Sunday, August 23, 2009

Battling Polluting Waste Coal Plants In Western Pennsylvania

Politicians at the state and local level in Pennsylvania believe the residents should roll over and play dead when companies push for waste coal power plants. Some politicians take it for granted that we already have. However, waste coal power plants increase the amount of fly ash and other particulates in the air and the amount of mercury and arsenic the water. We, the people, must care about what happens to the environment, to the air we breathe and the water we drink. People living in Pennsylvania need to paraphrase John Paul Jones and need to constantly remind our elected and appointed officials:

We Have Not Begun to Fight:

Battling Polluting Waste Coal Plants In Western Pennsylvania


Many years of mining in Pennsylvania created large areas of waste coal, called gob piles. This is the Beech Hollow gob pile, just outside of McDonald, as seen from the western side (photo taken winter 2008):

Beech Hollow Gob Pile taken from the western side, 2/3/08

Here's what the Beech Hollow gob pile looks like from space, courtesy of Google Earth (photo taken late summer 2005):


Beech Hollow Gob Pile taken from the western side, 2/3/08

The large glob of gray to the west of 980 (Robinson Highway) is the largest gob pile east of the Mississippi. It's in our backyard. Granted, it's an ugly mess, but in its current state, it isn't adding to the particulate problem in Southwestern Pennsylvania. However, if you live in places like North Fayette Towship, Oakdale, Carnegie, and Mount Lebanon, you live downwind of a proposed coal waste power plant for Beech Hollow, that will make electricity from the waste coal in this gob pile while spewing fly ash into the air.

For many years, Pittsburgh has been at or near the top of cities with the most particulate-polluted air. Yet our local politicians are giving permission for a waste coal power plant to be built just west of the area? This type of plant will only make a bad air quality situation worse, as anyone with asthma or other lung problems in our region already knows.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area, especially in the western and southern suburbs, you should be mad as hell and let your local officials know that you aren't going to take it.

To learn more about this proposed waste coal power plant, attend a public meeting in Mount Lebanon on Thursday, August 27, 7:30pm, Mt. Lebanon Library

9 comments:

  1. Laurie,thanks for posting this. I will be prestenting on behalf of the Sierra Club at the Mt. Lebanon Meeting There will also be representatives from the Univ. of Pittsburgh's Center for Healthy Environments and Communities (CHEC)and the Eviromental Integrity prject. If folks want to RSVP just click on my name above for the link.

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  2. Politicans who live a long way away are similar to the coal company owners who live a long way away. They have no problems and they make up language like "beneficial use" to pretend that a power plant will be good for folks.
    The owner of this gob pile actually lives close, but if he sells it for big bucks, then he can move to Las Vegas.

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  3. Thank you for posting this...I am just incredulous that this plant is even being given consideration by PA DEP--given the indisputable evidence of Pittsburgh's poor air quality (and how strongly connected that is to long term health and well-being....asthma, lung disease, cancer, not to mention all of the other things that are connected but given less weight like skin disorders as a result of pollution exposure), the recent data on widespread mercury contamination of fish and the leading source of that mercury being coal-fired plants, and on and on. I am just stunned that people in the city (DOWNWIND) of this plant are not outraged and demanding that their elected officials stand up and get specific answers from the DEP. I love Pittsburgh and want it to be my permanent home (well...with plenty of winter trips to warmer climates) but this region's unwillingness to stop these good old boys from lining their pockets at the expense of my health and my child's health is infuriating and makes me wonder if it's worth it!
    The technology used for this plant (the developer will tell you it is "clean"...they have "scrubbers" to keep the bad stuff out of the air, they claim)actually INCREASES the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that will be sent into the air that all Pittsburghers breathe...PAHs are carcinogens...they cause CANCERS. Breath deep Pittsburgh!

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  4. This project has been in the works for years. It was quietly moving forward hoping that Pa citizens would not catch wind of it. In fact North Fayette and residents downwind of the site were left out of the public process during the Township meetings. This was intentional in my opinion since the project is of regional significance.
    Thanks to Laurie Mann for posting this more people can learn about this and how they can get involved to stop this terrible project. Senator Stout once called burning waste coal and dumping fly ash into the unlined land a "Win win". He is WRONG WRONG WRONG, Wrong for the air, wrong for the land and wrong for our water.

    We will continue to fight this!
    Residents Against the Power Plant (RAPP)

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  5. Sept. 20-25 in Pittsburgh: the 3 Rivers Climate Convergence: United for Environmental justice.

    One of the primary goals is to amplify the voices, issues and efforts of local, regional and global communities adversely affected by fossil fuel extraction.

    see http://www.3riversonvergence.org

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  6. I know a number of folks have been working on this issue for years. I followed it a little in 2006 after I moved out to North Fayette Township, but wound up overly employed for a while and completely lost track of it. Since I'm underemployed, this is a project I'll keep helping out with.

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  7. Lodge is a fraud. Try not to bounce your checks before worrying about others' issues......

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  8. Lodge was paid extremely well by those involved with this project, but for some reason, she always seems to forget to mention that tiny little detail.

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