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Each stage in the life cycle of coal—extraction, transport, processing, and combustion—generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. These costs are external to the coal industry and are thus often considered “externalities.” We estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually. Many of these so-called externalities are, moreover, cumulative. Accounting for the damages conservatively doubles to triples the price of electricity from coal per kWh generated, making wind, solar, and other forms of nonfossil fuel power generation, along with investments in efficiency and electricity conservation methods, economically competitive.
Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal
Mine collapses, or mine subsidence has a potential for major effects aboveground, which are especially devastating in built-up areas. German underground coal-mining, especially in North Rhine-Westphalia, has damaged thousands of houses, for example.
The mining and burning of coal leads to slag heaps and substantial fly ash sludge storage ponds. Thousands of these all over the world will remain a potential hazard essentially forever, and several failures of the containment of these have had a devastating impact on both the surroundings and water resources nearby.
Nor are the negative effects of coal limited to the environment. Every year, coal miners die from diseases brought on by breathing hazardous coal dust. Black lung disease, also known as coal workers’ lung pneumonoconiosis, is caused by breathing in coal mine dust. If inhaled over an extended period of time, this dust can collect in the lungs and create scar tissue that obstructs airflow to the lungs. Despite laws, miners continue to die from this disease. As well, as coal production increases in an area, so does the incidence of chronic illness in nearby communities among segments of the population not directly involved with the industry.
(and there's more in the link)
Government intervention on fossil fuel pollution
Death and Disease from Power Plants
In 2000 and again in 2004, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force quantifying the deaths and other health affects attributable to the fine particle pollution from power plants. In this newly updated study, CATF examines the progress towards cleaning up one of the nation's leading sources of pollution. The report finds that over 13,000 deaths each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants. This is almost half the impact that our 2004 study found and is reflective of the impact that state and federal actions have had in reducing power plant emissions by roughly half. However, much more still needs to be done.
The interactive map below allows you to learn of the risk in your state or county simply by clicking on the Google Map below. You can click on your state, zoom into your county, or click on a power plant to view a variety of health impacts and other data. A new tool also available is a downloadable Google Earth file, which once downloaded and launched in Google Earth, will allow you to explore a whole host of data and health impacts around the country.
Originally posted by The Sword
People in W.Va have got to be so freakin' greedy and stupid as to remove entire mountains.
What a bunch of half-wits. They deserve whatever they get out of this destructive practice. When the coal runs out, there will be no more mountains.
Fools, the lot of them.