Category Archives: Coal

Appalachian ‘Our Water, Our Future’ protest today for clean water, climate justice

App-Rising-Mosaic-Donna-1000x288-1Dana Kuhnline wrote this great essay for Waging Nonviolence on the inspiration leading up to the Our Water, Our Future protest scheduled for today in DC. The event and others for this week have been organized by a coalition of groups working on environmental justice in the region, particularly around mountaintop removal and coal.

Appalachians push for clean water and climate justice with week of action
By Dana Kuhnline, Waging Nonviolence. September 6, 2014.

While much of the national climate movement has focused on gearing up towards the People’s Climate March in New York City later this month, frontline communities in Appalachia have been working hard at the local and regional level to address climate justice issues at the source.

“Our people have been producing energy for this nation for over 100 years. We are proud of our heritage. But we can’t stay stuck in time,” said Teri Blanton, a long time organizer with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and The Alliance for Appalachia. “In Appalachia we’ve already seen what climate change can do — denuded and destroyed landscapes, poisoned water and a corrupt political system — it’s all together and it’s all connected. We have seen first hand that what they do to the land, they do to the people.”

Read the whole article here.

Photo comes from the Alliance for Appalachia website.

Read the press release for the events here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Coal, Mountaintop Removal, Water

Canada Now Leads Brazil in Deforestation

Scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch, and the World Resources Institute are tracking global forest decline and have announced that the rate of decline is accelerating.

Canada has now surpassed all other countries including Brazil as being responsible for loss of forest landscapes since 2000.  According to a story in the Ottawa Citizen published last week, the “main drivers are fire, logging, and energy and industrial development.”

Resource exploitation in the boreal forests of Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are particularly devastating. Satellite imagery shows that the boreal forests in the area of the oil sands between Fort McMurray and Lake Athabasca has been almost totally devastated.

 

Lakes, like these in Northern Ontario dot Canada's boreal forests and contain 25 percent of the world's wetlands.  Photo- Jeff Wells

Lakes, like these in Northern Ontario dot Canada’s boreal forests and contain 25 percent of the world’s wetlands. Photo- Jeff Wells

According to Dr Nigel Sizer, director of the forest program at the World Resources Institute, “if this rate of degradation continues “business as usual will lead to destruction of most remaining intact forests in this century”

Canada leads world in forest decline, report says
By William Marsden, Ottawa Citizen. September 3, 2014.

WASHINGTON – The world’s virgin forests are being lost at an increasing rate and the largest portion of the degradation is in Canada, according to a new report.

No longer is Brazil the main villain in the struggle to stop forest destruction.

“Canada is the number one in the world for the total area of the loss of intact forest landscapes since 2000,” Peter Lee, of Forest Watch Canada, said in an interview.

He said the main drivers are fires, logging and energy and industrial development.

“There is no political will at federal or provincial levels for conserving primary forests,” he said. “Most logging done in Canada is still to this day done in virgin forests.”

Using satellite technology, scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch and the World Resources Institute have tracked changes in the earth’s forest coverage. The scientists discovered that the pace of decline is accelerating with more than 104 million hectares – about 8.1 per cent of global undisturbed forests — lost from 2000 to 2013.

Read the whole article here

 

 

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, BREAKING NEWS, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Fracking, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Hydroelectric dams, Industrial agriculture, Keystone XL, Mining, Mountaintop Removal, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized, Water

Report finds high rates of illnesses at PA prison surrounded by coal ash dump

pages-from-report_digital-250x3001Abolitionist Law Center and the Human Rights Coalition have released a report entitled, No Escape: Exposure to Toxic Coal Waste at State Correctional Institution Fayette, based on a year-long investigation into the health impacts of exposure to coal waste at the state prison in Fayette County, PA. The report reveals alarming rates of illnesses consistent with exposure to coal ash, a toxic byproduct of burning coal in power plants.

Surrounded by “about 40 million tons of waste, two coal slurry ponds, and millions of cubic yards of coal combustion waste,” SCI Fayette is inescapably situated in the midst of a massive toxic waste dump. The prison was built on part of a Coal Refuse Deposit Area owned by Matt Canestrale Contracting, which currently operates a coal ash dump directly adjacent to the prison. Before Matt Canestrale Contracting took it over, the land was a dumping ground for coal waste from one of the world’s largest coal processing plants.

The investigation was launched in August of 2013 by Abolitionist Law Center (ALC), the Human Rights Coalition, and The Center for Coalfield Justice, after receiving reports of high rates of illnesses at SCI Fayette. Prisoners reported a number of overlapping symptoms and diseases, including chronic sore throats, extreme throat swelling, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, vision problems, stomach pain, and sores, cysts, and tumors in their mouths, noses, and throats, as well as on their skin. Many prisoners reported being diagnosed with thyroid disorders or cancer after arriving at SCI Fayette. Residents of the nearby town of LaBelle, PA have also reported high rates of breathing problems and cancer, and have been calling for the coal ash dump to be shut down.
 
“No Escape” represents the preliminary findings of the investigation, and more research is needed to better understand both the risks posed by the dump and the nature of prisoners’ health problems. Nonetheless, these preliminary findings raise legal questions about the location of the prison. According to the report, “Situating a prison in the midst of a massive toxic coal waste dump may be impermissible under the Constitution if it is shown that prisoners face a substantial risk of serious harm caused by exposure to pollutants from the dump.” ALC attorney Dustin McDaniel put it this way, “If the patterns of illnesses we’re seeing at SCI-Fayette are indeed related to pollution from the dump, then this prison should be shut down.”

For the more info, click here.
 

 

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White House Council on Environmental Quality buries its head in sand on climate change ruling – DeSmog Blog

Over the past weekend Steve Horn published an important analysis of the recent federal decisions by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to not offer guidance to the federal agencies that it coordinates regarding energy policy and climate change. Industry pushback is given as a primary reason that the CEQ has dropped the ball.

Maybe organizers and participants at the September 17-24  Week of Action surrounding the People’s Climate March in New York can find a way to fit an objection into their busy “demands” list!

Photo from FOEI

Photo from FOEI

 Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects
By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog. August 31, 2014.

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

 

Read the whole article here

Demand System Change!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Hydrofracking, Keystone XL, Media, Oil, Political Repression, Politics, Pollution, Tar Sands, Uncategorized, War, Waste, Water, World Bank, WTO

Coal plant spills 5,000 gallons of oil into Ohio River

Duke Energy’s Beckjord coal plant, New Richmond, Ohio. Photo credit: Brett Ciccotelli via EcoWatch

Duke Energy’s Beckjord coal plant, New Richmond, Ohio. Photo credit: Brett Ciccotelli via EcoWatch

EcoWatch’s Anastasia Pantsios gives a compelling overview of this spill, which might seem ‘small,’ and why it matters. The spill happened late Monday, leading the Coast Guard to close a stretch of the river yesterday. The plant, located near Cincinnati, spilled between 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of fuel oil, and is owned by Duke Energy. It’s closing soon, but apparently doesn’t want to go without leaving its good neighbors something to remember it by.

8,000 Gallons of Oil Spill Into Ohio River From Duke Energy Coal Plant
By Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch. August 19, 2014.

This one’s not a big one in the scheme of things. But to those impacted—especially in Ohio, where algae bloom recently caused the water supplying nearly a half million people in the Toledo area to be undrinkable for several days—it’s bad news. Monday morning, reports the Columbus Dispatch, the Coast Guard closed down a 15-mile length of the Ohio River after Duke Energy’s W.C. Beckjord Station outside Cincinnati dumped approximately 8,000 gallons of oil into the river, according to a Coast Guard estimate.

[...]

Ohio-based Sierra Club organizer Neil Waggoner said of Monday’s spill:

This is yet another example of dirty fossil fuels putting us at risk. We pay with our health. We pay for the dangerous cleanup with our tax dollars. At the same time that Duke Energy was spilling oil in our river, it’s also asking the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to bail out its old, polluting coal plants by passing extra costs on to its customers. If utilities in Ohio invested these dollars in clean energy, we could breathe easier, have safe water and power our lives without suffering the dangers of refineries and coal plants.

Read more at EcoWatch.

 

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Oregon denies permit for coal export terminal, cites damage to Indigenous fisheries as key in decision

Image used by Columbia Riverkeeper.

Image used by Columbia Riverkeeper

Oregon’s Department of State Lands denied Ambre Energy a permit needed for a proposed coal terminal to export coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia. While a range of environmental groups helped put pressure, the state agency singled out the damage that would have been caused to tribal fisheries by the terminal. 

Oregon Department of State Lands rejects Ambre Energy coal export permit, dealing major blow

By Rob Davis, The Oregonian. August 18, 2014.

Oregon’s Department of State Lands on Monday dealt a serious blow to Ambre Energy’s proposed coal terminal, denying a key permit needed for a project to export 8.8 million tons of coal annually to Asia.

The state agency said despite a two-year review, Australia-based Ambre Energy hadn’t done enough to analyze alternatives that would avoid harming tribal fisheries at the Port of Morrow in Boardman, where the company had proposed to build a dock to load coal onto barges.

[...]

Tribes that rely on Columbia River fisheries had opposed the terminal, saying it would destroy protected tribal fishing areas. The state concurred, saying a “small but important long-standing fishery” at the project site would be harmed.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and the project’s most prominent opponent, praised the decision.

“Columbia River tribes have fundamental rights to these fisheries,” he said, “and projects that may interfere with these rights or affect important public resources are held to appropriately high standards.”

Tribes also applauded the rejection.

Read more at The Oregonian.

The image comes from Columbia Riverkeeper: Read more from them here.

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Filed under Coal, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples

Another story about race and America this week

Photo by Carlan Tapp

Photo by Carlan Tapp

With the news and images, and ongoing battle, from Ferguson at the forefront of everyone’s mind, another story of race and America made news. Residents of a predominantly African American community have charged the state of Alabama with violating their civil rights when it dumped toxic coal ash in their community. The EPA is now investigating their claims.

A recent report has shown the damaging effects of coal ash not only on water, but also through the toxic dust released into the air.

Both stories vividly show how race and class work in the US to try to trap communities and deny the rights and quality of life deserved by all.

ALABAMA RESIDENTS SPEAK OUT AGAINST ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS INVOLVING COAL ASH DUMP IN BLACK COMMUNITY

Earthjustice. August 14, 2014.

Washington, D.C — Investigators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency interviewed residents of the predominantly black and low-income community of Uniontown, in Perry County, Ala., this week, to probe charges that their civil rights were violated when the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) decided to re-permit a municipal landfill containing four million cubic yards of poisonous coal ash.

The coal ash came from a massive spill in Kingston, Tennessee, where coal ash burst through a dike in 2008 and sent a billion gallons of toxic waste across 300 acres of riverfront property, destroying two dozens homes. It was the largest coal ash spill in U.S. history.

Read more at earthjustice.org.

Photo comes from Carlan Tapp’s blog: He seems cool and it’s a great picture.

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Filed under Coal, Pollution, Waste

New report on the dangers of toxic coal ash dust and the front-line communities affected

Toxic coal ash dust at the Making Money Having Fun Landfill in Bokoshe, OK. Source: “Ash in Lungs: How Breathing Coal Ash is Hazardous to Your Health”

Toxic coal ash dust at the Making Money Having Fun Landfill in Bokoshe, OK. Source: “Ash in Lungs: How Breathing Coal Ash is Hazardous to Your Health”

Yesterday, July 31st, the Physicians for Social Responsibility and Earthjustice released Ash in Lungs: How Breathing Coal Ash is Hazardous to Your Healthan extensive report on the dangers of breathing coal ash, which has been more known for its pollution of drinking water and waterways. The report includes case studies of particular communities affected by the toxic dust released by coal ash. Here’s a snippet from the conclusion:

An increasingly large number of studies show clear links between inhaled coal ash and adverse health outcomes. The huge volume of coal ash generated in the United States and the many dangerous ways it is dumped create a variety of pathways for harmful levels of human exposure. Communities across the nation are hurt by toxic dust because adequate controls are not in place to protect public health. Often those harmed are communities of color or low-income communities living along the fence lines of these coal ash dumps whose economic hardships make them even more vulnerable to injury. Requiring control of toxic dust through federally enforceable standards that protect all Americans nationwide, and switching from coal to cleaner, renewable energy sources, are well-documented and essential paths to better health.

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Filed under Coal, Pollution, Uncategorized