Day: June 10, 2008

King Coal Country Debates a Sacrilege, Gas Heat

Hidden in the beginning of an article on a county heavily dependent on coal contemplating a switch to natural gas heating…

“Heritage should account for something,” said James J. Rhoades, a Republican state senator from Schuylkill County.

King Coal Country Debates a Sacrilege, Gas Heat –

Of course, this argument can be made to defend any practice including child marriage, the caste system, widow burning, slavery, genocide (the list goes on…). Coal is in august company.

Some of the issues with anthracite:

But what makes this brittle and lustrous rock, often known as black diamond, so hard and pure is that it is often deeper and under greater pressure than other forms of coal, which also explains why it is expensive and dangerous to extract.

The anthracite mines in this area have seen more than 30,000 deaths since 1870.

The argument about local jobs being lost and local economies being damaged is a valid one and needs to be addressed. In theory, destructive practices cannot be continued in order to prop up local economies. But decisions are made locally and it takes a lot of political courage to shutdown a destructive economy and possibly doom a town to fast death. I guess the solution is to provide alternative modes of economy and employment growth during the transition, easier said than done. Problem with being a one horse town, you better hope your horse stays forever young!

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