Republican attack on the environment

Coal Ash Wednesday: Go get 'em, Avner

Duke professor to address EPA over coal ash deregulation:

Nearly six years after a busted drainage pipe at a Duke Energy coal ash containment pond turned the Dan River into an oily sludge, the Trump administration is considering a move to roll back some of the Obama-era rules that ban the disposal of coal ash in soil or pits and landfills that aren't lined to protect the environment.

At his Duke University lab, ABC11 caught up with the geochemistry professor headed to the EPA hearing about the issue scheduled for Wednesday morning. Avner Vengosh told ABC11 he's going in hopes of convincing the agency to keep the protections in place. "My coming to EPA is to bring the science," said Vengosh. "Demonstrating that putting coal ash without restrictions is a really bad idea."

Professor Vengosh and his graduate students at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment have done groundbreaking work on contaminants that threaten water quality. They're the ones who (finally) proved the Methane contamination of drinking water wells actually originated from the shale being fracked miles below, by looking at the isotopic signature. So we should all be inclined to pay attention to them on this as well:

Monday Numbers: Some sobering truths for Climate Week

climatechange.jpg

Lisa Sorg at NC Policy Watch breaks it down:

1 — US rank in cumulative CO2 emissions, 1850-2013

2 — US rank among all nations in CO2 emissions, 2017

30% — Estimated decrease in CO2 emissions in 2030 over 2005 levels if the Obama-era Clean Power Plan were to remain in effect

9% — Estimated decrease with the Trump administration’s rollback of the CPP

Which sort of explains why the Trump administration is not even taking part in this year's Climate Summit at the U.N., because they don't have any good answers for the inevitable questions that would be brought up. Trump is single-handedly trying to burn the entire planet down, probably so he can buy up the scorched land with a song and build golf courses and hotels. Lisa says it better:

Climate crimes: EPA set to undo rule to curb fugitive Methane emissions

This is the price we pay for electing a dangerous idiot:

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce Thursday that it will loosen federal rules on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change, according to two senior administration officials.

The proposed rule will reverse standards enacted under former president Barack Obama that require oil and gas operations to install controls on their operations to curb the release of methane at the well head and in their transmission equipment, including pipelines, processing and storage facilities.

I just had a debate with a friend over the fugitive Methane problem, which is why these numbers are already in my head: We've got 2.4 million miles of pipelines in the U.S. alone, and some 1.1 million active oil & gas wells in some stage of operation. This rule was a critical step in reducing greenhouse gases, but Trump doesn't care about any of that. He's like an angry toddler breaking some other kid's toys:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Illness and death have plagued TVA cleanup workers

Compounding the catastrophe with more irresponsible behavior:

The TVA paid for as many as 900 people to contain and remove the pollution, some working 12-hour shifts for months at a time. The sludge dried into a fine dust that sparkled like glitter and sometimes whirled into clouds so thick, drivers could barely see past the hoods of their trucks.

In Associated Press interviews, workers said they were healthy before breathing the ash, but have since suffered unusual symptoms. They recalled joking darkly about "coal ash flu" before suffering strange lesions and seeing their skin flake off like fish scales. At least 40 co-workers have died, they said, some gruesomely, collapsing and coughing up blood. "We cleaned it up in a little over five years, and it would've took 25 years to do it the right way," said Doug Bledsoe, who drove trucks there and now has brain and lung cancer.

Let's say it again for those in the back rows: "Heavy metals persist." Mercury, Arsenic, Lead, are all heavy metals that survive the coal-burning process, often in the form of fly-ash, which is such a fine particulate that it remains airborne longer than other residuals, and more easily penetrates the soft tissues (and even bloodstream). That fly-ash also contains radioactive isotopes, which are probably responsible for many of the cancers. It's not just nasty, it's deadly, and the civil court system in Tennessee is allowing even more of these folks to die because of the "phases" they have to go through to get relief:

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