March 19th, 2011


Coal Industry Seeks to Weaken Clean Air Act?

That's what it sounds like from the letter behind the cut (at bottom), anyway. Then I searched and found that there are some senators working to strengthen the Clean Air Act on some specific pollutants, specifically with regard to coal. And frankly, I'm all for it. We need clean air. Clean air makes all the difference. I come from East Tennessee, the land of acid rain and asthma. And I have lived where the air is clean. I know the difference.

The specific proposals are to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 80% by 2018, mono-nitrogen oxides by 53% and mercury by 90% by 2015. I don't know a thing about the technology involved, but if these adjustments ARE technologically feasible we absolutely should require that our plants do them. Even knowing that we have to pay for it. Sulfur dioxide is the main thing that causes acid rain, and acid rain kills the trees and depletes the soil and turns the land into waste. It is the nightmare that people have when they think about nuclear devastation, only it happens. Nitrogen oxide contributes to acid rain. Mercury is just plain old toxic, neurotoxic and hard to get rid of. If we can stop plants from blowing mercury into the air, it won't get rained into the water, and it won't concentrate in the fish or come pouring through our taps. We won't be so poisoned.

Oh, you say, you're not poisoned? Don't check your own heavy metals if you don't want to know.

On the subject of fossil fuel dependence, here's a short history from the Post Carbon Institute.

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