Waterkeeper Alliance launches coal website

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Black Warrior Riverkeeper helps Waterkeeper Alliance Launch Website Combating Myth of Clean Coal

Today, Waterkeeper Alliance unveiled the whole truth about coal. TheDirtyLie.com website has been launched to combat the lies that are being spread about coal, including the myth of so-called “clean coal.” As an autonomous local chapter of Waterkeeper Alliance frequently focusing on coal pollution, Alabama’s Black Warrior Riverkeeper is helping promote the website.

The full cycle of coal use destroys our land, uproots communities, despoils our streams, contaminates our water supplies, and poisons our air. Coal-burning power plants are the leading emitters of CO2 emissions that exacerbate climate change, their SO2 emissions cause acid rain that kills our forests, and they spew out tons of the neurotoxin mercury, this generation’s lead. TheDirtyLie.com exposes all these threats and more.

There are around 100 active strip (surface) and underground coal mines in the Black Warrior watershed today. Many are operating along the banks of the river and its tributaries. They are allowed to mine within 100 feet of the river and 300 feet of homes. Water discharge permits are given to mines allowing them to discharge pollutants such as total suspended solids (muddy water), and heavy metals (iron and manganese).

Coal from Alabama is used to make coke for the steel-making process, is shipped overseas, or is burned at power plants to produce electricity. 60% of Alabama’s energy is created by burning coal.

There are three active coal-burning power plants in the Black Warrior watershed. Gorgas Steam Plant is on the Mulberry Fork in Walker County; Miller Steam Plant is on the Locust Fork in Jefferson County; and Greene County Steam Plant is on the Black Warrior River in Greene County. Miller Steam Plant was the #1 mercury emitting power plant in the entire nation in 2007, spewing out nearly a ton of mercury. Gorgas and Greene were named in the top 50 dirtiest plants list.

John Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, recently made front-page news for his work documenting the real effects of the TVA’s billion-gallon coal sludge spill in Harriman, Tennessee, on the surrounding communities and waterways. “Waterkeeper Alliance’s unique grassroots model gives us the ability to carry the campaign to hundreds of locales in a way no other group can,” Wathen said.

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