Coal Ash in the Dan River: Counting the Costs

A pipe that ran under a coal ash pond at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Station in Eden, North Carolina ruptured on February 2, 2014. It sent coal ash gushing into the Dan River.  That’s barely a month after a … Continue reading

State of the environment in the State of the Union

The annual State of the Union address has become an opportunity for the President, whoever he is, to brag on his accomplishments and blame the opposition for any difficulties. It takes some rinsing away of self-serving political grandstanding to find … Continue reading

Benjamin Franklin’s battle against water pollution

Some time ago I came across a web page that claimed Benjamin Franklin as America’s first environmentalist. To begin with, Franklin petitioned the local government in 1739 to forbid tanneries to dump their wastes into the Delaware River. Unfortunately, the … Continue reading

What has become of the promise of biofuel?

In a way, coal, natural gas, and petroleum are biofuels. They come from once-living beings now fossilized. The ancients around the Mediterranean used olive oil for fuel. That’s more what we think of as biofuel. Today, the most-touted biofuels are … Continue reading

Say no to coal, but what about the miners?

Coal is an abundant and cheap source of fuel. Other than that, there’s nothing nice to say about it. I’ve heard about “clean coal” technology, but haven’t heard anything clean about it. In fact, if coal’s environmental and health costs … Continue reading