Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coal sludge: clean and sparkly!

The way the "clean coal" cheerleaders sis-boom-bah, you'd think emissions are the only thing about burning coal that is the least bit troublesome. They conveniently avoid discussing the impacts of extracting the (non-renewable) raw materials and post-combustion byproducts like toxic coal sludge, 5.4 million cubic yards of which escaped an 80-acre impoundment via a breached retaining wall last week in Kingston, Tennessee, flooding hundreds of acres of community land and waterways.

The National Research Council estimates that coal plants in America produce 129 million tons of post-combustion byproducts a year, the second-largest waste stream in the country, after municipal solid waste.

Hurray for clean coal!

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