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December 27, 2008


If you are implying that we should replace coal-fired generation (and I inferred that from your final quote), then my inner systems analyst thinks that you need to suggest how we might replace the two billion megawatt hours of electricity produced from coal each year (EIA statistics). In light of a population growing at 2.7 million people per year (CIA World Factbook, 2008 estimate).

We are talking staggering amounts of capital here, particularly if the job is going to be done on a time scale shorter than several decades.

This is just horrible. I can't believe it's the first I'm hearing about it.

Michael Cain, I didn't infer that from the post, but if so I agree with you. I do think imposing and enforcing regulations for waste disposal would be a good idea. How much do you think this clean-up will cost? If they can clean it up.
I think WBIR ( the news channel linked to) should consider hiring some of the commenters to their story. They ask a lot better questions than the reporter did.

tragic really. Its cheaper to buy congressmen that proper containment.

Hilzroy, isn't saying anything about replacing coal, just pointing out that "clean coal" is a myth.

Kinda like the folks that promote nuclear power because it doesn't put CO2 in the air and ignore all the other problems caused by nuclear power.

Your last paragraph reminds me of a joke decades old:
A spokesman of the chemical industry announced that their in-depth analysis yielded the result that the pollution of rivers and lakes was not due to chemical waste disposal but caused by all the dead fish.
There are a lot of ticking time bombs of that kind in the US with holding dams for toxic mining waste left over from bankrupt companies (that often declared bankruptcy in order to avoid the costs of disposing the stuff in a safe way) in danger of failing and poisoning rivers (Montana seems to be especially threatened by that).

Coal sucks.

Michael Cain, I think the issue is not whether to magically speed up replacement of coal with cleaner energy sources, but whether to expand our production of coal in the name of energy independence. The costs of using coal include lives lost to black lung and cave-ins, bad water, bad air, acid rain, and contaminated farmlands. Because these costs turn up years and miles later, and are often hard to trace to particular mines or policies, they are easy to gloss over. It is important to notice when they happen, so we can improve our cost-benefit calculations.

Proponents of clean coal like to assert that wondrous new technology has made those costs a thing of the past. These claims smack of "we'll be greeted with flowers," or the endless claims that the latest 'smart bombs' will win a war without ground troops. Disasters like this one remind us of the cost of wishful thinking about cleanup technologies.

Tennessee blogger Aunt B.:

"We should just change our state motto to “Unless it’s gay, we’ll tolerate it, even if it kills us.”"

(via Aunt B., good local coverage of the TVA spill @ Enclave; also see Jillmz's Twitter feed.)

More online resources @ Women's Health News.

"This is much bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill."

Forty-eight times bigger according to your link.

And Exxon, that model of American cold-hearted captialism, has yet to pay for that ruination of wildlife.

Rather, it continues to pay lawyers and run the case through the courts years and years after that devastating event -- years and years after, and the damage to Mother Nature still continues.

"The Tiger" has no shame.

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