News Service: Group Says Coal Isn’t A Cash Cow for KY

Photo: Codrington, Stephen. Planet Geography 3rd Edition (2005)
Photo: Codrington, Stephen. Planet Geography 3rd Edition (2005)
Some argue in favor of the coal industry in Kentucky because it offers well-paying jobs in a number of areas where residents may not have them otherwise, but one group says there are costs associated with coal that few stop to think about.

Jason Bailey, research and policy director with the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, says a study his group did on the issue examined areas where the state has to spend money because of the industry.

He said damage to roads and bridges associated with hauling millions of tons of coal each year are a really substantial cost to consider. He also points out that the huge regulatory system that is require to protect workers’ safety and health, public health, the environment, etc… is extremely costly.

He questions whether it makes sense to continue to focus state subsidies on an energy source that is both declining and also has some negative impacts.

READ THIS STORY AT NEWSSERVICE.ORG

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Fluoride from Municipal Water Supplies is Toxic to Fish

Photo: Ildar  Sagdejev
Photo: Ildar Sagdejev

Water Fluoridation Impacts the Environment

Fluoride pollution from aluminum smelters has long been known to cause problems such as damage to plants and risk to livestock grazing grasses exposed to the chemical. But there are not many highly publicized studies that look at the ecological impact of fluoridating municipal water supplies. Past research, however, shows that the practice hailed by the CDC as one of the greatest public health advances of the 20th century for humans may be causing damage to the environment.

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Reuters: Canada to phase out high-emitting coal-fired energy plants

Photo: Arnold Paul
Photo: Arnold Paul
Canada announced last week that it will be issuing new standards that will require both new and aging energy plants to meet the same stringent greenhouse-gas emissions standard.

“Our regulation will be very clear,” Environment Minister Jim Prentice said at a press conference. “When each coal-burning unit reaches the end of its economic life, it will have to meet the new standards or close down. No trading, no offsets, no credits.”

Canada has 55 coal-burning energy plants. By 2025, 33 of these facilities will have reached the end of their economic lives. They will need to make costly upgrades to meet the anticipated new standards or be forced to shut down.

The new regulations are expected to become effective on July 1, 2015, according to an Environment Canada press release. Draft regulations should be issued early next year.

READ THIS STORY AT REUTERS.COM

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The Times-Tribune: Too much gas on Marcellus

Development of the Marcellus Shale gas formation has followed similar lines to all resource extraction stories throughout the nation’s history.

There are substantial economic benefits, but also substantial environmental costs. Companies engaged in the extraction work bolster the local economy but not always in accordance with local cultural and behavioral standards. Some people profit and some people suffer losses through affected property values.

This is also the case with the Marcellus Shale development. Yet there is also a consensus that the gas can be extracted in a way that boosts the economy without devastating the environment. The problem is that the political debate has been driven from the ends to the spectrum rather than the middle.

READ THIS STORY AT THETIMES-TRIBUNE.COM

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