Thursday, February 24, 2011

Property Values & Coal don't mix

Did you know a local bank has denied home loans within a mile of the proposed coal mines?

Banks take the hit when people walk away from their loans when the property values plunge below the amount they owe on loans.

Athabascan Tribe Voices Concern Over Coal Mine, APRN Radio, Talk of Alaska, 2/24/11

By Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
"The Chickaloon tribe is taking its concern over a proposed mine in the Mat Su Valley to an international audience. The Athabascan community near Palmer is opposed to a coal mine project being developed by the Usibelli Company that would access coal at a site called Wishbone Hill. The tribe filed a document presenting their concerns to the United Nations Independent Expert on water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, a Portuguese human rights expert appointed by the U.N Human Rights Council who will be taking testimony in the U.S and meeting with State department officials. This is her first trip to the United States. The Wishbone Hill issue is a test case in Alaska to see how the U. N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples might be used to intervene in development projects. President Obama declared U.S. support for the document in December.
The tribe claims the area of development is where they have traditionally hunted and fished, especially for potlatches and other important gatherings and ceremonies.
Harrison will be testifying in California to the U.N.’s de Albuquerque about the tribe’s fear that the coal mine will pollute Moose creek, a waterway the tribe has spent more than a million dollars successfully restoring as a salmon spawning creek. Harrison says bringing their case to an international audience should help pressure the U.S. to uphold the U.N. Declaration.
Harrison says he is hopeful that new DNR commissioner Dan Sullivan will come to Chickaloon and listen to the tribe’s complaint with the coal mining project. But he’s concerned about what he perceives as a problem with the state’s mandate of developing resources while keeping the environment clean.
During a recent broadcast of the statewide call in program Talk of Alaska, Commissioner Sullivan addressed this issue of a perceived dual mandate as he responded to callers from Chickaloon and Palmer who were concerned about the prospect of the Wishbone Hill coal development plan. One caller said her son’s school is within site of the project and she worries about the possibility of coal dust blowing into the school yard on windy days. Sullivan said resource development is critical for the future of the state.
Sullivan said when he testifies to the state legislature, he often starts by quoting article 8 Section 1 of the state constitution that reads in part that the state encourages development of resources for maximum use consistent with the public interest. He said it’s a broad statement but clearly one that was important to the delegates who wrote the constitution.

Commissioner Sullivan will be meeting with the Chickaloon tribal council on March 14th to hear their concerns. Another meeting is also scheduled for Sutton."

New report, agencies differ on environmental, health impacts of coal ash in Fairbanks, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 2/24/11

Please comment and see the comments by OldOwl & Wildsalmon.

Did you know Rep Don Young's H.R. 517 would entirely repeal the EPA's veto authority under the Clean Water Act.

Radioactive Coal & Coal Ash:

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste
By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiati

Coal Ash: Radiation Protection

Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash:
Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance

Some Amazing Facts about Nuclear Power

Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger

Radioactive Coal Article #137

The levels of the contaminates in coal have been measured by the University of Alaska as well as the USGS. The trace toxins are measured/reported in the part per million (PPM).

Uranium is found within Healy coal at about 1.6 PPM, along with its radioactive isotope that occurs at a fractional percentage. Lead is around 9.00 PPM, and mercury is around .02 to .05 PPM. The concentrations vary with the samples taken.

Coal Databases

Although the concentrations of these toxins are small, the quantity of the coal burned is large, and as a result these small concentrations add up quickly. For example, literally, pounds of the radioactive isotope of uranium have been dumped on to Fairbanks over the decades. High radiation levels have been measured near the power plants. How many cancers this has caused is of great concern. The toxic properties of the other toxins like lead and mercury are well known. How many pregnant women have delivered brain damaged kids from their exposure to mercury that is methylated in the environment? How many kids have had their IQs lowered by their exposure to lead that has been measured in the Fairbanks soils?

When the true costs of burning coal are measured (human deaths, injuries, cancers, etc) coal is THE MOST EXPENSIVE fuel by far. Coal lobbyists don't want you to know this.

See the Harvard Report: Coal costs US taxpayers over $500 billion US per year!

I copied the above comment from an earlier post to an editorial by Steve Denton of Usibelli Coal MIne. Strange that the link to the USGS no longer works... Also, strange how Ms. Carter, PR person at Usibelli has written threatening letters trying to get people fired at USGS, UA colleges, and Doctors who have spoken out about the detrimental impacts of coal on PEOPLE. It is also strange how the SPILLS database at DEC no longer is up on-line which shows hundreds toxic spills by Usibelli and Hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and citations which they are contesting.

The data base with the coal information on Healy mysteriously no longer contains the ONLY active coal mine in Alaska, Usibelli Coal Mine - in the DENALI BOROUGH! But, you can look up Matanuska coal at: