There is no such thing as clean coal. We can try to capture carbon all day long, but that doesn't change the filthiest aspect of this fossil fuel: mountaintop removal mining. As we use more and more energy, it gets harder to mine the coal that provides most of our electricity, and that means coal companies are resorting to extreme measures to extract it.
Mountaintop removal pollutes rivers and streams, contaminates water supplies, and contributes to flooding in surrounding areas. We need to move away from this practice, but EPA recently issued yet another moutaintop removal permit. According to an alert from the Rainforest Action Network:
When Arch Coal submitted an application to strip mine Pine Creek, we were hopeful that our Administration would stand up to protect almost three miles of streams. Sadly, this was not the case.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently green lighted the mountaintop removal (MTR) mine and now the Army Corps has issued the permit to blow apart Pine Creek, despite a history of serious flooding attributed by local residents to strip mining.
What you Can Do
Let EPA know how you feel! Rainforest Action Network makes it easy to send a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, letting her know that you oppose this destructive mining practice.
The biggest use of coal here in the U.S. is for electricity, so you can also do your part by trying to reduce your power consumption. Cutting back on vampire power by using smart devices and unplugging wall warts is a great first step. You can also keep your thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer to keep the A/C from kicking on so often.
If you have a second refrigerator in your home, consider unplugging it. The fridge is one of the largest energy sucks in the home.
What are some other ways that we can conserve power at home to reduce our reliance on coal?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by National Memorial for the Mountains