The coal industry would have you believe that coal is clean energy. It’s spent years on the public relations promotion of Clean Coal, even though there is no commercially viable Clean Coal power plant in existence.
The truth is that, as the quest for coal expands, the industry is not getting cleaner. Coal is getting more dirty and less safe.
In Kentucky, for example, one third of surface coal mines are out of compliance with even the lax standards for safety and environmental protection that are in place. That’s a noncompliance increase of 22 percent in just the last three years. Furthermore, the violations of environmental and safety standards at surface coal mines in Kentucky are getting more serious in nature.
Over in Pennsylvania, the largest penalty ever for pollution by a coal-fired power plant in the state has been set in a legal settlement between the Sierra Club, Penn Environment, and GenOn Energy, a company from Texas. For years, GenOn Energy dumped highly toxic wastes created by its coal plant into the Conemaugh River, even though technology was available all the time that could have prevented the pollution. GenOn Energy simply wanted to make more profits – at the expense of the people of Pennsylvania.