INSTITUTE INDEX: Promoting the myth of 'sustainable coal'

A mountaintop removal mining site in Central Appalachia. (Photo by Vivian Stockman of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition during a flyover by SouthWings.)

Month in which a group of prominent Democrats formed the CoalBlue Project to promote the idea of "sustainable coal": 7/2013

Number of weeks after President Obama laid out a detailed plan to address climate change, including steps to curb coal plant pollution, that the group announced its formation: 4

Lobbying income received so far this year by the firm of CoalBlue's president, Jon Wood, from Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources, one of the nation's largest coal producers: $20,000

Month in which members of the Jarrell family of Boone County, W.Va. sued Alpha Natural Resources for desecrating their ancestral cemetery with mountaintop removal mining operations: 8/2013

Number of CoalBlue's funders disclosed by its secretary, a director at a government relations firm whose lobbying clients include North Carolina's Duke Energy, in response to a request from Huffington Post reporter Kate Sheppard: 0

Number of asthma attacks each year related to pollution from Duke Energy's coal-fired power plants: more than 15,000

Number of premature deaths every year linked to air pollution from Duke's plants, many of which burn coal mined through mountaintop removal, a particularly destructive form of surface mining: nearly 1,000

According to a new study by researchers at North Carolina's Duke University, square miles of Appalachian mountains that would have to be converted into surface coal mines in order to produce a one-year supply of coal for the United States: 310

Miles of Appalachian streams that would pollute: over 1,400

Total coal production, in tons, in Central Appalachia between 1985 and 2005: 1.93 billion

Square miles of land that were mined in the process: over 770

Years' worth of current U.S. coal demand that amount of coal could meet: 2

Month by which West Virginia-based National Coal is scheduled to halt its surface mining activities in Tennessee as part of a court settlement with environmental groups who sued the company over illegal pollution discharges: 9/2013

Deadline by which the Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to complete new rules to curb emissions from new coal-fired power plants, which the industry says would effectively halt construction: 9/20/2013

Percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that come from electricity generation, mostly from coal plants: 33

Date on which the Chinese government announced an ambitious plan to curb coal plant emissions, saying the country's air pollution situation is "grim" and is "harming people's health and affecting social harmony and stability": 9/12/2013

(Click on figure to go to source.)