What The Fuck, America?


Trump's simplifying in an incredibly stupid way, but they really do "wash" coal, a process of stripping out all kinds of heavy metals and whatnot which you don't want in your air when you burn the coal. This process leaves behind something called, poetically enough, blackwater, which is thickened and poured into massive pools where it...sits. Presumably forever, except when it, um, doesn't.

So in that way "clean" coal isn't really clean; it simply moves the pollution elsewhere. I guess it's an improvement, especially if you can make sure only poor people live in the immediate vicinity. See also: West Virginia.

In theory these kinds of accidents are avoided because lawsuits and clean-up costs dissuade corporations from letting safety checks slide; in practical terms, however, companies can always spin off a subsidiary, sell it, and let it go bankupt, thus avoiding responsibility. (I haven't seen this happen with a coal mining company but read up on Pompton Lakes, New Jersey to see DuPont, one of the wealthiest corporations in the history of ever, play this game.)

November 2016
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