There is No Clean Coal

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There's No Such Thing as Clean Coal
by Mickey Z.
Going old school or "retroprogressive" can be a positive green trend. Harking back to the days of black lung disease, well...that's another story. In a recent article at Counterpunch, journalist David Macaray wrote:

"Black lung disease is the common name for coal worker's pneumoconiosis. Caused by the prolonged inhalation of coal dust, pneumoconiosis can lead to other serious related ailments, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, fibrosis and tuberculosis. The disease cannot be cured or reversed, and death by black lung is horrible and excruciating. As the lung tissue continues to harden, the sufferer experiences shortness of breath and pain. Dying of black lung is death by gradual suffocation."
 

   
[For complete article reference links, please see source at Planet Green here.]


Why would Macaray be writing this on a website dedicated to radical political analysis? Here's why: Despite the better working conditions, wages, and benefits made possible by unions, less than one-fourth of America's coal miners belong to the United Mine Workers (UMW) makes no sense. Of the 86,800 coal miners in the US, fewer than 20,000 belong to the OMW.

"They're afraid," Phil Smith, Communications Director of the UMW, told Macaray, who further explains, "The mine owners have become so powerful and well coordinated, they practically dictate the industry's terms of employment. They do this through fear and intimidation. Miners who attempt to organize their fellow workers, or who express a casual interest in joining the UMW, are routinely fired and black-balled. In a tightly-knit industry like mining, when you get your name put on a list of 'union activists,' you risk never working again."

Not surprisingly, NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), has reported in a startling 5% increase in black lung cases from the late 1990s. "In the last decade alone," adds Macaray, "10,000 miners have died from black lung, compared with fewer than 400 from mine accidents."
 
 

Meanwhile, we're being inundated with "clean coal" hype.  
 
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