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Infographic: How Western Coal Travels To The Nation’s Most Polluting, Lethal Power Plants

By Stephen Lacey  

"Infographic: How Western Coal Travels To The Nation’s Most Polluting, Lethal Power Plants"

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The folks at High Country News have put together this fascinating infographic tracking where coal for the country’s dirtiest, most lethal power plants comes from. The graphic only tracks Western coal, which overwhelmingly comes from the Powder River Basin.

This isn’t a surprise: Powder River Basin coal is used for roughly 40% of coal-generated electricity in the U.S., and accounts for 14% of our greenhouse gas emissions. But it is quite interesting to see just how much coal comes from the 10 mines in that area — and what kind of impact it has.

Click on the image to see the full sized graphic.

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2 Responses to Infographic: How Western Coal Travels To The Nation’s Most Polluting, Lethal Power Plants

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    This graph shows the challenges we will face. The heavy coal consuming regions are weak in solar, geothermal, and wind resources, and transmission lines from windy areas in the Midwest are marginal.

    Texas, Montana, and Utah plants are closer to good renewable sources, and would be the best candidates for early retirement, but those states are run by Republicans.

    We have to close all of these plants, of course. Many of them are paid for, so the case will be difficult to make on economic grounds- unless, of course, the coal and utility firms are charged for medical and environmental costs. There is no legal or scientific reason why this could not occur. The will to include these externalities must come from EPA, the Surgeon General, and national political leadership (assuming Obama gets reelected).

    Accomplishing this feat administratively will result in a bloody political battle. So what? People’s lungs are filling with blood right now from all of the SOx, NOx, mercury and particulates coming from the death machines, not to mention the CO2. The time to close them is 2013- 2014. Obama should get it over with after he’s reelected.

  2. Leif says:

    The only reason the ecocidal fossil industry energy is cheaper than Green Sources is because “We the People” are left holding the bag! Take the profits out of pollution! NOW!