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  • Here’s what Pittsburgh looked like before smoke control

    Vintage photos of Pittsburgh, from before it passed a smoke-control ordinance in 1941, are so hazy that some of them look like they've been hit with some kind of artsy-grunge Instagram filter.

  • Love, in the Time of Blasting

    This is the scene, when the coal-fired electricity that lights up New York City’s neon theatre district lowers on stage: We are inside the home of Marie and Hovie, a young couple living in the mountain holler of Eagle Creek. With their family’s 150-year-old homestead threatened by a planned mountaintop removal strip-mining operation, Hovie, a […]

  • Are we too clean?

    Photo: pfly via FlickrDearests, with yesterday’s Clorox wipes letter on my mind, I was intrigued to read the following headline in today’s Wall Street Journal: Can Dirt Do a Little Good? The story talks about the new film Babies, a Focus feature following the first year of life for four babies living in Namibia, Mongolia, […]

  • Road Map, Not Regulations, Will Bring Coal Free Future

    Note: This is a guest post by Stephanie Pistello, Ben Evans, and Jeff Biggers, co-founders of the Coal Free Future Project.  In the wake of the worst coal mining disaster in 40 years, compromise and political machinations this spring have resulted in a regulatory crisis of failure; workplace safety in the mines, including the black lung […]

  • Reclaiming Earth Day

    How do you celebrate Earth Day, when your homeland or homeplace has been stripmined into oblivion? For my family, standing in the ruins of our 150-year-old homestead in the devastated historic community of Eagle Creek, in the Shawnee Forest of southern Illinois, we turned to guerilla reclamation: My billie boys, the 9th generation of Eagle […]

  • Another tragic iceberg awaiting Massey’s titanic violations: Brushy Fork Dam

    Hope must die last in the coalfields, as our prayers go out to the families of the missing four coal miners and the 25 killed in the recent Montcoal mining disaster in West Virginia. But as heroic rescue teams attempt to reach the missing miners, another potential disaster instigated by reckless Massey Energy regulatory violations […]

  • Do coal companies put profit over human life?

    All coal mining safety laws have been written in miners’ blood. My grandfather, who barely survived an explosion in a coal mine in southern Illinois, taught me this phrase. He also taught me about the 150-year-old battle in the coalfields over reckless production at the cost of responsible safety measures. As our prayers and condolences […]

  • Obama Ends 150-Year War of Strip-Mining in 24 States!

    Obama Ends 150-Year War of Strip-Mining in 24 States: Mountaintop Removal Loses Its Groove. Yeah, I’ve been wanting to wake up to that headline for years, too. Instead, I read another Coal Tattoo headline about President Obama genuflecting in front of Big Coal. But don’t be fooled on April 1st today: Mountaintop removal, the process of blowing […]

  • LA Turns Lights on Deadly Coal, Bright Clean Energy Future

      As I drive down the crowded LA freeway this evening, I will consider these facts: According to a fairly recent study, California’s costly dependence on faraway coal-fired plants in Arizona and Utah results in an estimated 67 million tons of global-warming carbon–“the global warming pollution emanating from these smokestacks is equivalent to the emissions […]