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Last Build Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2018 21:15:36 +0000

 



Comment on What politicians could say when coal miners die by Rob

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 21:15:36 +0000

You're so right, Ken! It's just like all the "hearts and prayers" comments you hear from so many when mass tragedies occur. Politicians most likely have a STATEMENTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS drawer they instruct their staff to go to and pick the appropriate statement and plug in the date, names and incident. Truth is they probably couldn't care less and feel put upon to have to say anything at all. When the next mine disaster happens, and there will be a next one, I'm predicting the stock line we'll hear AGAIN is the "we have to do whatever it takes to insure this never happens again." Etc.,etc.



Comment on Coal mining deaths continue by Ken Ward Jr.

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 15:05:23 +0000

Mrs. Rosser -- I'm very sorry for your loss. The information we published came from the state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. MSHA has published a brief "preliminary report" which is available online: https://arlweb.msha.gov/fatals/coal/2017/preliminaries/prelim7-coal-2017.pdf Did no one from MSHA provide that to you? Again, I am very sorry for your loss. Ken.



Comment on Coal mining deaths continue by Shelly Rosser

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 00:25:11 +0000

How do you know the details of the miner killed on May 18? It seems very odd that you have this information before his family has heard of what exactly happened. The report has not been made public as of yet. How do I know? I am the wife



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by jpd11

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 03:38:31 +0000

Thanks Lew. Interesting stuff nevertheless. DOT folks do admit they apply way too much salt during snow events, but safety matters and I guess they err on the side of caution. Nothing like rubbing more salts into the wounds of our already damaged freshwater resources. Need to strike a balance somehow (and somewhere).



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by Lew Baker

Mon, 31 Jul 2017 00:59:16 +0000

jpd11, I made a typo in my back of the envelope math. I meant to say valley fills may leach 5 tons per acre per year, but typed 1 ton per acre per day. I did type correctly my estimate for the total loading in WV of 250,000 tons of TDS per year. Using your estimate of valley fill acreage I get 315,000 tons per year or so. We use about 20,000,000 tons of road salt in a year in the USA. To learn more about what all that salt may be doing, please Google "impacts from road salt" and you'll see no shortage of links to sites that describe the damages to aquatic life, infrastructure, human health, vehicles, etc , etc. While valley fills certainly can harm downstream aquatic life, road salt does more damage in more watersheds. Road salt also does more damage in other ways as well. One of the ways salts can be harmful is corrosion of our plumbing, which can leach lead and thereby expose us humans to lead in our drinking water. Google "chloride to sulfate ratio" and you'll find links to studies that show chloride ions make water more corrosive, but sulfate ions tend to lessen corrosion of lead from plumbing. Although valley fills leach mostly sulfate ions, which may be harmful in high concentrations to downstream aquatic life, the increased sulfate loading may actually somewhat ameliorate chlorides downstream, as far as impacts to public water supplies. We humans have made many changes to our environment, some of which we understand. It can be tempting to climb on a soapbox to alert everyone to the problems we are just beginning to understand. Been there done that. I encourage you to keep on learning.



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by jpd11

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 21:51:37 +0000

I found this link stating around 63,000 acres of valley fills (some are coal refuse fills) in 27 counties as of 2010. I'm not sure how accurate it is now. But if you didn't want to calculate total salt loads on an individual watershed scale, you'd need to use the miles of 2 lane roads in just those counties to make your comparison on that assumptive basis. Or, in the context of the research article posted, do it for just the Mud River in Boone and Lincoln Counties and see what you come up with. http://energystateofwv.weebly.com/valley-fills.html



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by jpd11

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 19:41:13 +0000

Lew, your back of envelope calculations may be accurate, but it doesn't explain the lopsided salt stress impacts from mines reported from the literature or within DEP's own monitoring data. DEP has thousands of samples of conductivity and ions from around the state that show major differences in elevated sulfate versus chloride. And your calculation is based on the entire state which isn't appropriate for aquatic life in individual streams or watersheds, which is key. It's the density/size of fills per watershed versus road density (per watershed) that is missing from your math. Even in densely populated and road dense watersheds, road salting doesn't rise to the level of salt based toxicity as in mining areas. The bugs in the streams are proof of that. And I think we are missing the point of the study's conclusions that streams draining coal waste hollow fills flow salty 80% of the time. So maybe we should be considering magnitude and duration of the salt concentrations, not the loading. As a practical matter, winter road salts are heavily diluted and thus salt concentrations are diminished with higher flows from the snow melt and frequent winter rains while hollow fills leach higher concentrations of salts through summer months when dilution is at its lowest. So I think your calculations need to be done on a watershed area level, and compared seasonally. Then there's the socioeconomic aspect of treating roads in winter as an economic and human safety factor (commerce, insurance claims, injury or death), versus the economic impact of electricity derived from mountaintop strip mining. Care do take a stab at that math? Me either, but certainly food for thought.



Comment on Trump dumps and delays key coal-mine safety rules by charlie

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:45:25 +0000

It's just so sad! Trump does not care about Miners safety!



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by Steve

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:20:09 +0000

Paul, I had a friend who helped in the construction of a very expensive selenium removal plant in Virginia several years ago. He was telling me how much water they could treat in a day, and then with a smile on his face he told began to tell me what they had planned for the by-product from the treated water. The state was going to treat the roads with it in the winter.



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by Lew Baker

Sun, 23 Jul 2017 19:34:09 +0000

Paul, from what estimates I can come up with, road salt and valley fills in WV contribute similar loadings of salinity to our waters each year. We have about 40,000 2-lane miles of roads, and salt them with about 1 ton per 2-lane mile during each winter storm. We have about 50,000 acres of valley fills, which leach about 1 ton TDS per acre per year. If we have on average about 6 winter storms where road salt is applied, then this would be about 240,000 tons of salt and about the same as an estimated 250,000 tons of TDS from valley fills. Although WV has about half the valley fills in Appalachia, it certainly has a much smaller percentage of the salted road miles. If you are looking at all of USA, then road salt has added many times more salinity to our nation's streams and affected much more aquatic life than valley fills. Both of these sources of salinity are significant, and are the primary issue in certain subwatersheds. But in the main, road salt is a bigger problem.



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by Paul Donahue

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 20:09:13 +0000

Steve, Unless you can provide research supporting your claim, then you are engaging in pure conjecture. It seems to me that in the Appalachians the area of roads and volume of salt relative to the surface area of a river watershed is probably insignificant compared to the size of MTR jobs and the salts (not just NaCi like road salt) leached out of the many millions of cubic yards of valley fills at a typical MTR job. Also, bringing up the impacts or road salt merely adds to the impacts of MTR, so I really don't see how bringing up road salt detracts from the validity of Hendryx's findings. It is similar to the common fallacious argument that becasue there are other factors affecting global climate, that human CO2 emissions are not important or dominant in what is determining current day climate change.



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by Lew Baker

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:36:12 +0000

Good points jpd11. However, aquatic life can somewhat become acclimated to changes in salinity that are chronic, more so than acute spikes.



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by jpd11

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 19:41:32 +0000

People do complain about excessive road salting in areas with lots of roads and no coal. But road salt is far less toxic to aquatic life than the common Appalachian mining salt matrix depicted in this study. Road salt leads to short term salinization (winter), but valley fill leachate is chronic and worse at low summer flows, when winter road salt runoff isn't even an issue. Streams flow fresh once winter time road application is over; mining salts are basically forever. That's the key difference.



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by Lew Baker

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 12:29:46 +0000

I agree with Steve. Road salt has raised salinity, and conductivity, in many of our nation's freshwater streams to levels that are unhealthy for the native aquatic life, and more so than mining has. Also, we all know how corrosive road salt can be to our cars, and the concrete and steel of our bridges, etc. Most people don't recognize that the salinity from road salt can also make our drinking water corrosive to our plumbing, releasing lead (as happened in Flint and elsewhere). In addition, sulfate and calcium ions released from mined sites actually reduce the corrosivity of drinking water to our plumbing. So, although some of the changes to water quality from mining are harmful in some ways, those same changes can be beneficial in other ways, and in some ways mining's impacts are less than from other activities, like salting our roads.



Comment on Another study confirms mountaintop removal’s impacts on Appalachian water quality by Steve

Sun, 16 Jul 2017 12:14:58 +0000

The key phrases here are "over time" and "are likely to". The very same could probably be said about the millions of tons of road salt that are scattered on the highways and roads of the U.S. each winter and end up washing into the waterways, creeks and rivers. It doesn't have to leach, it runs straight in. Yet no one complains about all that or really even gives it much if any thought.



Comment on More alarms on devastating resurgence of black lung disease, but where’s the political outrage? by Ted Latusek

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 13:59:27 +0000

After 23 years of fighting for my Black Lung Benifits, I am have become more discouraged about the future of the Federal Black Lung program then ever before due to the reduced work force and law makers insensitivity to this terrible disease to look at the scientific evidence of the many different kinds of diseases that cause coal miners to suffer to breathe! Law Firms become rich while Coal Companies reap profits and miners die! Does anyone care anymore!!!



Comment on Don’t get too excited about ‘positive’ coal news by Lew Baker

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 22:57:42 +0000

I like looking at graph's. They can tell so much. The graph you include from EIA shows historical and projected coal production. Production took a step down in 2009, due to the great recession. It didn't recover however as cheap natural gas from fracking began to eat into coal used for electric power. Coal production took more steps downward in 2012 and 2105 and 2016, when mild winter weather greatly reduced natural gas use for heating of homes, which made gas even cheaper and again undercut the use of coal in making electric power. The graph's projections to 2040 assume no more big changes are coming. But if more years with mild winters and cheap gas happen, then more downward steps in coal production could occur. Also, EIA has been criticized during the past decade for failing to fully project future impacts of wind and solar on coal production. These two sources now make up about 10% of US electric power, cutting into coal's use, and they are growing much faster than natural gas is. Solar is especially growing fast. Although it now only makes up about 2.5% of our electric power, it has doubled 7 times in the past decade (according to EIA's own numbers). When solar doubles 4 more times it will be at 40% of our power, displacing coal and some of gas as well. How long until it doubles 4 more times, and coal's use for electricity is decimated? If the past is any guide, then coal's complete demise is probably coming much sooner than 2040.



Comment on President Trump, climate change and the coalfields by Ken Ward Jr.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 13:50:21 +0000

Let's all please be aware of and comply with this blog's comment section rules, in particular: "Please provide links and citations to published material to back up your views, when appropriate." http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/coaltattoo/comment-policy/ I appreciate the back and forth here, but in the future, please comply with this rule and provide links that show where the "facts" come from that support your argument. Ken.



Comment on President Trump, climate change and the coalfields by creekviewcamp

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 12:51:20 +0000

Ken, I agree with Lew. Why would you remove civil discussion on topic?



Comment on President Trump, climate change and the coalfields by Lew Baker

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:57:08 +0000

Ken, I made a number of posts to this page, which moved the discussion forward, or so I thought. They were recently pulled. Were they somehow offensive? If so, please let me know who was offended, and how.