One doesn’t have to be what some would consider to be traditional environmentalists to be against further polluting our air, water, land, blowing up ancient mountains, endangering children’s health, or the elderly and those that are ill.
One doesn’t have to be what some would consider to be traditional environmentalists to be against further polluting our air, water, land, blowing up ancient mountains, endangering children’s health, or the elderly and those that are ill.
Rob Perks on his blog at Switchboard, from NRDC reports,
The Associated Press is reporting on an issue I blogged last week — the boycott of Tennessee by coal companies, sparked by what the industry says is that state’s “hostility” toward mountaintop removal coal mining.
As the AP story explains, “angry” Appalachian coal miners are refusing to vacation in Tennessee because they’re upset that Republican Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) is co-sponsoring a bill — The Appalachia Restoration Act (S. 696) — that would effectively end mountaintop removal. This is the controversial mining that involves converting America’s oldest mountains into molehills — clearcutting forests, destroying valley streams and polluting drinking water in the process.
Sen. Alexander’s response, according to AP, is that Appalachia’s mountaintops should be preserved, not destroyed.
“Every year, millions of tourists come to Tennessee and spend millions of dollars to see our scenic mountaintops, not to see mountains whose tops have been blown off and dumped into streams.”
Much more in the article including a link to let Sen. Alexander know you appreciate his strong stance against Mountain Top Removal. I’ve let him know I appreciate it very much!
Sure it might help wean us off foreign oil, but blowing the tops off of mountains! Destroying mountains that have been on this planet longer than the Himalayas in a one shot deal that hurts the people who live there and their property, hurts air, water and animal habitats. I can not believe the propaganda going on!
I am not a big ‘global warming’ fan, but destroying mountains and polluting streams, headwaters, wildlife habitats, people’s property and homes … just not worth it.
Please see iLoveMountains.org for details. Oh, and it’s not ANTI-Patriotic to want to stop Mountain Top Removal!! Are they nutz or what?!
You can download the decision here: http://wiseenergyforvirginia.org/downloads/Wise%20Decision.pdf
In a momentous victory for clean energy advocates in Virginia, a Richmond Circuit Court judge ruled today that the State Air Pollution Control Board violated federal environmental law in permitting Dominion Power’s coal-fired power plant in Wise County in the southwest corner of the state.
The Wise Energy for Virginia Coalition has raised a host of concerns about the Wise County coal plant over the last several years, including air pollution and the health of the local community, water quality, mountaintop removal coal mining, and the impacts of the plant’s carbon emissions on global warming. Some 42,500 Virginians from across the state signed petitions and sent letters and comments to state and company officials opposing the project.
CALE JAFFE, Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney:
“This is an important victory for the health and welfare of Virginians. Once a coal plant is completed, it may prove very difficult to retrofit after the fact to remedy violations of the Clean Air Act. So this decision is essential for assuring that the Clean Air Act’s most stringent health-based standards will be met before a coal plant is constructed. We hope Dominion will take this ruling as a sign that it needs to leave expensive coal-fired power plants in the past, and move quickly toward developing sustainable, clean energy sources for a 21st century green economy.”
Great job! If power companies will not do what is right by the residents, the courts are there to redress resident grievances.
Coal ash is also known as fly ash, the result of burning coal in coal powered power plants and is increasingly known and being spoken out by those in the know as dangerous to humans and the environment:
“Coal ash contains heavy metals such as mercury and other toxic materials including arsenic, particulate matter, dioxin and furan,” said Dr. Romeo Quijano, Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific Philippine coordinator in a forum in Cebu City on Wednesday.
I looked up furan and found several links to furan and coal plants – and even the government looked into the process used to help mitigate some of the mercury from the resultant process of burning coal – the best the government could say about, it in this case, was that it didn’t add to the toxicity of fly ash. Huh? So they acknowledge fly ash is toxic? So, why has it not been regulated in the past? Follow the money trail.
Doesn’t that tell you something about fly ash? Doesn’t that tell you that the powers that be are not looking at fly ash as a harmful substance that can actually harm humans and the environment in the vicinity of coal plants (and downstream/down wind) and dumping grounds of fly ash (read: poorer communities that no one seems to care about, like the poor/depressed county where Dendron, VA is located, or the the poor/depressed areas of Appalachia, or the poor/depressed areas in Alabama, etc.) at least when huge amounts of money can be made — because they want electricity for the power hungry in the country who wish not to curb their power hungry habits?
People in these financially depressed/poorer areas where new coal powered plants are wished to be built (or have already been built), or where they wish to dump the coal ash/fly ash — with promises of tax coffers that will help the poor counties, but not the poor people whose medical bills (they can ill afford) will go up due to toxicity related illnesses, allergies, breathing difficulties, cancers, etc., will go up and infant mortality rate will go up, as well as miscarriage rates, and potentially birth defects as well, all while giving the county more money to build better schools, libraries, county government centers, recreation centers, etc. A true paradox, no?!
Well, look at it another way. What has the county done with all the money that it already gets annually from the nuclear power plant already in the county of Surry? Has it really helped the county which over the last 20-30 yrs still does not look like a county that gets millions of dollars from any direction. And the county from it’s own minutes appears to be in debt up to it’s ears to do what it has already done in the county — to the tune of millions of dollars. Which may be why they are themselves pushing for this coal fired power plant in Dendron, VA?
So, I guess it is to sacrifice any individuals (infants, children, elderly, the ill) who can’t adjust to the additional toxins that will be thrown into the environment — in the entire of Hampton Roads — so that the remaining people in the county of Surry and their administrators (that can hopefully survive the additional toxins (at least for a while) will benefit from these things!? And to h*ll with those who will be the sad recipients of future illnesses, cancers, allergies, and other diseases that will come from this toxicity — that people will succumb to as time goes on. Yeah, let’s just burn that bridge when they come to it, eh?
Oh, wait, that’s not entirely true … they will have the money to provide health care and welfare for those who can no longer take care of themselves, and make themselves feel better about being the benevolent caregivers while reaping the profits?!?
More from the article:
“The routes of exposure are through inhalation, ingestion, skin contact and skin absorption,” said Quijano who is also a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology UP Manila College of Medicine.
On human health, Quijanoc said was a risk of having cancer, immune system dysfunction, neurobehavioral impairment and blood diseases, as well as diabetes and thyroid dysfunction.
I guess there isn’t enough cancer, lung ailments, allergies, miscarriages, birth defects, etc. in Hampton Roads eh? Let’s tempt providence further….
After the unbelievable Dendron Town Council Meeting for August 2009, I no longer believe in the intelligence of those in charge; I no longer trust that right will prevail. I no longer believe that people who claim to be religious will stand up for the down trodden against financial gain. I have no reason to believe in it any longer.
NOTE: Don’t get me wrong here. I still trust in God to either vindicate us, or help us leave this forsaken place. It’s people with dollar signs in their sights that I no longer trust.
Gills Onions has come up with a clever way to dispose of its daily 300,000-pound load of onion waste – turn it into methane, and use the gas to power fuel cells that can cover the plant’s baseload electrical needs.
That’s the gist of the $9.5 million project unveiled Friday at the Oxnard, Calif.-based onion processing plant.
The savings of $400,000 a year from deferred waste hauling, plus about $700,000 a year in deferred electricity costs – not to mention a $2.7 million self-generation incentive check from Southern California Gas Co. – should pay back the investment in less than five years, said Steve Gill, co-owner of the business.
This type of wonderful ‘thinking out of the box’ project is why I am so frustrated with the supposed ‘headway’ in pulling away from coal when it really means continuing to grow coal plants.
There should be no reason why smaller plants, maybe even community power plants made with waste or renewable energy can’t be done.
If we continue to think only in terms of ‘easy’ or ‘cheap today’ but ‘dirty’ solutions that damage our environment and the health of our sick, our young and our elderly, we will never get out of this mess we have created for ourselves. We need to get away from continuing to expand dirty coal and in the process prevent funds from moving into a more smart and/or renewable ways to create the electrical power needed.
I think that if all states, the governments, and countries did what SC (SCsaysNO) is doing, the companies that want to provide the power would have to think out of the box or they wouldn’t expand and others would take their place and build the more renewable/waste product plants that were safer, if they were foolish enough not to do what was needed.
Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more insidious, or more dangerous to our public health. Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy policy.
Chart showing Coal plants in the US, the states they are in as the data shows at Gapminder.org. We need to see where our state fits in the picture and see if we can stop progressing the move to more coal powered plants. We need to not allow more to be built. And we certainly don’t need Virginia to move further into the right side of this graph. We need to be doing what we can to move to the left on this graph.
Children At Risk PDF — must read.
Posted by the USACE:
WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today it is soliciting public comments on two proposals related to the use of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 21 in the nation’s Appalachian region. NWP 21 authorizes discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States for surface coal mining activities.
The proposals would affect only the Appalachian region of the following states: Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The use of NWP 21 for surface coal mining activities in other regions of the country would not be affected.
The first proposal is to modify NWP 21 to prohibit its use in the Appalachian region. In the absence of NWP 21, an applicant would be required to obtain an individual permit for surface coal mining projects. An individual permit includes increased public and agency involvement in the permit review process, including an opportunity for public comment on individual projects.
The second proposal is to suspend NWP 21 while the Corps evaluates the comments received during the 30-day comment period, and while the Corps completes the process to modify NWP 21. If NWP 21 is suspended during this interim period, an applicant would be required to obtain an individual permit for surface coal mining projects.
The Corps’ decision to issue these proposals is a result of the interagency action plan agreed to on June 11, 2009, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Corps, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agencies agreed to work together to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of surface coal mining activities in the Appalachian region. A copy of the MOU is available at: http://www.usace.army.mil/CECW/Pages/moumoas.aspx.
A public notice on the proposals was published in the July 15, 2009 Federal Register, http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-16803.pdf . Written comments should be submitted at the federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov under docket number COE-2009-0032; or mailed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: CECW-CO (Attn: Ms. Desiree Hann), 441 G. Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20314. Comments must be submitted on or before August 14, 2009. Email or faxed comments will not be accepted.
SOURCE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
It would appear to me that the USACE does try to do what they can to protect the communities and nature when they have the support of the government, and the public. But, I would think it would be difficult to do so if their hands are tied by either weak laws, greed, or when those in places of power bend like reeds in the wind.
I am sorry to say that this is too little, too late. The existing laws it seems have not been fully enforced as they should be for a very long time — for 500 mountains are already blown up! And hundreds more are in the pike.
What ever happened to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — is that too much to ask? Those who think these practices are good, or at least a necessary evil, could they, or more importantly would they, walk in the moccasins, drink the water, live in the homes of those who have suffered due to these destructive or at best polluting practices? Would they want this done to their home? The same holds true for coal plants.
Honestly, it seems to me that even the current laws would be difficult to adhere to when confronted with such a destructive process as Mountain Top Removal. The process itself is the problem.
IMHO, either those who are mining coal should figure out how to get the coal out without impacting the surrounding natural area (the forests, streams, animals, etc.) and the human communities that have put their entire lives and fortunes into their mountain homes, or find a new safer business model that doesn’t hurt people, places or things.
Certainly, renewable energy sources would be much safer for everyone and everything and not be the one shot that Mountain Top Removal is (once you blow up the mountain and take the coal, it’s gone). Not to mention the joke of supposedly trying to put the mountains back to rights after they’ve already been destroyed.
The effects of MTR (Mountain Top Removal) on communities and nature, and the other end of the spectrum, the effects of Coal Fired Power Plants on communities and nature, can be seen through many places including my postings, iLoveMountains.org, Environmental Justice or through searches in search engines. It truly is appalling.
Even if other methods are, or seem like they are more expensive right now, they won’t be for long as they become more ubiquitous. Just as in other areas, once the R&D has been paid for, the prices do come down.
NO ONE SHOULD SUFFER TO PROVIDE ELECTRICITY TO ANYONE.
Hmmm, ODEC has proposed a 1,500 MW baseload coal fired power plant — running 24/7, with two fly ash/coal ash landfills, two turbines, two 600 foot stacks polluting the air, land, water, livestock, humans, and additionally causing sight, noise and light pollution … yeah, I think this scenario certainly fits with the topic of Environmental Justice discussed in this video.
Thank you so much Peebles for a wonderful article about the meeting last night! I am still so excited about the outcome! And so thankful to all the people (and thoughts and prayers) that made this possible!
Below find just a few (5-7 is still a few right? LOL!) paragraphs of the great article written by Peebles on ChesapeakeClimate.org (The whole article is a must read!):
The last time that Dendron came to vote on the ordinance to retain its zoning rights, the atmosphere was quite different from last night’s. ODEC employees filled the June 2 meeting, creating an unbalance that went far from unnoticed. Taking up a large portion of Recreational Center’s front-row seats, ODEC’s presence was pronounced – and unwelcome.
This time, the Coalition to Keep Surry Clean, Wise Energy for Virginia, and students from the nearby College of William and Mary turned out, in force, to ensure that Dendron’s residents were given priority in the meeting hall by “saving spots” outside while locals arrived. Due to the efforts of Surry and Dendron’s concerned and active citizenry, last night’s demographic within the meeting was strikingly different from the month before. With upwards of 25 Dendron residents, supported by more than 50 folks from surrounding Surry County, gone were the suits and ties of ODEC’s Glen Allen headquarters, near Richmond. Gone also, was the attitude that a new coal plant would bring the economic boon of the 1920’s back to the struggling town. As the meeting progressed, the council made two key moves to ensure its independence as a town in determining its future.
In a somewhat surprise move, Councilwoman Misti Furr began by introducing a resolution to establish a planning commission within Dendron, to be charged with evaluating zoning permits for land within the town proper. The vote was a necessity, as the council would be expected to vote on the zoning ordinance later that evening, which would greatly diminish the town’s control over its permitting process by delegating a large portion of it to Surry County. Furr’s resolution passed, giving Dendron its own planning commission, who will have to handle ODEC’s zoning permit, provided that control over permitting stay with the town. That decision remained uncertain, further down the evening’s agenda.
Before the decision over that ordinance came to vote, residents and concerned individuals were permitted to speak before the council and audience, and as the queue began to move along, a fascinating trend began to emerge.
Unlike last month’s meeting, where ODEC garnered support from its own employees and purposefully misled low-income and struggling families, Monday’s atmosphere was one much more aware of the terrible implications for environmental, economic, and human health that a dirty coal plant would bring to their small community. At least, it seemed, some of the untruths, dispelled by ODEC over the past few months, had finally been discredited, much to the benefit of those citizens in opposition to the plant.
This attitude was reflected in the council’s final vote, as the body decided to reject any imposition by the county on the capacity of Dendron to decide its own future. With a wire-thin 3-2 margin, a great sigh of relief gripped the meeting hall as ODEC and its cadre of supporters left the hall, flustered and frustrated. Now, ODEC will be required to submit its zoning permit to the town, where it will decide whether or not the plant will move forward, free from interference by the coal-friendly county, and totally in its own hands.
What will happen now is, for the moment, uncertain. The coal industry has deep pockets, while most folks in Dendron do not. The struggle against this plant is a long way from over, and the rejection of county control over the zoning process marks but a small step in a very, very, large fight.
Thanks again to the many Dendron residents (as well as property owners that hope to be residents in time), Surry residents, Isle of Wight residents, and other surrounding communities (too many to name but you know who you are!!), as well as the Coalition To Keep Surry Clean, Wise County VA Coalition and AppVoices (including the fantastic Kayti and Mike!), Sierra Club (Glen, Tyla, Jim, and so many others!), Chesapeake Bay Foundation, CCAN, and so many others that helped us get where we were last night at the Dendron Town Council meeting, plus the William and Mary students, and residents from Williamsburg and Hampton that came to the meeting in support of Dendron residents during the meeting.
As Betsy from the Coalition To Keep Surry Clean said in an email:
Thanks to the Council members who took a big stand.
Thanks to everyone who came out and made their presence felt.
Thanks to the brave attendees who stood up to speak.
Thanks to those who brought info, fans, petitions, signs to pass along physically and verbally to our neighbors and others.
Thanks to the W&Ms for coming and helping us hold the line and chairs.
Thanks to the Wise Energy Coalition folks for supporting us and picking up the tab for so many of our endeavors and materials.
Thanks to Mike and Kayti for being such total and complete rockstars–personally and professionally.
And thanks to writers like Peebles through his article at ChesapeakeClimate.org and Desiree Parker through her article at Williamsburg Yorktown Daily (wydaily.com) reporting about the meeting on websites today, as well as others at HamptonRoads.com and The Daily Press.
And of course thanks to those who stayed home or at the Bible Study I missed to attend the meeting, and prayed during the meeting as well!
I really think it took all of us to make this happen!
Our little town of Dendron — at least has a fighting chance to do what we Dendron residents (all of us together) can do to forge our own future! Maybe this is what Dendron needed to pull us all together to make this happen.
Things are looking up!
And while we are at it, lets not forget our connection to Mountain Top Removal through use in existing coal plants in Virginia, as well as if we were to allow this coal fired baseload 24/7 plant to be built. We aren’t the only ones we hurt with coal plants…we all share the same planet, the same air, and the same fate.
EDIT: To add two videos pertinent to the Dendron Town Council Meeting:
Please come if you can, or keep us in your thoughts and prayers if you can’t because the Dendron Town Council Meeting will be holding their monthly meeting tonight at the Dendron Fire Station building on Rt 31 in Dendron.
The Town Council deferred important action regarding zoning of the property on which ODEC seeks approval and rezoning to industrial status in order to build the 1,500MW coal fired power plant with two turbines and two 600 ft stacks, and 2 flyash/coal ash landfills backing up even closer to Dendron residents than previously thought due to USACE requirements to move it further away to protect the wetlands.
I have no problem with protecting the wetlands, but what about the people that live in Dendron? Now it will be that much closer to the residents of Dendron.
Protect the wetlands but not the people? Hmmmm.
These are great videos on CNN Money with Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Robert Kennedy Jr. argues that coal’s external costs are enormous and the industry is bad for mining states.
And then this video: “Kennedy on energy alternatives“
Robert Kennedy Jr. cites other countries’ efforts as evidence that renewables are good for the U.S. economy.
While we in our tiny town of Dendron and Surry County, and the whole of Hampton Roads are in a fight to keep yet another coal plant from being built, it’s so encouraging to see videos like these.
Thank you Robert Kennedy Jr. for speaking out where others might be intimidated to do so; or drawn into the so called ‘promise’ of monetary compensation or the so called ‘promise’ of jobs that will be short-lived if at all, to look beyond all that, and truly see the real dangers that are far reaching.
We do need to go to renewable energy regardless if you believe in global warming or not. It just makes sense economically. And we need to take care of our planet; to provide a healthy future for our children and grandchildren.
Thanks Joe for the link!