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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Electric cars... At what price?

When I hear people talking about clean running electric cars I tremble if fear for the mountains where I live. The recent, or should I say the most recent disaster was in the Gulf of Mexico and caused the world to look first, then question the need for such dangerous extraction of oil. The knee jerk reaction of most people was "we need to switch to electric cars". Deep water drilling is, without a doubt dangerous but highly productive so it has been somewhat ignored because we Americans must have at least a car apiece.

I have been following and reporting on the Gulf Crisis since it started and have listened to the cries of the people. I have tried to stay in the middle and just report but I can no longer sit still without explaining where your electricity comes from to charge these oil saving electric cars.

Seen below here is a photograph that covered an area so large I had to shoot 11 separate photos to get it all  in then stitch them together to show the expanse of an Alabama coal mine.

On the left is the Black Warrior River where it is about 1/4 mile wide. That tiny speck in the very right side in the river is a tug boat with at least 8, 35X195 foot coal barges.

Following the horizon to the right you come to the  loader sticking up painted white. Those are huge conveyor belts that run miles underground where the coal is extracted.

Behind that is a large scale power substation needed to power this behemoth.

Follow around to the right some more and you come to a black looking mountain. Much taller than the tree line next to it. That is not a mountain or even coal for sale. That is the waste pile called GOB. (Geological Over Burden). That is the shale and dirtiest of the impurities taken out of the coal. Many such piles exist like this one around Alabama, and in fact all of coal country.

Follow it on around and you come to a new pit for more waste. All together, this photo covers about 3 miles of Alabama horizon. All of what you see here has been undermined, even the river!

My brothers and sister, please be careful of what you pray for.
Photo by JLW, click to enlarge

Electric cars... Yes, if they are SOLAR powered electric cars.
Remember, it takes mountains of coal to make electricity!

John L. Wathen,
Chairman, Citizens Coal Council

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