COAL KILLS

9 02 2013

CORRECTION:  The opening power point presentation was given by Dodd Galbreath, not “Dodd Lockwood.”  My bad!

On Thursday night, I went to the Sierra Club’s “peoples’ hearing” on TVA’s proposal to spend a billion dollars on scrubbers for the stacks of its Gallatin, Tennessee, coal plant.  The meeting, along with a couple of other recent news items, was a pleasant, uplifting surprise.  All too often, public meetings and the news alike leave me with a hollow feeling closely associated with how it feels to be heading down a roller coaster curve that I know, just know, is going to make me toss my lunch.  But not this time.

First, the facts of the matter, to the best of this admittedly biased reporter’s ability to state them.  TVA’s Gallatin coal plant, just upriver (and usually upwind) from Nashville, is over fifty years old.  It consumes 9 to 12,000 tons of coal a day to supply electricity to 300,000 homes  (that’s 80 pounds of coal per home per day), and emits about 750,000 tons of CO2 per year to do that–that’s two and a half tons of CO2 per household, anda total of about 23,500 tons of sulfur dioxide, as well as large quantities of mercury, lead and other heavy metals and radioactive elements.  The EPA has ruled that all coal plants must install scrubbers to remove the sulfur dioxide, etc., or close down.  The  “coal ash” that results from the scrubbing process will, apparently, be stored in large piles and containment ponds on the banks of the Cumberland River, just like the piles and ponds next to the Clinch River near Kingston Tennessee.   (Remember what happened there?) and at every other coal-fired power plant in the country, because nobody’s figured out any safe use for all this highly toxic material.  (oops, sorry, I’m editorializing! ….well, that  IS the fact of the matter.)   Because these ponds and piles are going to take up a lot of room, TVA will have to close down The Cumberland River Aquatic Center, which specializes in growing endangered mussel species (essential for restoring stream health) as well as gar and sturgeon.  TVA has been strongly resistant to any kind of public input into their decision to do all this. Read the rest of this entry »





“STANDING YOUR GROUND” AGAINST MASS MURDERERS

4 08 2012

In closing, a bit of local news:  the frackers are coming!  The frackers are coming!

Apparently, about two-thirds of Tennessee is frackable, and the energy vampires want their gas fix now.  Get ready to kiss peace, quiet, and clean air and water in the countryside around Nashville good-bye.

Most of the state’s “conservation” groups–the Harpeth River Watershed Association, the Tennessee Clean Water Network, Tennessee Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club–are attempting to strike a deal with the devil by merely pushing for tighter regulation of fracking by the so-called “Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation.”

That’s a worthy goal, in its way.  TDEC’s proposed fracking regulations are remarkably lax, and would undoubtedly result in irreparable damage to Tennessee’s abundance of groundwater, as well as the delightful, healing rural ambiance still to be found in much of this beautiful state.  But I have a problem with all these groups’ stance on fracking.  I don’t think it should be allowed at all.  Science has made it quite clear that we need to reduce, not increase, our use of CO2-emitting fossil fuels, such as natural gas, for the simple reason that continuing our extreme dependence on these substances is destroying the planet’s ability to support us, as well as most of the other life forms with which we are currently sharing the planet.  (And sure, burning natural gas creates less CO2 than burning coal, but, in this case, “less” is still “too much.”)

Let me state that another way:  those who extract fossil fuels–the management and labor forces of the coal and oil industries–are mass murderers, and their target is all of us.  Really, it’s a Jonestown situation, because they will kill themselves by their actions, as well, but there isn’t much difference between being murdered by a merely homicidal maniac and being murdered by a maniac who is also suicidal. Read the rest of this entry »





SIERRA CLUB SELLS OUT?

3 04 2008

Well, they obviously don’t think so…I got this from PRWatch.org

Sierra Club Bleaches Dissent on Clorox Deal

In an unprecedented move by one of the Big Green environmental groups, the “Sierra Club‘s national board voted March 25 to remove the leaders of the Club’s 35,000-member Florida chapter, and to suspend the Chapter for four years.” What did the chapter do? According to Peter Montague, it was “highly critical of the national board’s decision in mid-December 2007 to allow The Clorox Company to use the Sierra’s Club’s name and logo to market a new line of non-chlorinated cleaning products called ‘Green Works.’ In return, Clorox Company will pay Sierra Club an undisclosed fee, based partly on product sales.” Sierra members outside of Florida are also concerned. “The Club’s Corporate Relations Committee examined the proposed deal with Clorox and rejected it, but was overridden by the national board,” writes Montague. Grassroots members have pointed out that “Clorox was fined $95,000 for violating U.S. pesticide laws” even as it was negotiating the Sierra Club deal. The Sierra Club told chapter leaders not to “seek public media coverage of this internal board decision,” reports the Palm Beach Post. Some leaders said “they fear punishment from the national organization” if they speak out.








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