- Jul 20, 2011
- Reaction score
- Don't harsh my zen, Jen!
Jeff Schweitzer: Warning: Drinking Tea Party Rhetoric May Cause Cancer
And one wonders just why anybody believes anything the GOP has to say anymore. Talk about some nasty agendas.That the Grand Old Party is hostile to environmental regulation is no grand revelation. But the most recent assault on the EPA is, even for Republicans and Tea Party enthusiasts, an unusually reckless and irresponsible attack on reasonable attempts to clean our air. We are talking coal ash. Nothing like taking in some lead, cadmium and mercury with each breath and every sip of water to brighten one's day. That is just the price we must pay to reduce government interference into our private affairs.
But coal is particularly nasty. Yes, the attraction to coal is powerful and obvious because the United States sits on a reserve of nearly 250 billion tons of coal, 112 billion of which are high-quality bituminous and anthracite coals; the remainder mainly being lower-energy and dirtier lignite. With such abundance the siren song of energy independence is difficult to resist. However, burning even the highest quality anthracite is dirty business. One 500 MW power plant generates about 3 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. Other toxic byproducts include fine-grain particulates, heavy metals like mercury, lead, chromium and nickel, trace elements such as arsenic and selenium, and various organics like dichloroethane, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, and trichloroethylene. Oxides of nitrogen and sulfur are common pollutants from coal, and are found at higher levels in anthracite than in bituminous coal. The known health consequences of this toxic brew of air and water pollution are many, and include nervous system problems in infants and children, asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, a suite of cardiovascular problems and kidney disease. The environmental impacts are well documented, and not pretty.
But all of those inconvenient truths are just part of a liberal conspiracy if you believe the GOP.