The Use of Coal as an Energy Source in the United States Essay

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Energy from Coal: The Nation’s Dirty Secret

Abstract
While technology has led the world into such an advanced setting with intelligent machinery and automated devices, coal has remained a loyal contributor of the energy needed by these various types of equipment to function properly. Almost half of the electricity in the United States is produced in coal plants where coal is burnt to produce this energy [1]. Both beneficial and detrimental factors come with this alternative source of energy, known by the world for centuries.
Background Information
Even with the quantity of fossil fuels dwindling due to human consumption, coal has remained one of the cheapest, reliable sources of electricity, natural gas, diesel fuel, and steel
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But there are also many detrimental factors as well, since the production of coal results in air pollution, sulfur dioxide emission, carbon dioxide emission, acid rain, and hazardous waste [4]. These environmental problems are due to both the mining of coal and coal production plants. Many issues arise with the mining of coal. Firstly, the safety of miners is put at risk as they descend hundreds of feet below the surface of the Earth. After many years in this field of work, many miners develop black lung because of inhaling the coal extensively. Secondly, the extraction of coal is very costly due to the machinery needed along with the transportation of the coal after it has been mined to the various factories that are able to extract the sulfur impurities in coal and burn the coal for energy [5]. New methods have been developed to help with some of the issues relating to coal production. To rid the surrounding environment of toxic pollution, emission-scrubbing

technology has been installed into coal plants. This is approximately 90% to 95% affective in eliminating the mercury, sulfur, and nitrogen emissions [6]. As for the deep mining issues, there is another method to retrieve coal from the Earth, removing the entire mountain-tops covering a reserve of coal beneath. Although this
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