Coal plants are closing. Many of the closures are in response to federal clean air regulations, but many were also just old plants that would be closed anyway. In any case, coal usage is down. That’s a double hit against power plants in Appalachia where the coal was mined and burned. Mining and power plant jobs are going away, but the mines and the power plants aren’t. Closing a coal mine leaves some buildings above ground. Closing a power plant means closing a large facility that required acres for storage of what came in, coal, and what was left, ash. What you do with an old, dirty, possibly toxic facility? There is no one answer, but the communities must find answers soon. Ironically, as happened in Pittsburgh, some of the most industrial sites are sited along rivers. As the pollution diminishes the rivers become more attractive, the waterfront becomes more valuable, and remediation becomes more feasible. It worked in a big city, but can it work in rural mountains?

“What Do We Do With All These Dead Coal-Fired Power Plants” – Grist

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