Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future

Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future

by Jeff Goodell


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Long dismissed as a relic of a bygone era, coal is back -- with a vengence. Coal is one of the nation's biggest and most influential industries -- Big Coal provides more than half the electricity consumed by Americans today -- and its dominance is growing, driven by rising oil prices and calls for energy independence. Is coal the solution to America's energy problems?

On close examination, the glowing promise of coal quickly turns to ash. Coal mining remains a deadly and environmentally destructive industry. Nearly forty percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year comes from coal-fired power plants. In the last two decades, air pollution from coal plants has killed more than half a million Americans. In this eye-opening call to action, Goodell explains the costs and consequences of America's addiction to coal and discusses how we can kick the habit.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618872244
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 04/01/2007
Pages: 354
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

JEFF GOODELL is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith. Goodell’s memoir, Sunnyvale: The Rise and Fall of a Silicon Valley Family, was a New York Times Notable Book.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

I THE DIG 1. The Saudi Arabia of Coal 3 2. Coal Colonies 21 3. Dogholes 48 4. The Carbon Express 74

II THE BURN 5. Infinite Needs 97 6. The Big Dirty 119 7. “A Citizen Wherever We Serve” 147

III THE HEAT 8. Reversal of Fortune 173 9. The Coal Rush 202 10. The Frontier 226

Epilogue: An Empire of Denial 249 Acknowledgments 259 Notes 263 Index 297

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