Spruce No.1

Wed, 2011-01-19 13:52TJ Scolnick
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Arch Coal Ignored Low-Cost Alternative Coal Mine Design In Order To Save 55 Cents a Ton

Could West Virginia’s coal politics become even more absurd? Apparently, yes. Ken Ward Jr. reports in the Charleston Gazette that a formerly secret 48-page engineering report by Morgan Worldwide [PDF], confirms that Arch Coal’s subsidiary Mingo Logan Coal Co. could have cut its stream damage from the Spruce Mine project in half – meeting the standards set by the EPA under the Clean Water Act. And at what cost for a company which earned $700 million last year? For a mere 55 cents per ton, or around 1 percent of the expected per-ton sales price, Arch could have used existing technologies to avoid polluting and potentially burying 5 more miles of streams.

Tue, 2011-01-18 15:43TJ Scolnick
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West Virginia Politicians Vow To Fight Dirty On Coal, While EPA Enforces Laws To Protect Appalachian Residents

Dirty coal and climate denial are hot topics in West Virginia right now.  Last week, acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV) delivered West Virginia’s State of the State address where he gave a spirited defence of “carbon friendly” coal.  Then the very next day the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stole the spotlight by vetoing what would have been the largest mountaintop removal project in the state.

Tomblin, who replaces former Governor and newly minted Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), emphasized his support for the expanded use of coal as a vital part of the nation’s energy mix.  He also vowed to aggressively pursue West Virginia’s lawsuit against EPA until a more “sensible” approach can be found to regulate coal’s global warming emissions.

Governor Tomblin’s comments do not break new ground and will tie West Virginia to coal despite the fact that the industry negatively impacts the state’s economy.  His counterparts Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and the aforementioned Joe Manchin are already well known for frequently overlooking the negative impacts of coal.

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