« On Heels of Spill, Public Hearings for Keystone XL | Main | This Week's Blogosphere Soup »

May 12, 2011

Nationwide, Coal Does Not Care

This week we've had a few too many reminders of how much coal does not care. First, while we all laughed at the parody "Coal Cares" website that the Yes Men created to look as if it was a Peabody Coal project, Peabody Coal's response was quick reminder of that website's true message about the coal industry's focus on profits over people.

Claiming the website's information about the health effects of coal was false, Peabody officials went on to tout the supposed health benefits of life with coal:

Peabody is proud to help hundreds of millions of people live longer and better through coal-fueled electricity. A growing collection of studies demonstrate the correlation between electricity fueled by low-cost coal and improvement in health, longevity and quality of life.

This week's prank from the Yes Men may have been a fake, but it drew attention to a very real issue - and all the health data about coal's pollution on the website were true. Pollution from coal plants is making kids sick, triggering asthma attacks and more. Coal pollution causes over 12,000 visits to the emergency room each year - and over $100 billion in health costs.

Kidzkoal And the coal industry is trying to appeal to children too. Just look at this article from the NY Times about the American Coal Foundation's curriculum that Scholastic distributes to fourth graders. One group calls it "predatory marketing."

It reminds us of the coal industry's previous efforts to brainwash children.

Then yesterday we saw an appalling hearing on mountaintop removal coal mining in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The coal industry's friends on the committee spent hours claiming this destructive practice was good for jobs and that any safeguards implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency only hindered the Appalachian economy.

They ignored mountaintop removal coal mining's devastating effects on Appalachian communities - both environmentally and economically. Towns are disappearing, water is being polluted, and people are getting sick when the coal industry blows up the mountains around them.

Wind We need to move beyond coal - as communities in eastern Massachusetts will now that the old Salem Harbor coal plant will be shuttered.

We can move beyond coal, as one Virginia coalition is showing through off-shore wind - while also encouraging one old coal company (Dominion) to join the wind power clean energy cause in the state.

That is the way of the future. We cannot remain saddled with coal power from an industry that does not care about people. Low-income families are struggling to pay health care bills for their kids, while polluters like Peabody Coal should be paying for the mess they create.

The real effects of coal pollution on kids with asthma is not funny. This is yet another reminder that we need to transition to cleaner sources of energy like wind and solar that don't make people sick.

-- Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. Follow Mary Anne Hitt on Twitter.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Nationwide, Coal Does Not Care:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Rss Feed

Sierra Club Main | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Website Help

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2013 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.