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Beyond Coal

In Alaska, our coal organizers are working to keep new coal mines from developing and preventing coal-fired electricity generation projects from coming online.

The irony of a coal-based future cannot be overstated: Alaska is witnessing the tangible effects of rapid global warming unlike any other state, and Alaska's heralded wild fisheries are beginning to show mercury contamination from far-off coal plants. The greatest threat posed by coal in Alaska lies in the fact that Alaska possesses roughly half the nation's coal reserves with nearly 80% sitting prominently along shipping routes for growing energy markets in Asia.

The demand for lower-cost electricity has sparked interest in coal by local utilities. In 2006, local citizens and groups successfully fought back an ill-conceived proposal to operate a coal-fired power plant in Seward; however, several major coal-fired power plants currently are in the works for Alaska. These include re-starting the Healy 2 coal plant, as well as building a coal-to-liquids plant in Fairbanks.

The campaign against coal is as close to a silver bullet for climate change as anything. We must stop the mining and burning the dirtiest fossil fuel. With untapped renewable potential, like wind, tidal, geothermal and small hydro, Alaska could easily meet its energy needs and head towards a clean 21st century energy future.

You can find comprehensive information on coal in Alaska at Ground Truth Trekking.

Beyond Coal

Possible EPA Regulations on Coal Ash
Coal ash is not currently subject to federal regulation, and state laws governing coal ash based on “solid” waste rules, which are usually weak or non-existent. Now the EPA proposes two options to classify coal ash and also how to regulate it.

Coal Ash Sampling Method Shows Higher Toxins: Video
A new testing method by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveals that pollutants such as arsenic, antimony, chromium and selenium can leach from coal ash at levels dozens and sometimes hundreds of times greater than the federal drinking water standard. According to the EPAs new data, pollution from coal ash can shatter the "hazardous waste" threshold.

Coal Ash in Alaska
Interior Alaska has six coal-fired power plants which collectively produce 136 megawatts (MW) of electric power. This dirty process creates thousands of tons of waste every year. Find out more about what is in this waste and where it ends up.


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