An original cabinet photograph of a hard and brutal life. Circa 1915 or so, location unidentified, of a group of coal miners and their four-legged helpers. Life is hard now, but it was worse back then.
"Clean" coal is, of course, a massive misnomer. They can make "cleaner" coal burn better, but anything which puts the chemicals achieved through transforming combustion into the air is bad for our breathing. As one living with asthma, It is personal. If you have children with asthma, it is personal for you too.
Not that the nuclear alternative is much better. I live an hour's drive from unarguably one of the worst and least safe Nuclear Reactors in the world. The Palisades. The plant has been generating "safely, reliably and cost-effectively since December 31, 1971" according to their WEBSITE. but it is pretty easy to dispute that.
Fred Upton (Republican, Michigan's 6th District) is reportedly "outraged" by the latest spill of radioactive material into Lake Michigan from the plant, just one of a whole bunch of problems down there. They had five shutdowns in 2012 alone. There are only four plants with as bad a safety record in the country. Whether the congressman is outraged enough to return the $24,600 the owners of the plant Entergy donated to his recent campaign has not been reported.
Generating power which allows us the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed is fraught with unhealthy risk and involves hard decisions. 700 people work at that plant, and Upton knows it. He has to think of them and he has to represent his electorate.
We can ignore the problems associated with our energy choices, but we'll end up paying for it later, that you can be sure of.
Original cabinet photograph, undated (circa 1915) collection Jim Linderman