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

The invasive air potato vine has met its match with the introduction of the air potato leaf beetle. This beetle could control the aggressive plant.

Air Potato Beetle Becomes Big Help To Florida Farmers

With the controlled release of the air potato leaf beetle in Florida and around the U.S., the aggressive air potato vine finally has a predator.


Attendance at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park increased by more than 100,000 visitors in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

US Forest Service Proposes Requirements for Photography in Wilderness Areas

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a rule that would require media to get a permit before filming or photographing in wilderness areas, or else face a fine. The proposed rule has been met with opposition on the grounds that it violates First Amendment rights.


Water-Saving Technologies And Conservation Goals Cut Confusion

According to a recent survey, most people are confused about water conservation. Small efforts add up, but awareness of water consumption is most important, according to GRU.


Only a few areas of the Alachua Sink have open-water surfaces. Rangers believe the cooler, dryer weather typical of Florida winters will kill off some of the vegetation growing on the surface.

Paynes Prairie Trail Undergoes Reclamation Project

Construction on the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park began Monday as part of an effort to re-establish the area of Paynes Prairie as a wetland ecosystem.


Florida-Friendly Landscaping Saves Water And Fertilizer

According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Public Issues Education (PIE) website, many Floridians are willing to do their part in conserving water.


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