DaTong coal mining,China

Written at SFSU in 2017.
coal, mining
Datong mining area is located in Datong City, southwest of Datong, coal scale concentrated in this, is the main coal industry. With the continuous development of coal resources, the surrounding environment to varying degrees affected. The coal mining production and coal consumption annually that affects the environment and surrounding community, including air and water pollution.[1]


Coal mining on the rise in China, US, India

As of the end of 2014, China had 62 billion tons of anthracite and 52 billion tons of lignite quality coal. China ranks third in the world in terms of total coal reserves behind the United States and Russia.[2] Most coal reserves are located in the north and north-west of the country, which poses a large logistical problem for supplying electricity to the more heavily populated coastal areas. [3] At current levels of production, China has 30 years worth of reserves.

The miner in DaTong, China.

The miners are at the bottom of Chinese society, and their miserable lives are extremely incompatible with China’s booming economy. [4]When the factories in China’s coastal areas sell their products to the world, when the city people move into high-rise buildings to acquire new cars, the miners are a group of people who work hard in dangerous environments and create value for society and the family.[5]

[6] Coal mine accidents in China decrease as production stagnates
Coal burning pollution.

In cities the domestic burning of coal is no longer permitted. In rural areas coal is still permitted to be used by Chinese households, commonly burned raw in unvented stoves. This fills houses with high levels of toxic metals leading to bad Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). [7]
In addition, people eat food cooked over coal fires which contains toxic substances. Toxic substances from coal burning include arsenic, fluorine, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and mercury. Health issues are caused which include severe arsenic poisoning, skeletal fluorosis (over 10 million people afflicted in China), esophageal and lung cancers, and selenium poisoning.[8]

Video from youTube: Creek in Datong China Pollution Issue

Effects of Coal Mining on Water Environment and Water Resources in Mining Area.

Coal mines are mainly concentrated in the mouth spring ditch, Yungang ditch and its sides. Shilihe, Zhiquan ditch for the main water system, but also mine drainage, industrial wastewater and domestic sewage exports.

1) long-term drainage of coal mines, most of the coal mine has not been fully utilized, resulting in waste of water resources, so that the mine groundwater resources more tense.[1]

2) During the development of coal mines, groundwater penetrates the coal-bearing strata to penetrate into the lower pit, which reduces the amount of water in the upper aquifer and reduces the water level, which causes the water shortage of the local residents.[9]

3) Due to the long-term drainage to form a pit-centered drop funnel, the groundwater level in the mining area is reduced, the amount of well water is reduced, the river runoff is reduced or cut off, thus affecting the normal supply of water downstream of the river.[10]

4) coal mining after mining, underground mined-out area to become water collection space, the formation of mined area water.[1]

Environmental Injustice.

China’s econmic is growing so fast today, city like DaTong have to sacrifice their own city to genrate China’s developing engine, China is developing very fast but Datong’s residents and miners have to facing environmental pollution caused by  coal mining. It is unfair let the Datong’s people bear the pressure of development


Chun Y. Zhang, Water Environment Analysis and Water Resources Protectionof Datong Mining Area in Shanxi Province. Shanxi coking Coal Science & Technology. Received September 2010.


Cohen, Armond (April 21, 2014). “Learning from China: A Blueprint for the Future of Coal in Asia?”The National Bureau of Asian Research. Retrieved August 8, 2014.


“Nuclear Power in China”Country BriefingsWorld Nuclear Association. 31 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-04.


“Asian coal boom: climate threat or mirage?”Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit. Mar 22, 2016. Archived from the original on April 24, 2016.


Tan Z. fu, Chen K. ting, Ju L. wei, Liu P. kuo, Zhang chen. Issues and solutions of China’s generation resource utilization based on sustainable development. Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy. April 2016, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 147–160


China Labour bulletin. Coal mine accidents in China decrease as production stagnates. Supporting the Workers’ Movement in China. 03/04/2014


Environmental Health Perspectives. Household Air Pollution from Coal and Biomass Fuels in China: Measurements, Health Impacts, and Interventions. Received July 3, 2006; Accepted February 27, 2007.


Robert B. Finkelman, Harvey E. Belkin, and Baoshan Zheng. Health impacts of domestic coal use in ChinaProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 March 30; 96(7): 3427–3431.


Gabbard, Alex (5 February 2008). “Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger”. Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-22.


Zhang HJ, Tan ZF, Xu H (2013) Research on generation coal-saving effect of the tiered pricing of residential electricity under different power generation structures. In: Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on automatic control and mechatronic engineering (ICACME’13), Bangkok, Thailand, 21–22 Jun 2013, pp 679–701



Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station

Turkey Point is a nuclear generating station located in Homestead Florida. It was developed in 1973 and is positioned between the Biscayne National Park and the Everglades National Park, and under a half mile directly across is a wildlife refuge for crocodiles and State Botanical sites. TPNGS is one of the only nuclear generating stations left that uses cooling canals as their heat rejection source and these canals are the reason for their pollution, as they are prone to leakage. As you can tell this bay is home to lots of aquatic life, all of which are being threatened not only ecologically but also commercially. Within a 10-mile radius there is a population of about 200,000 people with the majority of the population being Hispanic and of low income. These people have been enduring the harmful effects that have come from TPNGS for more than 4 decades now and have yet to see any change. The only progress the people of Homestead have seen was when TPNGS tried to expand their station a few years back, but luckily these plans of expansion were stopped through criticism of the city and other issues. Since the development of this site, the Biscayne Bay has been accumulating lots of harmful chemicals, which are now reaching the Biscayne Aquifer and threatening to contaminate Florida’s main source of drinking water.

Turkey Point nuclear generating station located in Homestead, Florida. (Acroterion 2012)
Turkey Point Cooling Canals
Cooling Canals of Turkey Point. (ENERGY.GOV 2014)

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Oil Refinery in Peruvian Amazon

By: Jillian Solomon, SFSU, 2017

Iquitos Refinery

14km from Iquitos City, Peru, in the Loreto Region, capital of the Peruvian Amazon [1]. Approximately 437,620 inhabitants and inaccessible by road [2]. The small refinery is situated in a resource rich region, located on the left bank of the Amazon river with a processing capacity of possessing 10,500 barrels per day. Equipped with a rusty four-decade old pipeline to pump fuels from the refinery to different fuel stations across the region [3].

Industrial Processing:
  • crude oil
  • engine gasoline
  • turbo A-1 for airplanes & helicopters
  • B5 diesel
  • industrial oil [4]

    Iquitos, Peru
    Iquitos, Peru

Who owns the refinery?

PETROPERU is a state owned oil firm. The Peruvian government passed a law that allows PETROPERU to have private investors, limited to no more than 49% of its share capital [5]. This allows the state company to attract investors that can finance upgrades to refineries in Peru [6]. PETROPERU has already exceeded its spending almost $3.5 billion on the Talara refinery upgrade, since Congress passed Law No 30130 in 2013 [7]. This declared that “the modernization of the Talara refinery is a priority of national and public interest to preserve the air quality and public health of the country” [8]. Current PETROPERU refineries have a low processing capacity to produce low sulfur fuel needed to meet fuel quality standards [9].

Environmental Emergency

Oil Spills Impact Indigenous Communities

Three oil spills have occurred in 2016 from this pipeline transporting light oil from the Amazonian jungle to the pacific port that PETROPERU was responsible for [10]. In several northern jungle districts the Peruvian jungle has protested its disapproval of the lack of response to the spill, and although the company claimed clean-up , there has yet to be any restoration of the areas effected. Combined, these accidents contaminated approximately 30 kilometers of the Chiriaco river, exposing neighboring communities to toxic waste chemicals such as hydrocarbons and metals [11]. This region is also very diverse putting ecosystems at risk, and biological impacts are hard to access because systems are very complex [12]. Refineries are prone to accidents and in this case it has contaminated water supplies that locals depend on and impacted the health of many indigenous communities [13]. These spills happen frequently and do not easily disappear.

The spills contaminated: The Inayo, Chiriaco and Marañon Amazonian rivers, streams, lakes, lagoons, soils, gardens, game, fish, crops [14].

Indigenous communities affected include: The Achuar, Kichwa, Kukama, Quechua, Urarina, Suashapea, Pakunt, Chiriaco, Nuevo Progreso, Nazareth and Nuevo Horizonte [15].

“PUINAMUDT a collective of indigenous federations in Peru’s northern Amazon, states that there are “true lakes of oil, [river] banks abandoned to crude, clots of oil in the water, black roots and sediments, toxic hydrocarbon emissions, and surface water iridescent with oil. The shadow of irresponsible and unpunished oil operations hangs over the entire area.” [16]

Health problems include:
  • miscarriages
  • skin diseases
  • diarrhea
  • deaths [17]
guardians of jungle
48% of Central American forests are defended by indigenous peoples

Energy Injustice in The Amazon

The resource curse, political scientists and economists argue is a country rich in natural resources such as gas, oil, or minerals with unstable economies [18]. Countries rich in these resources tend to have unique social, political, and economical challenges compared to countries without these resources [19]. Dependence on natural resources gives political clout to extractive companies because the government is not reliant on citizen taxation, and therefore less likely to be held under scrutiny from the public [20].

Resource curse; paradoxically rich in resources yet economically poor.

Natural resources provokes internal conflict between extractive companies and communities, exacerbating social and environmental problems within communities. Extractive projects and oil exploration expand the governments profits, while human rights are not considered. Protestors are criminalized and indigenous peoples requests for land titles are denied [21]. Ecosystems, waters and sacred sites are invaded and destroyed but no one is cleaning up the mess, despite remediation commitments made by the Energy Ministry [22].

“The problem is that petrol companies think they can go to the jungle, act how they like, cover up any spills with mud, and be pretty sure that no one’s ever going to find out what happened – and that no one really cares enough about the people that live there to invest some money and do something about it.” [23]

Who is going to clean it up? When will PETROPERU clean up their mess?

Rios Amazonas


[1] Galarza, S., Malins, C. (2016). Case study: Adoption of low-sulfur fuel standards in Peru. Retrieved from: http://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/Case_study_lowsulfur_fuel_Peru.pdf

[2] World Population Review. (2017). Population of Cities in Peru. Retrieved from: http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/peru-population/cities/

[3] Post, C. (2016). Oil spills contaminate major river in Peru’s Amazon. Peru Reports. Retrieved from: https://perureports.com/2016/02/13/oil-spills-contaminate-major-river-in-perus-amazon/

[4] Post, C. (2016). State firm confirms another oil spill in Peru’s Amazon. Peru Reports. Retrieved from: https://perureports.com/2016/06/26/state-firm-confirms-another-oil-spill-in-perus-amazon/

[5] Galarza, Malins. (2016)

[6] Galarza, Malins. (2016).

[7] Galarza, Malins. (2016).

[8] Galarza, Malins. (2016).

[9] Galarza, Malins. (2016).

[10] Mega, R. E. (2016). Oil Spills Stain Peruvian Jungle. Scientific American. Retrieved from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/oil-spills-stain-peruvian-amazon/

[11] Mega, (2016).

[12] Mega, (2016).

[13] Mega, (2016).

[14] Eleconomista. (2016). Peru declares water quality emergency in oil spill-hit Amazon districts. Retrieved from: http://www.eleconomistaamerica.com/medio-ambiente-eAm/noticias/7361674/02/16/Peru-declares-water-quality-emergency-in-oil-spillhit-Amazon-districts.html

[15] Eleconomista. (2016).

[16] Hill, D. (2016). Look at the oil spilled in the world’s 2nd ‘Best Place for Wildlife’. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2016/jan/14/look-at-the-oil-spilled-in-the-worlds-2nd-best-place-for-wildlife

[17] Hill, D. (2017). $1bn to clean up the oil in Peru’s northern Amazon. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2017/aug/03/us1-billion-oil-perus-amazon

[18] Natural Resource Governance Institute. (2015). The Resource Curse: The Political and Economic Challenges of Natural Resource Wealth. NRGI ReaderRetrieved from: https://resourcegovernance.org/sites/default/files/nrgi_Resource-Curse.pdf

[19] Natural Resource Governance Institute. (2015).

[20] Natural Resource Governance Institute. (2015).

[21] Hill, (2017).

[22] Hill, (2017).

[23] Collyns, D. (2006). Rumble in the jungle. The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2006/nov/22/guardiansocietysupplement.pollution

Tummalapalle Uranium Mine

By: Veronica Wong, SFSU, 2017

The Tummalapalle Mine located in Andhra Pradesh, India is Uranium mine that has caused environmental, health, and economic concerns for the residents of the area. The Tummalapalle Mine is known to be one of the largest Uranium reserves in the world. [1] UCIL (Uranium Corporation of India Ltd) is the group that is heading the project.[2] India’s ultimate goal is to be an energy independent country and Uranium mining is one of the strategies of achieving that goal[3]. Along with the uranium mine, located nearby the mine in Tummalapalle is the Uranium processing plant which also is hazardous. [4]

uranium mining
Hazardous Uranium Mining Site

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Proposed Oil Rigs in Greeley, Colorado

Written at SFSU in 2017.

An oil drilling site has been proposed next to the Bella Romero Academy, a public middle school that is located in Greeley, Colorado. The Colorado Oil & Gas Company has proposed to build the oil rigs only 1,300 ft away from this school.

Welcome to Greeley, Colorado sign (Bbean32, 2014).

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Oil Drilling in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador

Yasuni national park is a extension of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. The national park is known for its diverse ecosystem, which is home to countless species of plants, insects, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Now, this biodiversity hotspot is now at risk of destruction, due to its abundance of oil that lies underneath the surface. Yasuni is being exploited for a valuable resource, in the hopes of economic development for Ecuador.

Toxic oil spill in Ecuador from Chevron (flickr, 2010)

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Bridgeport Generating Station

The question who gets what, why, and how much, boils down to class and race. The environmental burdens that are paralleled with the United States’ addiction to coal powered energy falls onto communities of color in an undeniable trend. An example of this disproportionate environmental racism to communities of color is the Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station in Connecticut. The high emissions coal power plant is conveniently located in Connecticut’s second poorest city, inserted right between the cities poorest parts. These two parts are Bridgeport’s Downtown and South End, whose populations consist of more than 87% people of color and averaging an income of $11,400. The proximity of these residential sectors to the generating station has caused adverse health in the communities.


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