Coal by dfhdhdhdhjr


                                                                Rachel DuQuette
                                                                 Dani Lowther


          This presentation is intend to show the impacts coal extraction
            and production has on the environment and on human

          We also define “Clean Coal” and the technolgies designed to
           limit pollution and CO2 emissions.

          To provide reasoning for use of alturnative methods of
            electricity generation.

                          How much of our Energy comes from coal?

                                                    • Coal generates 54% of
                                                    our electricity, and is the
                                                    single biggest air polluter
                                                    in the U.S. 13

                                                    Reliance on Coal
• 90% of the coal extracted in the United States goes to generate

• One quarter of the world’s coal reserves are found within the
  United States, and the energy content of the nation’s coal
  resources exceeds that of all the world’s known recoverable oil.

• Coal is also the workhorse of the nation’s electric power
  industry, supplying more than half the electricity consumed by
  Americans. 7

           American Coal Foundation- Coal Production
           Table          Tons                  Percent
                         (billions)               of U.S.
Montana                               120                      25.4
Illinois                               78                      16.5
Wyoming                                68                      14.4
West Virginia                          37                       8.0

Kentucky                               30                       6.3
Pennsylvania                           29                       6.1

Ohio                                   19                       4.0
Colorado                               17                       3.6
Texas                                  13                       2.7
Indiana                                10                       2.1
Other States                           51                      10.9

TOTAL                                 472                   5 100.0
                                                          Mountain Top Removal
                            •Forests are clear-cut; often scaping away topsoil.5
                            •Wildlife habitat is destroyed and vegetation loss often
                            leads to floods and landslides. 5
                            •Next, explosives up to 100 times as strong as ones that
                            tore open the Oklahoma City Federal building blast up to
                            800 feet off mountaintops. 5
                            •“Thousands of tons of explosives -- the equivalent of
                            several Hiroshima atomic bombs -- are set off in
                            Appalachian communities every year.” 18
                            •Huge Shovels dig into the soil and trucks haul it away or
                            push it into adjacent valleys. 5

                                                          Mountain Top Removal
                            •A dragline digs into the rock to expose the coal. These
                            machines can weigh up to 8 million pounds with a base
                            as big as a gymnasium and as tall as a 20-story building.
                            •Giant machines then scoop out the layers of coal,
                            dumping millions of tons of “overburden” – the former
                            mountaintops – into the narrow adjacent valleys, thereby
                            creating valley fills. 5
                            •Coal companies are supposed to reclaim land, but all
                            too often mine sites are left stripped and bare. 5

               Social Injustice

•More than 104,000 miners in America have
died in coal mines since 1900. Twice as many
have died from black lung disease.

•Dangerous pollutants, including mercury, filter
into our air and water. 18

• The Mine Safety and Health Administration
decided not to assess fines for more than
4,000 violations, Bush administration officials
have called for cutting mine-safety funds by
6.5 percent. 18

• Exposure to harmful amounts of dust
containing crystalline silica while working on      mine.jpg

and around rock drills such as roof bolting
machines. Breathing excessive amounts of
crystalline silica during rock drilling can cause
a serious and sometimes fatal respiratory                                                             8
disease called silicosis, according to the
                                   Community Impacts
        • In their Mid-Atlantic Regional Assessment,
          the EPA states: “Dynamite blasts needed to
          splinter rock strata are so strong they crack
          the foundations and walls of houses.

        • Mining dries up an average of 100 wells a
          year and contaminates water in others. In
          many coalfield communities, the purity and
          availability of drinking water are keen

        • Blasting can occur 24hrs a day and as close
          as 300ft from homes. 6                          Water contamination after slurry spil

                      Refining Process
•Coal-fired units produce
electricity by burning
coal in a boiler to heat
water to produce steam.
•The steam, at
tremendous pressure,
flows into a turbine,
which spins a generator
to produce electricity.
•The steam is cooled,
condensed back into
water, and returned to
the boiler to start the
process over.
                                                    Environmental Impacts
• Mountaintop removal generates huge amounts of waste
    • the solid waste becomes valley fills
• Slurry is a mixture of water used to wash the coal for market, carcinogenic
  chemicals used in the washing process and coal fines (small particles) laden
  with all the compounds found in coal, including toxic heavy metals such as
  arsenic and mercury. 5
• It also contains toxic heavy metals that are present in coal, such as arsenic,
  mercury, chromium, cadmium, boron, selenium, and nickel. 10
• The waste from the mountain top is placed as a damn at opposite sides of a
  mountain hollow. This then creates the Slurry Ponds that are sometimes
  filled with over a billion gallons. 6

• To keep any hazardous materials out of local water supplies, mine operators
  contain the coal sludge in nearby valleys, behind huge earthen dams known
  as valley fills. 8

                                                    Environmental Impacts

• The largest fills can approach 800 feet in height and swallow more
   than a mile of streambed. In southern West Virginia, where the
   practice is most widespread, some of these behemoth mines are
   several thousand acres and still growing.8
• Over 1000 miles of streams have been permitted to be buried in
   valley fills. 6
• Downstream of mountaintop removal and valley fill sites, water
   quality and stream life are often degraded. Water, streambed
   sediments, and fish tissue often harbor concentrations of potentially
   toxic trace elements, including nickel, lead, cadmium, iron, and
   selenium, that exceed government standards. 9
• More than 1,200 miles of streams had been degraded by
   mountaintop removal mining. At least 724 miles of streams were
   completely buried by valley fills between 1985 and 2001. 9

Dams containing slurry ponds break or leak
 resulting in devastation of the environment
 and local communities.

Major Spills: Buffalo Creek
• February 26th, 1972 above the community of Buffalo Creek in southern
   West Virginia. Pittston Coal Company had been warned that the dam was
   dangerous, but they did nothing. 5
• In 1967, the U.S. Department of the Interior had warned state officials the
   Buffalo Creek dams and 29 others throughout West Virginia were unstable
   and dangerous
    • Over 132 million gallons of black wastewater raged through the valley.
       125 people were killed, 1100 injured and 4000 were left homeless. Over
       1000 cars and trucks were destroyed and the disaster did 50 million
       dollars in damage. The coal company called it an “act of God”.11
•The 15- to 20- foot black wave of water gushed an average
Of 7ft per second and destroyed one town after another. 12


Major spills: Martin County

•   October 11, 2000
•   An estimated 306 million gallons of the black, gooey sludge drained
    from the impoundment. That’s 28 times the amount of oil spilled into
    Alaska’s Prince William Sound in March 1989 by the Exxon Valdez.
•   About 245 million gallons of slurry poured out of the underground
  mine into two nearby streams. The rest stayed in the mine. 14
• More than 75 miles of streams were damaged, according to
  federal reports. 14
Major spills: Kingston Fossil Plant
• December 22, 2008, when an ash
dike ruptured at an 84-acre (0.34
km2) solid waste containment area
at the Tennessee Valley Authority's
Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane
County, Tennessee, USA. 1.1 billion
gallons of coal fly ash slurry was
released. 15
•The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency released figures from Dec.
23, showing that one surface water
sample from the Emory River had
arsenic levels that were 149 times
higher than maximum contaminant
•The water sample from the Emory
River near the spill site also showed
a total concentration of lead five      16
times above normal. 17
Mountain top removal has huge environmental
• According to the EPA, if mountaintop removal mining continues unabated it
  will cause a projected loss of more than 1.4 million acres by the end of the
  decade-an area the size of Delaware-with a concomitant severe impact on
  fish, wildlife, and bird species, not to mention a devastating effect on many
  neighboring communities.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of some of the world’s most biologically diverse
  forests outside of the tropics have been lost or degraded, and efforts to
  restore them have had limited success. 9
                                            Environmental Impacts continued…

• . The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has written that
  mountaintop removal’s destruction of WV’s vast contiguous
  forests destroys key nesting habitat for neo-tropical migrant bird
  populations which decreases the migratory bird populations
  throughout the northeast U.S. 5
• Full reforestation across a large mine site in such cases may
  not occur for hundreds of years.
   • “Because it is difficult to intercept groundwater flow, it is
     difficult to reconstruct free flowing streams at mountaintop
     removal sites.”
   • Stream chemistry monitoring efforts show significant
     increases in conductivity, hardness, sulfate, and selenium
     concentrations downstream of [mountaintop removal]
     operations.”6 EPA
                                                    Climate Change

   CO2 is a greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming
    and climate change

 • Coal is the largest anthropogenic source of the CO2 emissions
   (over 40%)1
 • Coal use, primarily for the generation of electricity, now
   accounts for roughly 20 percent of global GHG emissions. 25
 • Coal use, primarily for the generation of electricity, now
   accounts for roughly 20 percent of global GHG emissions.25
 • GHG emissions from coal-fired electricity, now 27 percent of
   total U.S. emissions, are projected to grow by a third by 2025.

• Coal producing
  companies are spending
  an exponentially
  increasing amount of
  funds on advertising,
  lobbying, and
  disinformation in an
  effort to cast doubt on
  what is now scientific
• In the last twelve months
  the number of climate
  change lobbyists on the

  Hill has increased 300%.
  A Large portion of these
  come from the coal
  industry. 1                                                                                                  21
Due to concern of the
effects of air pollution,
green house gases and
global warming, ways to
sequester the carbon
dioxide and other
pollutants from coal-
burning power plants has
become an increasingly
important topic.

                       Clean Coal Technology
“Clean coal technology” is referenced to limit the amounts of
  pollution entering our atmosphere by “cleaning” coal and
  containing its emissions.
 Some technologies purify
 the coal before it is burned.

 •“Coal washing removes
 unwanted minerals by
 crushing coal with a liquid
 and allowing the impurities
 to separate and settle.” 21


                       Clean Coal Technology
   Other technologies minimize emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen
   oxides and particulates by controlling the burn.

• Flue gas desulfurization systems, or Wet scrubbers are designed to remove sulfur
  dioxide by spraying the gas with limestone and water, forming a synthetic gypsum
  (a drywall component). Sulfur dioxide is a primary cause of acid rain.

• Low-NOx (nitrogen oxide) burners restricts oxygen and manipulates the combustion
  process. Nitrogen oxide is a cause of ground-level ozone.

• Electrostatic precipitators “remove particulates that aggravate asthma and cause
  respiratory ailments by charging particles with an electrical field and then capturing
  them on collection plates.”

• Gasification or the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) is a system which
  uses steam and heated pressurized air to force carbon molecules apart from coal. The
  mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen is cleaned and burned in a gas turbine to
  make electricity, as well as powering a steam turbine.      21
        Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS)

         First, carbon dioxide (CO2) must be captured. Researchers have developed
   different technologies to capture CO2:

• “Flue-gas separation removes CO2 with a solvent, strips off the CO2 with steam,
  and condenses the steam into a concentrated stream.” This process creates
  commercially usable CO2, which contributes to offsetting the price.

• “Oxy-fuel combustion burns the fuel in pure or enriched oxygen to create a flue gas
  composed primarily of CO2 and water -- this sidesteps the energy-intensive process
  of separating the CO2 from other flue gasses.”

• “Pre-combustion capture removes the CO2 before it's burned as a part of a
  gasification process.” 21

                     Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS)

1. Unmineable coal

2. Deep saline aquifers
    source of H2O)

3. Depleted oil and gas

Trees sequester CO2
                                                    Projects Underway
          In 2003 the U.S. Government began funding for a near zero-
             emissions coal power plant, FutureGen. However, as costs
             reached $1.8 billion in 2008, the Energy Department
             decided to abandon the project. 18

        According to BBC, the UK government has just given the “go-
           ahead” to build up to four new plants with CCS
           technologies. These are “demonstration” CCS projects, but
           the technology is not yet proven and would only “clean” up
           to 25% of the station's output. Once determined
           economically and technically feasible, which is expected by
           2020, the power plants have 5 years to apply CCS to 100%
           of their output. 23
                        Problems of Clean Coal
•   Compared to conventional power plants, carbon capture and storage
    (CCS) increases the cost of generating power by 40 to 80%.

•   Clean Coal Technology is still unproven and uncertain. It could take
    decades before we fully understand the environmental and health
    effects that CCS will have. 23

•   While the burning or gasification process limits some pollutants and
    CO2 emissions, still as much as 75% of CO2 emissions is entering the

•   To this day there is no “clean coal power plant” built and running. The
    UK government expects to reach success in developing a successful
    plant, economically and technically, by 2020. 22 However, some
    environmentalist are concerned that 2020 will be too late.

•   More money has been spent on advertising clean coal then actual        28
    research and development. The "Clean Coal" campaign spent $35
        “Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more
       insidious, or more dangerous to our public health.
         Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential
     candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and
      conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any
       meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy
                         --Richard Conniff

• To tap the full potentialn the nation’s enormous coal supplies,
the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy is
working with the private sector to develop innovative technologies
for an emission-free coal plant of the future. 7

• Coal companies continue
to buy politicians’ support,
so they can do whatever
they want, choking out the
democratic political process
just as their frequent spills
choke the life out of

                Bush Administration and
                Coal of dollars from the
    Bush received millions
    coal industry during his 2000 election
    campaign One of Bush’s big supporters in
    West Virginia, James “Buck” Harless (a Bush
    “Pioneer”), who raised $250,000 for Bush,
    had a private audience with the President at
    Bush’s ranch. What’s more, his grandson,
    James H. Harless II, was chosen as an
    energy policy adviser during the White House

• In 2002, durning Bush’s administration, the
  DOE initiated the Clean Coal Power Initiative,
  a commercial scale clean coal demonstration      f7/a7f6c4e45aaf4a91bfae0334df/
  program. This program authorized $200 mil
  from 2006 to 2014.
                                             Bush Administration and
       • However, in one of his last acts before leaving office, Bush’s white
       house approved changes to the Stream Buffer Zone rule that makes it
       easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop
       removal mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. 4

       • Two-thirds of American voters oppose the Bush administration’s
       recent efforts to repeal the Stream Buffer Zone Rule. The Stream
       Buffer Zone rule prohibits coal mining within 100 feet of permanent
       and seasonal streams. The repeal of the buffer zone would allow the
       proliferation of MTR by legalizing the process of mining near streams,
       and would subsequently result in burying our nation’s streams under
       mining waste. 4

       • This change undermines the Clean Water Act and will weaken
       environmental standards for mountain top removal mining operations.
       Electricity Alternatives

                      Wind Turbines

Geothermal Energy

1. Cope, Jerry. “The DC Shuffle; Saving the World From Death By Coal.” The Huffington Post. March 5th 2009

2. U.S.A. Government. U.S. Department of Energy. “Key Issues and Mandates”

3. “The Good and Bad News on Coal.” Rainforest Action Network. December 3rd, 2008

4. “Majority Oppose Mountaintop Removal Mining; Find Protecting Environment Good for Economy.” Rainforest Action Network.
October 24th, 2008.

5. “What is Mountain Top Removal Mining.” Mountain Justice.

6. “Learn More About Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining.” End Mountain Top Removal Action and Resource Center.

7. “Coal” U.S. Department of Energy. Page Updated on December 08, 2008

8. “Coal Controversy in Appalachia.” Earth Observatory. NASA.

9. “Sludge Saftey Project” Coal River Mountain Watch, Concerned Citizens of Mingo County, Ohio Valley Environmental Collilition.

11. Ward, Ken. “Buffalo Creek Remembered; Survivor Recalls Horrifying Moments, Haunting Memories.” The Charleston Gazette
27th Febuary 2007

12. “Buffalo Creek” West Virgina Division of Culture and History.

13. “Coal vs. Wind” Union of Concerned Scientists; Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions.

14. Ward, Kent “Massey avoids major financial hit for spill: Most damage claims paid by insurance.” The Charleston Gazette 12th
October 2003
16. Leung, Rebecca. “A Toxic Cover-Up? Did Bush Administration Cover Up Environmental Disaster?” 4th April 2004 CBS News.

17. Flory, Josh. “EPA found high arsenic levels day after ash spill
Officials say water is OK.” 3rd January 2009 Knox News.

18. Biggers, Jeff. “Clean Coal? Don’t Try to Shovel that.” 2nd March 2008 The Washington Post.

19. “Coal-Fired Power Plant” Tennessee Valley Authority.

20. J. Davitt M cAteer, Assistant Secretary “Silica Exposure of Underground Coal Miners.” U.S. Department of Labor. Mine Safety
and Health Administration.

21. Dowdey, Sarah. "What is clean coal technology?." 18 July 2007.
coal.htm 21 April 2009.

22. BBC News. “‘Clean’ coal plants get go-ahead.” 23 April 2009. 23 April

23. GreenPeace. “Myths and Facts of “clean coal” technologies”
energy/clean-coal-myth/clean-coal-myths-and-facts# 20 April 2009.

24. Conniff, Richard. “The Myth of Clean Coal.” 3 June 2008. Yale Environment 21 April 2009

25. “Coal and Climate Change Facts” Global Climate Change. Pew Center.


To top