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Whether particulates driving asthma, black lung afflicting miners, diseases due to polluted waters from mountain top removal and coal waste, mercury in our food stream reducing IQs, or otherwise, burning "coal makes us sick".

No matter what you hear of "clean coal", there are no if, ands, or buts about this basic truth: "coal makes us sick".

Amid the end game of trying to craft some form of energy & climate bill that has a shot of passing the U.S. Senate, which seems stalled in the face of what looks likely to be the hottest year in recorded weather history, the electrical utilities (and fossil foolish interests, e.g., coal) are trying to get a 'deal' for "relief" from enforcement of basic Clean Air Act (CAA) provisions to secure their agreement to (very weakened) steps to reduce US carbon emissions.

Putting aside the absurdity of claiming that any industrial polluter requires "relief" from US government enforcement of basic laws protecting Americans after eight years of Cheney-Bush Administration lack of enforcement of the nation's laws, what the utilities are seeking is the right to continue poisoning Americans health (threatening us all, from the youngest to oldest among us) as a payoff to agree to slightly reduce their dumping of CO2 waste into the atmosphere.  This is a deal that should not be made and that it is even being seriously discussed is a sign of the basic venality of the fossil-foolish influences on American society.

Very simply, "coal makes us sick".  Burning coal sickens human health. And, burning coal is sickening the planet's ability to support humanity.  

Harry, remember your own words, "coal makes us sick", and just say no to those who wish to enshrine the right to sicken us indefinitely into the future.

E.g., Don't accept more poison for less carbon ... (see also: Accept more posion to get less carbon? Kill this crazy idea NOW (Van Jones)).  The utilities are suggesting an either/or option when the most cost effective answer is: reduce both.

NOTE / CHANGE OF SUBJECT:  Sigh ... I, for one, won't be at Netroots Nation ... for the first time. Many reasons driving this but, the straw that broke the camel's back:  trying to keep the carbon footprint from swelling.  In any event, if given the chance, here are two questions to ask Senator Reid:

  1.  You have clearly stated your understanding that "coal makes us sick".  Will you commit to not allowing coal-burning utilities a continued pass on requirements to reduce mercury and and other poisons in their emissions?
  1.  You have closely aligned yourself with "your friend, T Boone Pickens" and are promoting his desire for large government investment for expanding natural gas transportation.  Have you had any independent organization do an analysis of the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of such a NGV program? If so, will you release it?  If not, why not?  And, associated, have you had an analysis done of the cost effectiveness for the taxpayer of such a program compared to other options for reducing our oil dependency?

NOTE:  RE #2, I know of no such analysis re total GHG nor of the relative costs to the taxpayers of various options.  My calculations suggest that a massive investment in natural gas vehicles would be a pretty bad deal for the planet and the taxpayer.  On this, see CAP’s American Fuel: Contaminated on so many levels.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 01:28 PM PDT.

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