Coal Industry Essay

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Coal Industries
Coal-fired power plants are the leading contributors to the crisis of water pollution. The coal industry has dumped more toxins into the waters across the country than the other top nine industries combined (Closing the Floodgates 2013). A total of 5.5 billion pounds of water pollution have been released into the water by coal power plants each year. Millions of gallons per day of water laced with arsenic, mercury, selenium, and lead are dumped into rivers, streams, and lakes across the United States. These contaminated waters are directly exposed to unharmed waters through leaky ponds, which are used by many coal plants to store toxic slurries of coal ash and smokestack scrubber sludge (Closing the Floodgates 2013). Eventually,
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Over 180 million tons of waste has been dumped into oceans, rivers, and lakes each year from different mining companies in the country (Sampat 2012). Specifically, acid mine drainage is dumped from mining industries. Acid mine drainage affects several thousand stream kilometers around the world by contributing high loads of acidity, metals and other toxic chemicals (Smucker et al. 2011). The United States put limitations on the amount of dumping allowed per industry in lakes; however, in 2009, the U.S Supreme Court allowed Coeur D’Alene Mines to dump almost 7 million tons of tailings from the Kensington Gold Mine in Alaska into Lower Slate Lake causing mass destruction of all plant and animal life. Mining companies, such as hard rock mining companies, are dominant contributors to water pollution that will ultimately last for years on end because of the impossible need of treatment of the chemical compounds. There are 40 US mines that contribute to the increasing amount of water pollution. Studies on water pollution due to mining companies have estimated these 40 hard rock mining companies will generate 17 to 27 billion gallons of polluted water each year in the United States, every year, in perpetuity (Adel 2013). Materials present in acid mine drainage, such as pyritic materials, are exposed to O2, water, and microbial processes, which lead to low pH that causes metals in coal deposits to last long periods of time (Smucker et al.

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