Bed of Dan River is Poisoned by Coal Ash for 70 Miles: Turtles Emerging & Dying

GR:  Trump has removed protection from streams. He is probably unaware that the problem below is typical of many situations where mine wastes threaten or actually poison our streams. However, ignorance is not a satisfactory excuse. Can Trump believers continue to support actions that carelessly threaten people and wildlife across the country? Trump promised to remove regulations that restrict business and reduce employment. But did anyone expect he would do so blindly without regard for the long-term consequences? Poisoning people so mining companies can continue profitable operations is not the right way to go.

It’s worth noting that the Environmental Protection Agency forced Duke Energy to assess the coal ash problem. Without the EPA, the company would have simply ignored the problem and moved on. If it’s jobs you want, why not ask the EPA to force Duke Energy and other stream polluters to clean up their wastes? That would create many many jobs. So many.

Ongoing problem: Hibernating turtles are crawling out of the poisoned bed of the Dan River and Dying on the river banks in 2014 (Photo by Greenpiece).

“The bed of the Dan River is covered with toxic coal ash for 70 miles, killing hibernating turtles. The scale of this horrific, preventable catastrophe is now becoming evident.

“As arsenic laced coal ash continues to pour into the Dan River from the Duke Energy waste dump, turtles are crawling out of the poisoned river bed and dying on the banks. Duke Energy has been ordered to stop polluting the Dan River but a second pipe continues to discharge suffocating coal ash into the water following the massive failure of the first pipe under the waste pond. The river bottom is poisoned by toxic ash all the way from the waste dump in Eden to Kerr Lake 70 miles downstream. Federal officials say that the coal ash is suffocating animals that live in the riverbed.

Duke Energy's eroding ash deposits on the Dan River.

Duke Energy’s eroding ash deposits on the Dan River.

“Water treatment authorities say that they have successfully treated and filtered the river water to remove toxins and that Danville’s water is safe to drink. However, arsenic levels in the river continue to exceed federal safe limits. Heavy rains will wash the toxic waste further down the river over the coming weeks spreading the contamination over an increasingly large area.

“Federal officials said Tuesday that toxic coal ash has coated the bottom of a North Carolina river as many as 70 miles downstream of a Duke Energy dump where a massive spill occurred two weeks ago.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service advised that a massive pile of coal ash about 75 feet long and as much as 5 feet deep has been detected on the bottom of the Dan River near the site of the Feb. 2 spill. Deposits varying from 5 inches deep to less than 1 inch coated the river bottom across the state line into Virginia and to Kerr Lake, a major reservoir. …

dan-river“The Dan River system in North Carolina and Virginia is home to two federally listed endangered species, the Roanoke logperch fish and the James spinymussel. The river also has another freshwater mussel, the green floater, which is currently being evaluated for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

“Officials said the coal ash is burying aquatic animals and their food. The ash, generated when coal is burned to generate electricity, could also clog gill tissues in fish and mussels.

“A second pipe under the huge waste pit has large gaps between sections where the toxic ash continues to drain into the Dan River. All of this mess could have been avoided had Duke Energy responded to environmental organizations’ lawsuits by properly disposal of the waste in dry, lined waste disposal facilities with impervious covers. Instead, Duke stonewalled and gave large sums of money to the Republican Party in North Carolina to get preferential treatment.” –FishOutofWater (Continue reading:  Bed of Dan River is Poisoned by Coal Ash for 70 Miles: Turtles Emerging & Dying.)

Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

GR:  Perhaps Obama believes University of Arizona professor Guy McPherson’s prediction that global-warming feedbacks will cause human extinction within 10 years (by 2026). So it can’t hurt to give the wasters what they want–what difference could it make?–right? 😦

In Move That Will Undercut America’s Clean-energy Industries, U.S. Forest Service Opens 20,000 Acres of National Forest in Colorado to Bulldozing Roads for Coal Mining

DENVER, Colo., December 16, 2016— “The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it would on Monday reimpose a controversial coal mine loophole, issuing a final rule that opens 20,000 acres of wild Colorado forest to bulldozing for coal mining, something the agency admits will undermine clean-energy development, result in millions of tons of climate pollution, and cause up to $3.4 billion in global damage due to worsened climate change.

“The Obama administration just gave Arch Coal an early Christmas present,” said Nathaniel Shoaff, an attorney with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. “The rest of us will be saddled with nearly half a billion tons of climate pollution and a $3.4 billion price tag. This is a sad and damaging bookend for President Obama’s climate legacy.”

“In 2012 the Forest Service adopted the Colorado Roadless Rule to protect 4 million acres of wild national forest in the state, but the rule included a loophole to permit bulldozing roads for coal mining on 20,000 acres of roadless national forest. In 2014 a federal court vacated the coal mine loophole because the Forest Service failed to disclose the climate change impacts of unlocking hundreds of millions of tons of coal for burning.

“The Forest Service will reimpose the loophole on Monday, Dec. 19. The loophole opens the door to mining 170 million tons of coal, and bulldozing up to 450 drilling pads and 67 miles of road in wild aspen and spruce forest in the Sunset and Flat Irons Roadless areas immediately adjacent to Mount Gunnison in the West Elk Wilderness, 45 miles southwest of Aspen, Colo. These roadless lands provide habitat for elk, goshawks, black bears and imperiled lynx, and are frequented by hikers and hunters. According to a Forest Service analysis released last month, coal mined from these roadless lands will displace nearly 10,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power including solar and wind.” –Center for Biological Diversity (Continue:   Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

Obama Kicks Off Trump’s Dirty Energy Agenda by Moving to Open Colorado Roadless Forest to Climate-destroying Coal

GR:  Obama tries again to help out the fossil-fuel industry.  This time he’s working for coal.  It is unlikely that he believes this will benefit anyone except the coal company. Maybe he is hoping an energy corp will give him a cushy job when he leaves DC.

Roadless Rule Loophole Could Cause Vast Carbon Pollution, Undermine Obama Administration Climate Goals

DENVER, Colo.— “A U.S. Forest Service plan released today proposes to reopen a gaping loophole in the Colorado Roadless Rule that would allow Arch Coal to expand coal mining across about 20,000 acres of pristine, high-country forest and crucial wildlife habitat in western Colorado. Tens of thousands of people have urged the Obama administration to abandon the plan because of its threats to the climate and public lands.

Mount Gunnison, Sunset Roadless Area. Photo by Ted Zukoski.Photos are available for media use.

“If enacted, the decision would result in the mining of 172 million tons of coal over 17 years and at least 443 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Opening pristine backcountry for coal mining in the face of a global climate crisis is dangerously backward public policy,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of setting the table for Trump’s dirty energy agenda, Obama should nix this plan on his way out the door.”

“Today’s environmental analysis is the latest in a long series of decisions affecting coal mining in the West Elks. Originally protected from tree-cutting and road-building by the Forest Service’s 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, the Sunset Trail and Pilot Knob roadless areas again came under threat from mining in 2012 when the Forest Service approved a Colorado-specific roadless rule allowing new coal mine methane drainage pads in the area.

“The loophole was thrown out by the U.S. District Court of Colorado in 2014 because the Forest Service failed to consider the climate change impacts of millions of tons of federal coal, which could result in more than half a billion tons of carbon pollution from mining and burning the coal.

“The Sunset Trail and Pilot Knob roadless areas threatened by new methane drainage pads for expansion of Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine are home to spectacular aspen groves and mountain vistas, black bears, beaver ponds, rare and sensitive amphibians and watersheds supporting endangered native fish.

“Today’s announcement flies in the face of the United States’ commitment in the Paris Climate Accord to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Recent studies have shown that the greenhouse gas pollution that would result from developing fossil fuels beyond those already under production is incompatible with that goal.”  Source: Obama Kicks Off Trump’s Dirty Energy Agenda by Moving to Open Colorado Roadless Forest to Climate-destroying Coal

How Austrailia’s Great Barrier Reef got polluted – from farms and fossil fuels to filthy propaganda | Graham Readfearn | Environment | The Guardian

GR:  This is the best discussion of the cause of coral death in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef I’ve seen–it’s people.

Coral bleaching at Loomis Reef, off Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photograph: Essential Median

Graham Readfearn:  In late November 2015, as corals across the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef started to bleach white, the game was finally up.

For years, Australians had been told the country’s jewel in the ocean’s crown was on the mend. Only months earlier the Coalition government had won a two-year fight to keep the reef off a United Nations list of world heritage sites in danger.

The stakes were high. International reputations and tourist dollars were at stake. The foreign minister, Julie Bishop, and the trade minister, Andrew Robb, had even attacked Barack Obama, who feared for the reef’s future.

The reef was not in danger, Bishop insisted. The president was misinformed, claimed Robb.

Conservative commentators hanging around News Corp media have said the dangers to the reef were overblown.

The mining industry cast the views of environmentalists as green propaganda, ignoring how for the most part, conservationists were echoing the findings of the government’s own scientists.

Now, about half the corals bleached in the once pristine northern section are dead or dying.  More– How the Great Barrier Reef got polluted – from farms and fossil fuels to filthy propaganda | Graham Readfearn | Environment | The Guardian

Save