The following post is by Earl Killian, guest blogger at Climate Progress.

227469274_a0fdccd5c8.jpgKentucky has selected a site to build a $4 billion coal-to-liquids plant in Pike County that would produce 50,000 barrels of liquid coal a day. According to Kentucky’s Lexington Herald-Leader:

… The county would use federal and state grant money to put the basic infrastructure in place, including water and sewer, and the company chosen to operate the facility would pay for the rest.

County officials have not yet secured funding, but Ruther­ford said he has received support from Gov. Steve Beshear, as well as several others, including state Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook.

Joe has written often about the climate dangers of coal-to-liquids, and recently about the health dangers of living near coal plants. There are also other consequences.

An Op-Ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader serves as a stark reminder that coal will never be clean. Robert Richardson, a former coal miner, writes passionately about the death of Kentucky’s streams under the onslaught from mountain-top removal. On revisiting a favorite spot, he writes:

I was shocked and completely dismayed by what I found on a recent trip: Roaring Branch no longer roars. It doesn’t growl or even bark; it barely whimpers. There is only a trickle of water down the hollow now … What could have caused such a beautiful stream of water that has run for thousands of years to dry up like that? For those of us who travel from Lynch across Black Mountain, the reason is very clear when you look at what has happened down on the Virginia side of the mountain. The mountain has been torn to pieces. Mountaintop-removal mining has extended down behind Roaring Branch, and the stream has literally disappeared. Southwestern Virginia has lost one of its crown jewels.

He goes on to point out that coal jobs are not renewable:

The coal companies are like the little boy who cried wolf. When an effort is made to stop mountaintop removal, they cry that their mines will have to shut down and that everyone will lose their jobs. I have yet to see a coal company that actually cares about the long-term financial situation of its employees. When the coal is gone, the companies will lay off the workers and never think of them again. This achieves the desired effect of scaring the men whose jobs are threatened, and thus, politicians become weak in the knees and are scared to do anything about it.

The Army Corps of Engineers turns a blind eye to it because they have been told to do so by politicians in Washington.

In contrast, wind and solar don’t run out, and neither do their jobs.

For more information, try iLoveMountains.org and Coal is Clean.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.