Cleaner Coal? Maybe Not

Many communities across the US are struggling with the idea of building new coal power plants to keep up with their growing demand for power. When coal advocates come to speak to these communities, they often brag about cleaner coal technology that "scrubs" the pollution from coal before it is released into the air.

A new report is exposing some dirty cracks in this clean coal theory. When coal pollution is scrubbed to reduce the filth, it creates a byproduct of possibly toxic ash. This ash would normally be recycled, but the "scrubbing" process adds chemicals to the ash that prevents its use in recycling. The ash is instead sent to garbage dumps so that an air pollution issue becomes a garbage dump issue.

How can ash that contains arsenic and mercury be dropped into your dumps where it could seep into groundwater supplies? According to the EPA, there is a regulatory gap that is allowing this to happen.

You can read more about the problem here. And this is something to keep in mind when the coal advocates come to your community to convince you to adopt "cleaner coal" technology. The real alternative to dirty coal is no coal at all. Its not renewable and its not innovative.

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