Mary Anne Hitt Quotes

Coal is our country’s dirtiest energy source, from mining to burning to disposing of coal waste…. Coal is an outdated, backward, and dirty 19th-century technology…. Not only is coal burning responsible for one third of US carbon emissions—the main contributor to climate disruption—but it is also making us sick, leading to as many as 13,000 premature deaths every year and more than $100 billion in annual health costs.

This quotation on the surface appears to be a clear summary of the scientifically measured negative aspects to coal. However, it was an extremely bitter political quotation. The reason was that West Virginia and the other parts of Appalachia depend on coal for employment—jobs for the residents in a poverty-stricken area where there are few other potential sources for employment. Coal is also a key economic component of the economy in Wyoming. These states regard the reduction of coal as an energy source as one of the most serious political threats to their states and the treat it accordingly. West Virginia has Democratic Senators and congressmen from Appalachia. Wyoming has Republicans. Both exert enormous pressure on their Congressional Party leadership and the White House. With the country and Congress split at the time, Republicans had control of the House, and Democrats, the Senate and the Presidency—by very narrow margins so the leaderships cannot offend anyone in Congress. The result is that there was almost total silence about the huge coal pollution problem, and even in the second decade of the 21st century, where shale natural Gas was extractable in sufficient quantities to totally replace Coal as a fuel source, few in Congress or the administration ever even spoke of adopting a national policy to this effect, much less passed any legislation. During this period many Americans sickened and died as a result of coal every year with no end in sight.

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