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Subpoena caps bad week for fossil fuel

1 Mar

by at Al Jazeera America February 13, 2014 

US attorney’s office seeks documents related to Feb. 2 spill of coal ash into a river in North Carolina
ash
The Dan River as it appeared after the coal ash spill Feb. 5, three days after the accident.
Gerry Broome/AP

Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the massive coal ash spill into North Carolina’s Dan River, targeting both the energy company responsible for the ash pond that leaked and the state’s environmental regulator. Continue reading

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Activists Blocking Coal Train in Germany

31 Aug

from Linksunten Indymedia

coalblockade

Rhineland Coalfield – Germany: Around 200 activists are occupying the coal train tracks which is the main way to transport coal between the open-cast coal mine “Hambach” to the big power plants which emit 100 millions tons of CO2 per year. The action is happening in solidarity with the Climate and Reclaim the Fields Camp that is taking place from August 23 to September 6 2013 in the Rhineland coalfield.

The activists went onto the tracks at around 1pm. At the time of writing (5.30pm), they are still there, surrounded by a lot of police. The fire fighters have arrived to fell trees, to make way for the police. It is expected that the occupation is going to be evicted within the next hours.

Already in the last two years, there have been blockades like this. The tracks are an extremely vulnerable point in the coal complex ca. 40km west of Cologne, which consists of three open cast lignite mines and four coal-fired power plants. Usually, wagons loaded with coal run here every 15 minutes to supply the power plants. The plants have storage capacity for only two days.

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Alpha Natural Resources Sued for Desecrating Family Cemetary with Mountain Top Removal Mine

30 Aug

by Associated Press / Washington Post

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Maria Gunnoe/Associated Press - In this June 2010 aerial photo released Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 by Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, mining equipment is seen on a mountain top near a cemetery is inside the forested area on that tiny knob of land in the middle of the mine complex. Six southern West Virginia residents are suing Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources over damage to a family

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Maria Gunnoe/Associated Press – In this June 2010 aerial photo released Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 by Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, mining equipment is seen on a mountain top near a cemetery is inside the forested area on that tiny knob of land in the middle of the mine complex. Six southern West Virginia residents are suing Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources over damage to a family

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Six southern West Virginia residents are suing Alpha Natural Resources to stop further damage to a family cemetery they say has become “an island in the sky,” barely accessible and literally surrounded by a massive mountaintop-removal mining operation.

They sued Virginia-based Alpha and its Independence Coal Co. subsidiary in Boone County Circuit Court last week after discovering that activity at the Twilight Surface Mine has come within 30 feet of their ancestors’ graves in Jarrell Cemetery.

But Alpha spokesman Ted Pile said late Wednesday the lawsuit has no merit, and allegations that Alpha has “willfully and maliciously” violated a 100-foot buffer zone, toppled headstones and denied relatives access are false.

Alpha has instead “gone above and beyond the letter and spirit of the permit and the law” to protect both the cemetery and the relatives’ access to it, he said. Alpha also is offended by suggestions it would deliberately harm the cemetery, Pile said.

“Our miners are men and women of character who themselves have lost loved ones in the past and understand what these grave sites stand for and mean,” he said.

The cemetery sits on a tiny knob of tree-topped land in the middle of what the Jarrell family descendants say is one of the biggest strip mines east of the Mississippi.

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Lawsuit: Company Lied About Coal Ash Dangers

23 Aug
“At one point, workers were told ‘you could drink fly ash daily and suffer no adverse health effects,’ according to the complaint …. In fact, when some workers were prescribed respirators or protective masks, ‘they were ordered not to wear said items.'”

by Bob Flowers / knoxnews.com

In a Dec. 23, 2008, photograph, the stacks of TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County stand over 5.4 million cubic yards of ash sludge after the failure of a storage cell. (J. Miles Cary/News Sentinel)

In a Dec. 23, 2008, photograph, the stacks of TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County stand over 5.4 million cubic yards of ash sludge after the failure of a storage cell. (J. Miles Cary/News Sentinel)

They call it Fly Ash Flu.

It’s the name some workers at the Kingston ash spill site gave health woes they say they incurred from prolonged exposure to a witch’s brew of toxic substances in coal ash.

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court targets the company hired by TVA to make sure cleanup of the disastrous coal ash spill at its Kingston Fossil Plant [in Tennessee] was done safely.

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., an international provider of professional technical services based in Pasadena, Calif., had a TVA contract that “greatly exceeded $40 million” to oversee safety guidelines, according to the lawsuit.

The complaint seeks compensatory damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages of up to 20 percent of all contracts Jacobs Engineering had with TVA for its work.

The lawsuit hadn’t been served on Jacobs Engineering late Thursday.

Knoxville attorney James K. Scott filed the 21-page complaint on behalf of 34 current and former workers at the ash spill cleanup site, along with 17 spouses.

Other plaintiffs are expected to join the complaint, Scott said Thursday.

Virtually all of the plaintiffs have respiratory problems, Scott said. Other health issues range from heart problems to sinus ailments to skin rashes.

The federal complaint alleges that Jacobs Engineering knew coal ash contained toxic, hazardous substances but lied to workers about it.

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Activists Boat onto Sludge Pond; Confront W.Va. Governor on Dangers of Coal Sludge

21 Aug

ImageImage

Charleston, W.Va. – This morning at 7:30 a.m. two activists paddled out onto the 2.8 billion gallon Shumate slurry impoundment in Raleigh County with banners reading, “Slurry Poisons Appalachia” and “Gov. Tomblin, Put Health Over Profit.”  Later this morning, one activist locked himself to a barrel of black water in front of Gov. Tomblin’s mansion in a Tyvek suit reading “Locked to Dirty Water”.   Activists are calling attention to the failure of the state government to protect its citizens from the abuses of the coal industry and the threats posed by coal slurry disposal.

“I grew up in Eunice drinking water poisoned by coal slurry, went to Marsh Fork Elementary under that dam, breathed the dust from that prep plant, and I’ve suffered the lifelong health consequences of that.  These same abuses are taking place today across our great state, and the blame for that lies squarely at the feet of Gov. Tomblin,” said Junior Walk of Rock Creek, W.Va. who attended today’s protest at the Governor’s mansion.

Coal slurry, the toxic byproduct of “washing” impurities out of coal before it is sold, has long been a matter of deep concern for area residents.  Its common disposal methods have created tragic disasters such as poisoning the public water supplies of Prenter and Eunice, W.Va., and slurry floods in Martin County, Ky., and Buffalo Creek, W.Va..  Despite this, evidence mounts that West Virginia regulators continue to fail at adequately regulating impoundments.

Read the full post on http://rampscampaign.org.

Activists Boat onto Sludge Pond; Confront Gov. Tomblin on Dangers of Coal Sludge

21 Aug

from RAMPS

Charleston, W.Va. – This morning at 7:30 a.m. two activists paddled out onto the 2.8 billion gallon Shumate slurry impoundment in Raleigh County with banners reading, “Slurry Poisons Appalachia” and “Gov. Tomblin, Put Health Over Profit.”  Later this morning, one activist locked himself to a barrel of black water in front of Gov. Tomblin’s mansion in a Tyvek suit reading “Locked to Dirty Water”.   Activists are calling attention to the failure of the state government to protect its citizens from the abuses of the coal industry and the threats posed by coal slurry disposal.

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Protests Over Bangladesh Coal-Fired Power Plant Near Sundarbans

4 Aug
Land filling and land preparation are taking place in Bangladesh's Sundarbans for a planned 1,320 megawatt coal-fired power plant. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Syful Islam

Land filling and land preparation are taking place in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans for a planned 1,320 megawatt coal-fired power plant. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Syful Islam

Syful Islam / Trust.org

DHAKA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Environmentalists and activists are protesting the Bangladesh government’s plan to build a massive coal-fired power plant close to the Sundarbans, the world’s biggest mangrove forest and a World Heritage Site.

They say the authorities have not considered the impact of the plant on the Sundarbans’ ecosystem and the forest’s role as a valuable coastal defence against extreme weather –  such as the two cyclones that battered the area in 2007 and 2009, affecting millions of people and severely damaging buildings and cropland.

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