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Why the Crusade on Coal?
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2011

Coal-fired power plants generate roughly half of the nation’s electricity. Burning coal produces smog, soot, mercury and other toxic air pollutants, and greenhouse gases. This pollution harms public health, contaminates our waters and soils, and destroys forests and crops.

Why the Crusade on Coal?

 

Coal-fired power plants generate roughly half of the nation’s electricity.  Burning coal produces smog, soot, mercury and other toxic air pollutants, and greenhouse gases.  This pollution harms public health, contaminates our waters and soils, and destroys forests and crops.

Soot­

 

Public Health Dangers­

·         Triggers heart attacks and strokes­

·         Increases risk of asthma­

·         Causes irregular heartbeat­

·         Causes premature death­

 

 

Environment­

·         Depletes soil nutrients

·         Destroys forests and crops

·         Acidifies waters

 

 

Smog

 

Public Health Dangers­

·         Acts like a sunburn in the lungs

·         Increases risk of asthma­

·         Causes shortness of breath and permanent lung damage

·         Causes premature death­

 

Environment­

·         Destroys entire ecosystems

·         Weakens plant and tree growth, making them vulnerable to disease, insects, and extreme weather

·         Reduces crop productivity

 

Mercury

 

Public Health Dangers­

·         Increases risks of developmental problems in fetuses and infants

·         Causes brain damage

·         Causes coronary heart disease

 

Environment­

·         Poisons fish and seafood, accumulating in their tissues, with accumulation increasing up the food chain

·         Causes diseases for animals which eat fish and other marine life

 

Coal-fired power plants also emit large quantities of toxic air pollutants such as lead and arsenic, and are one of the largest sources of man-made mercury pollution in the United States. The mercury problem in the U.S. is so widespread that every year one in six women of childbearing age has mercury levels in her blood high enough to put her baby at risk.


Coal-fired power plants also have the highest carbon intensity among all fossil fuels.  Coal fired power plants account for 39% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

Kicking coal and retiring coal plants that lack scrubbers to reduce pollution will have real benefits to our health and our communities.

 

Extracted from the “Dirty Truth About Coal” Report by the Sierra Club. The full report is available at www.sierraclub.org/coal/downloads/coalreport.pdf.

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