Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dirty, Dirty Coal

While our nation was busy electing a new president in early November, a significant even occurred on September 15th that well connected environmentalists are still talking about today and trying to resolve. (Ok not every environmentalist, but hard working green folks, too.).

This event on September 15th was when a human barrier was formed outside of Dominion II in Wise County, Virginia. This particular coal plant has been receiving more public press in the past months as even in June its headquarters were the center of blockades and protests. If this plant goes online, it will emit 5.3 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere per year. Sure it will create jobs and make lobbyists happy; however it will also be the 111th “new” coal plant in development on top of the 600 existing ones in the U.S. And yes, we know that
coal is dirty, and it generates roughly 50 percent of the electricity in the U.S. (Source: Time Magazine).

Yet, a bigger question is being asked.

Q: “Where is the disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal fired power plants that do not have sequestration programs?”

A: “Duh!”

Hard core activists like Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace, and Rising Tide have already made their phone calls to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Reputations are on the line, the clock is ticking and meanwhile coal remains fairly cheap and abundant in the U.S. (so long as no charge is place on carbon emissions) So what we are really talking about is clean coal, right?

Clean coal technology has different meanings. It can be referred to as a technology that removes pollutants such as soot and sulfur dioxide from the waste process. It can also mean capturing carbon burned from coal. In the case of the Dominion II example noted earlier, there are no plans for carbon sequestration. It would simply be business as usual.

And that my fellow bloggers is how “clean coal is like healthy cigarettes.” (Quote-Al Gore)

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