Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Part II: Air Pollution Victims

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) called air pollution victims “unidentified and imaginary” (Browning).  In reality, air pollution victims are quite real. Coal combustion in the nation releases approximately 48 tons of mercury each year.  Mercury is a neurotoxin causing mental retardation and lost productivity (in terms of IQ decline).  According to Trasande et. al, direct costs [...]

Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Series Part I: Overview

Environmental policies are systemically intertwined with science, politics, economics and history.  Effective environmental policies improve public health, environmental justice concerns and take flora and fauna into consideration.  Beyond law and regulation, there is a feedback loop between environmental policy and environmental advocacy.  Advocates may push for new legislation or new legislation may empower advocates.  In [...]

Effects of Mountaintop Removal on Appalachian Wildlife

Changes to the water, air and land in coal country have caused trouble for vast amounts of biodiversity in the region.  The biodiversity of the Appalachian headwater streams is second only to the tropics.  The southern Appalachian mountains are home to the greatest diversity of salamanders on the globe, accounting for 18% of the known [...]

Mountaintop Removal in Appalachia

The Appalachian region of the United States, extending from southern New York to northern Mississippi, is home to more than 25 million people in 420 counties across 13 states.  The majority of the Appalachian population is poor whites dispersed over large rural areas.  The Appalachian economy is extremely reliant on mountaintop removal (MTR) mining, despite [...]