U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar just announced that vast coal reserves on federal land in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming will be put up for auction over the next five months. This will lead to approximately 758 tons of coal being excavated.
With the abundance of alternative energy sources available, and the Obama administration's stated commitment to move the country toward a cleaner energy future, this announcement has many among us scratching our heads. Coal accounts for around 14% of all American CO2 emissions and causes all sorts of human health concerns due to air pollution. So why are we preparing to start mining a lot more of it over the next ten to twenty years?
Finding a balance in where we source our energy from that is both sustainable and pragmatic is clearly a difficult task, but opening massive new mines for coal extraction does not seem to be a step in the right direction. Much of the money will go to the state of Wyoming, and also to the federal government and the companies that mine the substance. Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians response to the matter; "We'll be challenging Salazar's call for more dirty energy. It's the last thing this country needs or can afford." Amen.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons (via Inhabitat)