When Donald Trump rambles on about “clean coal,” he never mentions the parts of coal that aren’t very clean. He doesn’t talk about coal’s toxic byproducts that are found in its ash, its dust, and its smoke. And he doesn’t talk about the potential health impacts for the people who live near mines, power plants, and shipping terminals.
Such coal-related health threats are familiar to homeowners near Charlotte, North Carolina, who went more than 1,000 days on bottled water because of suspected coal ash contamination in their tap water. The health risks are familiar to residents in Norfolk, Virginia, who have to contend with coal dust on their homes and gardens from the trains that rumble into the largest coal export terminal in the Northern Hemisphere.
The dangers of coal are familiar to the Appalachian communities beset with air and water pollution from mountaintop-removal mining that carves the tops off of mountains and dumps the remnants into streams.
And coal’s threats are familiar to residents of eastern North Carolina, who last week learned that thousands of cubic yards of coal ash—the toxic waste product of burning coal—could be seeping into the Cape Fear River. Duke Energy, the largest utility in North Carolina, has admitted that floodwaters from Hurricane Florence have inundated coal ash storage pits at the L.V. Sutton power station in eastern North Carolina.
Both utility and state officials don’t know how much coal ash could be making its way into the Cape Fear River, which provides drinking water for some 60,000 residents. But coal ash wouldn’t be the first industrial pollutant released into the river; the river is already contaminated with a chemical known as GenX, a potentially cancer-causing substance.
For the rest of this article: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/clean-coal-not-joke