | Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining | Yale University | 20:07 Minutes

Description: “During the last two decades, mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia has destroyed or severely damaged more than a million acres of forest and buried nearly 2,000 miles of streams. Leveling Appalachia: The Legacy of Mountaintop Removal Mining, a video report produced by Yale Environment 360 in collaboration with MediaStorm, focuses on the environmental and social impacts of this practice and examines the long-term effects on the region’s forests and waterways. At a time when the Obama administration is reviewing mining permit applications throughout West Virginia and three other states, this video offers a first-hand look at mountaintop removal and what is at stake for Appalachia’s environment and its people.”


Palmer et al. | 2010 | Mountaintop Mining Consequences | Science | Volume 327 | Pages 148-149

Description:”Damage to ecosystems and threats to human health and the lack of effective mitigation require new approaches to mining regulation.”


Lindberg et al. | 2011 | Cumulative impacts of mountaintop mining on an Appalachian Watershed | PNAS | Volume 108 | Pages 20929-20934

ABSTRACT: “Mountaintop mining is the dominant form of coal mining and the largest driver of land cover change in the central Appalachians. The waste rock from these surface mines is disposed of in the adjacent river valleys, leading to a burial of headwater streams and dramatic increases in salinity and trace metal concentrations immediately downstream. In this synoptic study we document the cumulative impact of more than 100 mining discharge outlets and approximately 28 km2 of active and reclaimed surface coal mines on the Upper Mud River of West Virginia. We measured the concentrations of major and trace elements within the tributaries and the mainstem and found that upstream of the mines water quality was equivalent to state reference sites. However, as eight separate mining-impacted tributaries contributed their flow, conductivity and the concentrations of selenium, sulfate, magnesium, and other inorganic solutes increased at a rate directly proportional to the upstream areal extent of mining. We found strong linear correlations between the concentrations of these contaminants in the river and the proportion of the contributing watershed in surface mines. All tributaries draining mountaintop-mining-impacted catchments were characterized by high conductivity and increased sulfate concentration, while concentrations of some solutes such as Se, Sr, and N were lower in the two tributaries draining reclaimed mines. Our results demonstrate the cumulative impact of multiple mines within a single catchment and provide evidence that mines reclaimed nearly two decades ago continue to contribute significantly to water quality degradation within this watershed.”


DPTV Documentaries | 2012 | Beyond the Light Switch – Coal | PBS | 17:29 Minutes

Description: “Carbon capture and storage promises to clean up coal’s carbon emissions. But it’s expensive, takes up a lot of real estate and has never been proven to work at commercial scale. Beyond The Light Switch examines the feasibility of attaching CCS units to every coal-fired plant in America.”


Web Staff | February 6, 2014 | Report: Dan River ‘highly toxic’ due to Duke Energy coal ash spill | Fox8 News

Description: “EDEN, N.C. — A certified laboratory analysis of water samples taken from the Dan River on Feb. 4 reveal that the water immediately downstream of Duke Energy’s ash spill is “contaminated with extremely high levels of arsenic, chromium, iron, lead and other toxic metals” typically found in coal ash, according to a report from Waterkeeper Alliance.”


Catawba Riverkeeper | February 6, 2014 | Duke Energy Dan River Coal Ash Spill Updates: What We Know, What We Need to Know 

Description: “Spill first noticed Sunday, spilled through Friday afternoon; site has two ponds on EPA list of 44 ponds nationwide with High Hazard Potential rating. Engineering reports and EPA analysis (included below) detail concerns years ago.”


Colleen Jenkins | February 13, 2014 | U.S. Prosecutors Open Criminal Probe of Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill | Reuters

Description: “Feb 13 U.S. prosecutors are investigating whether a crime was committed when thousands of tons of coal ash sludge spilled from a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina in early February into a river that supplies drinking water for nearby towns.”


Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative | Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement | U.S. Department of the Interior

Description: “The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) is a coalition of groups, including citizens, the coal industry, and government dedicated to restoring forests on coal mined lands in the Eastern United States. ARRI was established in early 2004 with the formation of the Core Team. The Core Team’s responsibilities include outreach, trainings, event planning, monthly meetings to discuss progress reports and new strategies, among other things.”


Beyond Coal | Sierra Club

Description: “Not only is coal burning responsible for one third of US carbon emissions—the main contributor to climate disruption—but it is also making us sick, leading to as many as 13,000 premature deaths every year and more than $100 billion in annual health costs. The Beyond Coal campaign’s main objective is to replace dirty coal with clean energy by mobilizing grassroots activists in local communities to advocate for the retirement of old and outdated coal plants and to prevent new coal plants from being built. Our goals include: Retiring one-third of the nation’s more than 500 coal plants by 2020, Replacing the majority of retired coal plants with clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, and geothermal, and Keeping coal in the ground in places like Appalachia and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.”