Coal’s true cost a risk to health, environment

As most people in this state are aware, Kentucky has very “cheap” electricity rates. These low rates are one of the reasons that many industries reside in our great state.

Patrick Johnson

Most citizens would argue that this is a great blessing, and one that should be protected. However, the true cost of this “cheap” energy, when externalizations are taken into account, is actually extremely high.

By most accounts, coal is responsible for more than 90 percent of the energy production in the state of Kentucky. We truly are a “Friend of Coal” in terms of state energy policies.

Many people claim that this cheap energy source should be something we should protect and fight for. However, fighting for the prolonged mining and burning of coal in this state in order to pay “cheap” energy costs is the equivalent of digging, and paying, for our own grave.

If the true cost of coal is analyzed, the health impacts that come as a result of the mining and burning of this finite non-renewable energy source far outweigh the price we are paying on our electric bills every month.

The health and social impacts of strip-mining practices in Appalachia have been well documented — with a loss of jobs, clean water and clean air leading to poor health conditions for local citizens. The health care costs as a result of these environmentally destructive practices are extremely high and cause the true cost of coal to be much higher.

If the destructive mining practices are ignored, and things are viewed on a macro level, the combustion of coal in power plants also poses serious health problems and leads to millions of dollars in health care costs for respiratory issues.

These respiratory issues, however, pale in comparison to the yearly budget that is going to be spent offsetting the global impacts of climate change. Coal-fired power plants are the number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and continue to be a major reason for rising seas and increasingly more violent weather patterns.

“Coal keeps the lights on,” but it also keeps our local hospital beds filled with citizens subjected to its continued oppression.

Patrick Johnson is a natural resources and environmental science junior. Email opinions@kykernel.com.

Jordan Stapp says:

I am most definitely no expert on any of these issues, however, I do have enough common sense to ask a few basic questions on subjects that are going to hit my wallet and effect so many various aspects of my life and overall quality of life for myself and others.

With the internet, there are countless studies, papers, magazines, articles, opinions etc that are both pro-and con of every subject, where ACTUAL experts weigh in with their opinions and the studies/facts/observations they used to come to those conclusions, as well as critiquing those of others.

You get to see both sides of the argument and use your own critical thinking to form ones own opinion.

You and those like you Mr. Hess use ridicule, belittlement and “tune out” those who disagree with you as a tactic-because when you are actually challenged on a position, to overcome your inability to debate your point, you have to resort to ANYTHING else other than participating in the battlefield of ideas.

Jordan Stapp says:

I am most definitely no expert on any of these issues, however, I do have enough common sense to ask a few basic questions on subjects that are going to hit my wallet and effect so many various aspects of my life and overall quality of life for myself and others.

With the internet, there are countless studies, papers, magazines, articles, opinions etc that are both pro-and con of every subject, where ACTUAL experts weigh in with their opinions and the studies/facts/observations they used to come to those conclusions, as well as critiquing those of others.

You get to see both sides of the argument and use your own critical thinking to form ones own opinion.

You and those like you Mr. Hess use ridicule, belittlement and “tune out” those who disagree with you as a tactic-because when you are actually challenged on a position, to overcome your inability to debate your point, you have to resort to ANYTHING else other than participating in the battlefield of ideas.

Tyler Hess says:

LOL. (really) hahahaha-  you are a mockery of yourself. hahahaha

Jordan Stapp says:

ah, Mr. Hess, you weigh in with your well thought out and articulated intellectual arguments yet again. We are all humbled by your prowess and adeptness of debate and showering of facts and research in your overwhelmingly logical opinion.

Tyler Hess says:

ROFL,, ahahahahahahahahahahahah

Brad Coleman says:

This is a poorly written article.  There are no facts to back up anything mentioned here.  This is just another student who has had his head filled anti-thoughs for no reason.

Some actual Reclaimed Mine Sites (Not the ones The Sierra Club show which still have equipment operating on them)                                                                                                  http://www.coaleducation.org/technology/Reclamation/mountaintop-images/DSC_0610.JPG          http://www.coaleducation.org/technology/Reclamation/mountaintop-images/DSC_0609.JPG          http://www.coaleducation.org/technology/Reclamation/mountaintop-images/DSC_0608.JPG          http://www.coaleducation.org/technology/Reclamation/mountaintop-images/DSC_0612.JPG
Also, keep in mind that the trees have not yet fully grown. Once they have there will be very little difference to the original contour of those areas…

 It is easy to throw around slanderous accusations about how coal is creating a “loss of jobs, clean water and clean air leading to poor health
conditions for local citizens.” But the simple fact is that coal is not harmful. I was born and raised in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia. The only people complaining of these so called issues are the great folks from outside these areas. Yes, there are isolated incidents but that doesn’t mean this practice is harmful to the people in this area and that the practice should stop. If a pharmaceutical company completely stopped producing medicines because a few people had a negative reaction to it we would not have any medications on the market and the health of everyone as a whole would suffer. The same goes for coal, if we stopped coal production in the United States it would adversely effect our economy in an unimaginable way. So Mr. Johnson, I hope you will stop trying to influence the people of Kentucky with your slanderous accusations…

Billy Turner says:

Mr. Stapp these columnists do not have facts they are motivated by politics alone. Thank you for truth…

Jordan Stapp says:

For
example, asthma is a perplexing disease for which, according to the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no known cause. According
CDC statistics, the percentage of the general population with asthma
increased by 265% from 1980 to 2009.

According
to EPA statistics, from 1980 to 2009, the emissions of sulfur dioxide
when down by about 76% and, from 1995 to 2009, emissions of nitrogen
dioxide went down by about 48%. There is no statistical relationship or
known causal relationship between asthma and emissions of these
compounds. Yet, when announcing the new cross-state emissions rules in
2011 to further restrict emissions of these compounds, EPA Administrator
Lisa Jackson claimed, without evidence, the new regulations will
prevent 400,000 new cases of asthma each year.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/11/how_the_epa_is_like_ddt.html#ixzz1dPB2RVaSAgain, is this about science, or about politics? While we’re on asthma, what about the epa banning the use of rescue inhalers? Sure, you can use the prescription inhalers (that use a different propellant the EPA says is “safe” for the ozone), but those inhalers are what, twice as expensive? they propellant is also more likely to irritate, is less effective and ends up taking more “sprayes” to be effective-thus, needing to spend more on inhalers each month as you go through them quicker.

Jordan Stapp says:

How about this truly simple question that will boil it all down. IF coal is the cause of all these deaths, health complications etc… where are the trial lawyers with their clients, lining up by the thousands to collect the billions of dollars in damages? Could it possibly be we don’t see any of that b/c of the sketchy trial lawyers know the “scientific” basis of all this is so slim that they couldn’t hope to convince a jury in the same system that awarded millions of dollars to someone who’s coffee was “too hot”, billions to smokers who didn’t realize that smoking could lead to health complications (despite the surgeon generals warning on every package…) and the like?

Wish you’d cited a few sources, but a quick google search of the most often cited examples of studies done that confirm your position that coal leads to worse health issues in coal communities….well, add the word “critique” and see what you can find. Most (if not all) have been shown to have real flaws in their methodology and lack of statistical significance. (one example, the cancer rates between coal/non-coal, funny how they don’t take into account the health of smokers, non smokers etc-or the increased tobacco use often associated in coal communities…hmmmm, simple over sight i’m sure. )

As for man made global warming…. lol, really? there hasn’t been any warming in 13 years, despite the increased co2 gas releases…then again, if you believe the crap from the IPCC (how many scientist withdrew their names from the report? and the other scandals of non peer reviewed “research”, etc etc), “Climate Gate”, and other questionable practices of man made global warming proponents,  there may be little hope for you….