I just read an article stating the National Resource Defense Council and the Clean Air Task Force, two well known, well funded environmental organizations, are now showing support for carbon capture technology at coal-fired power plants.
My question is, how will this help a just transition for Appalachia and other areas impacted by coal mining?
Let’s recap the coal industry’s impacts on their employees and local communities:
- Billions of dollars of coal have left coal mining communities throughout the nation and those communities continue to be among the most economically depressed, unhealthiest, most disadvantaged areas in the nation.
- Coal companies continuously seek ways to eliminate their debts to coal miners and their families by terminating retirement benefits including healthcare.
- Coal companies spend money appealing black lung benefits awarded to coal miners.
- Coal companies also get out of cleaning up the messes they leave behind, including acidic mine drainage, coal slurry impoundments, land subsidence, and terrible surface mine reclamation jobs.
In summation, aside from creating a handful of jobs that take away our long-term health, the coal industry is a plague.
Supporting carbon capture gives lease to the coal industry so they may continue their operations. It is a poor solution to treating a symptom rather than addressing the source of our problems—excessive energy use. Why is it so difficult to implement and support behavior-based energy efficiency education, and to invest in energy efficiency technology that could provide thousands of jobs?