Saving Lives with Coal
Saturday, January 03, 2009
There is no such thing as “clean coal,” environmentalists insist. Burning coal to generate electricity emits soot particles that cause respiratory problems, lung cancer and heart disease, killing 24,000 Americans annually.
It’s the kind of claim that eco-activist Bruce Hamilton says “builds the Sierra Club,” by generating cash and lobbying clout for his and similar groups.
It’s also disingenuous, unethical and harmful.
Since 1970, unhealthy power plant pollutants have been reduced by almost 95% per unit of energy produced. Particulate emissions (soot) decreased 90% below 1970 levels, even as coal use tripled, and new technologies and regulations will nearly eliminate most coal-related pollution by 2020, notes air quality expert Joel Schwartz.
Moreover, the vast bulk of modern power plant particulates are ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate. “Neither substance is harmful, even at levels tens of times greater than are ever found in the air Americans breathe,” Schwartz says. Read More
If you follow coal stories in the media, you will see it being cussed and discussed, but rarely appreciated. The fact of the matter is that we need electricity and more of it all the time. With a growing population, demand continues to rise. There are alternative sources for electricity, but they all have their drawbacks as well. Meanwhile, we have several hundred years worth of coal at our disposal. It’s a great natural resource that can be used responsibly.