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Bruce Nilles' Posts

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EPA recommends protecting clean water by rejecting giant W.Va. coal mine

Will the proposed Spruce Mine site ultimately escape this fate?Hot off the presses: The EPA just announced it is recommending rejecting the massive Spruce Mine in Logan County, W.Va., for the simple reason that it can't comply with long-standing clean water protections. EPA Region 3 Administrator Shawn Garvin recommended that the permit for Spruce be withdrawn. In short, this proposed mountaintop removal coal mine would release huge amounts of toxic pollution into the state's waterways. That has been illegal across the country and today EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is proposing the same protections for Appalachia. Today's recommendation flows from President …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Coping with Coal Ash's Health Effects

This is the latest in our series of community coal ash profiles. This piece was written by Sierra Club Apprentice Lydia Avila. The community of Joliet, Illinois, identifies as many things - Midwestern, humble, and hard-working. Yet they also identify with something much less positive: being collateral damage. According to Joliet residents, they don't even merit a second thought to Midwest Generation, a coal-fired power plant that has been dumping toxic coal ash near Joliet for over 40 years. Coal ash is the byproduct of burning coal for electricity, and it's having a major impact on Joliet. Residents say if …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Oklahoma Town Fights Coal Ash

This post is the latest in our series of community coal ash profiles. It was written by Sierra Club Apprentice Flavia de la Fuente. When a company named Making Money, Having Fun LLC (how's that for Orwellian?) applied for a permit for a commercial disposal facility to dump coal ash (along with waste oil and gas water) in eastern Oklahoma, they provided geographical maps and documents indicating that, pursuant to the Corporation Commission rules, there was no town of a population below 20,000 within three miles. Except that's not true. The town of Bokoshe (450 people) has been there since …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Peabody Coal's Plan to Save the World…Or Itself?

The coal industry is a filthy business, but that doesn't stop the industry from spending a fortune on PR consultants to try and distract attention away from the costs it imposes on Americans every day. With labels like "clean coal" and "green coal," the coal industry's spinmeisters spend a lot of time and money trying to pretend coal is something it is not. Now in response to a successful campaign by the Sierra Club and our allies in the United States to stop the construction of new coal plants - we are up to 145 plants stopped - Peabody Energy …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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A Big Coal Ash Problem At Little Blue

This post is the latest in our series of coal ash community profiles. Our work on coal ash unfortunately becomes timely yet again, as news came out this week of a breach at a coal ash impoundment in North Carolina. This week's profile was written by Sierra Club Apprentice Andrea Sanchez. There is nothing little about Little Blue Run Dam, the coal fly ash impoundment that reaches into both Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Coal ash is the toxic by-product of burning coal for electricity - the Little Blue Run ash impoundment belongs to the Bruce Mansfield Plant. This plant is …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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A Kentucky Community Surrounded by Coal Ash

This week's coal ash community profile was written by Elizabeth Irvin, a Sierra Club Apprentice. For one weekend each year in early May, Louisville, Kentucky, boasts an abnormally high concentration of horses, jockeys, mint juleps, and elaborate hats. Less than ten miles from Churchill Downs, the neighborhood of Riverside Gardens has been dealing with an abnormal and deadly concentration of toxic chemicals every day for more than 40 years. A low income neighborhood in an area of Louisville known for its concentration of chemical plants, landfills, and power plants, Riverside Gardens may soon be forced to deal with yet another …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Threat Remains Despite VA Coal Plant Delay

This week's coal ash community profile post was written by Gabriel DeRita, a Sierra Club Communications Apprentice. Also, follow today's EPA coal ash public hearing in Chicago via our @SierraClubLive and @SierraClubIL Twitter accounts. The area around Surry County, Virginia, is already home to some sinister projects, including several major coal ash disposal sites and Michael Vick's infamous dog fighting operation. One of the disposal sites is the local golf course, the Battlefield Golf Club. The green is sculpted with 1.5 million tons of coal fly-ash.  Now a major Virginia power provider, the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), wants to …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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New Coal Ash Video and Facebook App Aim to Educate, Engage

You've seen our push against toxic coal ash continue over the past few months as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks public comment on how to regulate coal ash. Our push continues this week with the unveiling of a new coal ash video we produced and a Facebook application. Take a look at the video first: Left over after coal is burned, coal ash contains a dangerous mix of arsenic, mercury, lead and other pollution, pollution known to cause cancer and other serious illnesses. As was noted in the video, living near some coal ash sites can be more dangerous …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Coal Ash, A Rancher's View

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the middle of a series of public hearings at sites around the country to gather input on new protections from toxic coal ash. This week's blog post comes from Sierra Club Apprentice Jenny Kordick. -- After watching a deer refuse to drink water from a reservoir on a hot summer day last August, Colstrip, Montana area ranchers knew something was wrong. The water, found to contain toxic levels of sulfates, was traced back to a coal ash dump. Coal ash contamination in Colstrip, Montana dates back nearly 30 years. Colstrip sits on one of …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Fighting Coal Ash, Bureaucracy and Confusion

As I have mentioned on this blog before, the Environmental Protection Agency is currently holding public hearings at sites around the country to hear your input on draft regulations for the disposal of toxic coal ash. This week’s blog post comes from Sierra Student Coalition Apprentice Margaret Hoerath, who writes about an activist who travelled to the coal ash hearing in Virginia earlier this week. --- “This is a bureaucratic mini-Katrina because FEMA doesn’t know what’s going on here,” said James McGrath, a citizen from Giles County in Southwest Virginia, where a coal ash disposal site is located. Coal ash …

Read more: Politics