March 29, 2011

More Coal from the Powder River Basin

 From Wild Earth Guardians:
Although the American West holds enough renewable energy potential to fully power the entire United States, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar today announced at a press conference that he intends open the door for 2.35 billion tons of new coal mining in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.
When burned, the coal threatens to release more than 3.9 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, equal to the annual emissions from 300 coal-fired power plants, further cementing the United States as a leading contributor to climate disruption. Furthermore, coal’s pollution is dangerous to public health and contributes to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States.

“We can’t achieve a clean energy future by mining 2.35 billion tons of coal,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “Rather than look ahead to our energy future, Secretary Salazar seems content to keep looking in the rearview mirror, keeping this country dangerously dependent on dirty energy.”

Salazar’s announcement is a stark contrast to his call for clean energy. Interior, for example, touted that in 2010, 4,000 megawatts of renewable energy development were authorized. And in today’s press conference, Secretary Salazar announced Interior’s intent to authorize more than 12,000 megawatts of renewable energy by the end of next year.

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