Sunday, January 14, 2007

Poetic coal coverage

While Oregon is making strides toward a renewable portfolio standard and receiving much media attention for its new focus on sustainable industries, let's not lose sight of the fact that 40 percent of our power still comes from burning coal and the region's six major utilities have plans to add over 10,000 MW of coal-fired power to the region in the next decade.
The social and environmental impacts of fossil fuels -- from the mining to the burning -- are still an important story and finding new ways to cover it can give insight to the consequences of our policy decisions. A Dan Barry column in the Times today on mining town Logan, W. Va. is an excellent example of this kind of coverage.

A way of life seen through coal tinted glasses

"That daily reminder of coal’s dominion courses again through this small town of a city, stopping traffic, giving pause. It is a coal train, maybe 90 open cars long, creaking and groaning and coating the old brick buildings hard against the tracks with a fine, black dust.
And as a cold dusk settles like more dust on Logan’s tired streets, Chuck Gunnoe sits in an unheated launderette and explains how coal runs through veins beyond those in the surrounding hills. He is a coal miner seeking work, and he yearns to have his boots muddied, his face blackened — to be swallowed again by the Appalachian earth..."

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