Monday, September 14, 2009

ACCCE Members Behaving Badly: Peabody Energy

What's in a name?

When you're the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), quite a bit: the name of your organization is designed to convey that coal - despite a slew of research that suggests otherwise - can somehow be mined, burned and disposed of in a way that's clean.

Well, we're guessing the press folks at ACCCE and member company Peabody Energy are having one heck of a day after this piece dropped in the New York Times:
Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water [see photo, above right] in her home near Charleston, W.Va.

In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.
The culprit? Coal. According to reports that the companies themselves have been submitting, polluters have violated the Clean Water Act more than half a million times in the past five years alone.

One of the biggest offenders has been Peabody Energy, a member of the ACCCE and the world's largest coal conglomerate. More from the Times article:
In the eight miles surrounding Mrs. Hall-Massey’s home, coal companies have injected more than 1.9 billion gallons of coal slurry and sludge into the ground since 2004, according to a review of thousands of state records. Millions more gallons have been dumped into lagoons. 

These underground injections have contained chemicals at concentrations that pose serious health risks, and thousands of injections have violated state regulations and the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to reports sent to the state by companies themselves.

For instance, three coal companies — Loadout, Remington Coal and Pine Ridge, a subsidiary of Peabody Energy, one of the largest coal companies in the world — reported to state officials that 93 percent of the waste they injected near this community had illegal concentrations of chemicals including arsenic, lead, chromium, beryllium or nickel.
So let's get this straight: at the very same time as you are claiming "clean" coal is the future of American energy, you're emitting so many pollutants into America's drinking water that it burns human skin on contact? Not to mention the continuing Congressional investigation into your forgery of letters from veterans, senior citizens and minority groups opposing clean energy and climate legislation?

Let's just say that the term 'discredited' would be an understatement.

If you have a few free minutes, the whole Times piece is worth a read.

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