WUFT News

Officials Ensure Energy Prices Will Not Rise With New Coal Ban

By on April 22nd, 2014
Mountaintop removal site in Pickering Knob, West Virginia

iLoveMountains.org

Mountaintop removal site in Pickering Knob, West Virginia

Gainesville’s lack of mountains isn’t stopping it from trying to save them.

Last Thursday, the city commission approved a ban on Gainesville Regional Utilities purchasing coal removed from mountaintops, a traditional practice for the energy company.

City Commissioner Lauren Poe and organization Gainesville Loves Mountains collaborated to pass two motions throughout the meeting, both banning the previously used practice and also leading GRU in the direction of more efficient ways for deep-mined coal.

Mountaintop removal (MTR) is surface-mined coal by removing the tops of ridges by use of explosives and heavy machinery.

This practice is used because of its cost efficiency and high output of coal.

Although the ban hasn’t been implemented yet, it might increase residents’ utility rates by as much as five percent, according to Poe.

But Jason Fults, co-founder of Gainesville Loves Mountains, said his organization won’t let the rates climb drastically.

“The goal is to move away from these destructive practices without significantly impacting anyone’s utility rates,” he said.

Commissioner Poe has promised an escape clause, which would allow the policy to be temporarily suspended if it has a significant impact on rates of five percent or more, Fults said.

“There’s a high likelihood that most, if not all, purchased coal will come in at the same price,” Poe said. “We want the impact on the customer to be zero dollars.”

But some argue that cost isn’t the only factor to consider.

“It’s not a simple question of price,” said Gainesville activist Jeremiah Tattersall. “We need to think about the destruction of the environment and the neighboring communities and so much more.”

While the price to use heavy explosives in this area is cheaper than other coal removal processes, the detrimental effect on human health is huge.

A 2009 study showed significantly higher mortality rates due to kidney, respiratory and heart disease in Appalachian counties that engage in high levels of coal mining.

Exposure to toxins associated with MTR has made these areas a vulnerable community.

“This practice has had tremendous impacts on people’s lives, most importantly depriving them of clean drinking water,”Fults said.

The delivery infrastructure for deep-mined coal is already in place, and it will to have no additional costs for residents.


This entry was posted in Environment, Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Citrus Greening

Saving Florida Orange Juice: The Search For A Cure For Citrus Greening – The Greening Series, Part 3

Nutrient supplements, root stock additives, genetic modification, heat therapies and a bacterial killer are just a few of the proposed solutions to what has been called the worst disease in history to hit Florida orange groves. Citrus greening, a bacterial [...]


Citrus  Greening

How A Fourth Generation Citrus Farmer Fights To Save His Grove – The Greening Series, Part 2

Steve Futch, UF IFAS Extension agent, and family farmer, Mac Turner, right, tour the new orange tree plantings on Turner’s family farm in Arcadia, Fla. in April 2014. (Heather van Blokland/WUFT) Citrus farmer Mac Turner is fighting to keep his [...]


The Orange Bird is a cartoon character mascot created in 1970 by Disney for the Florida Citrus Commission.   A likeness of the famous icon now hangs in the hallway of Florida Citrus Mutual CEO Mike Sparks.

Why The Orange Is So Important to Florida – The Greening Series, Part 1

In our first of a three-part series on citrus greening, WUFT’s Heather van Blokland takes us through a bit of history on Florida’s connection to the orange


VIDEO: Horse Protection Association Of Florida

Because of flooding on 150 acres of Micanopy land, the Horse Protection Association of Florida is in need of dry land for its rescues. A suitable area was found for 23 of the horses, but HPAF’s Morgan Silver worries about organizing the funds to continue paying rent.


Horse

Small-Scale Horse Operations Guide to Protect Florida Water

The Florida Department of Education released a manual for small-scale horse operation best management practices in order to help preserve the state’s water resources.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments