Then New Mexicio Public Interest Research Group (NMPIRG) has just released a report entitled: Making Sense of the “Coal Rush”: The Consequences of Expanding America’s Dependence on Coal. I’ve only read the executive summary, thus far. Here are some evident central ideas:
• The new coal-fired power plants, if built, will strain the U.S.’s ability to extract and deliver enough coal to keep them running. U.S. coal demand would increase by over 30 percent if all the plants are built, requiring additional mines and expanded railroad infrastructure to move the coal around the country. Mining additional coal would damage America’s land and water.
• According to the U.S. Department of Energy, currently operational coal mines have enough recoverable coal to supply the power industry for only 18 years at current levels of demand (and fewer years if demand increases).
• While the U.S. has enough coal supplies to sustain current levels of consumption for nearly 200 years, extraction of that coal is likely to damage wide areas of land now used for agriculture, housing and recreation, while fouling water supplies and harming wildlife.
• Between 1985 and 2001, “mountaintop removal” coal mining in Appalachia cut down more than 7 percent of the region’s forests and buried more than 1,200 miles of streams.
• In 2004, coal mines across the U.S. reported the release of more than 13 million pounds of toxic chemicals, including over 300,000 pounds dumped directly into streams and rivers. The “coal rush” would increase health-threatening air pollution.
Entry filed under: Media.