Coal’s hidden costs top $345 billion in U.S.

Posted by Trish Riley, February 18, 2011

BOSTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – The United States’ reliance on coal to generate almost half of its electricity, costs the economy about $345 billion a year in hidden expenses not borne by miners or utilities, including health problems in mining communities and pollution around power plants, a study found.

Those costs would effectively triple the price of electricity produced by coal-fired plants, which are prevalent in part due to the their low cost of operation, the study led by a Harvard University researcher found.

“This is not borne by the coal industry, this is borne by us, in our taxes,” said Paul Epstein, a Harvard Medical School instructor and the associate director of its Center for Health and the Global Environment, the study’s lead author.

via http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/16/usa-coal-study-idUSN169888020110216

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