I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful state of Colorado. Colorado has an extensive supply of conventional fossil fuel and renewable energy resources. Per EIA (Energy Information Administration) 2009, “The State contains several fossil fuel-rich basins, including the Sand Walsh, Eyepiece, Paradox, and San Juan basins in the west, and the Denver and Orator basins in the east. Ten of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and three of its 100 largest oil fields are found in Colorado.
Substantial deposits of bituminous, sub bituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the State. ” In the house that I live in Thornton Colorado, our primary types of energy are electricity, natural gas as well as a pellet-burning stove for the winter. Electricity is the foundation of the energy usage in Thornton. Per EIA, “Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants dominate electricity generation in Colorado. Coal-fired plants account for over seven-tenths of the State’s generation and natural gas-fired plants account for close to one-fourth.
Colorado produces coal from both underground and surface mines, primarily in its western basins, and large quantities of coal are shipped into and out of the State by rail. Colorado uses about one-fourth of its coal output and transports the remainder to markets throughout the United States. Colorado also brings in coal, primarily from Wyoming, to supplement local production. ” The earliest coalmine, The Denver Basin Orator Basin coalmine is inactive but Colorado does have 11 active mines.
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Most of them are located in western Colorado and per CAM (Coal Mining Association), “The Total Value of Coal Produced in Colorado in 2011 is estimated to be $1. 1 Billion. ” While the monies these coalmines produce are a huge factor in Colorado economy the damage on the environment, Hess mines produce, are they worth the environmental damage in the end? I agree Barbara Frees when she states, “The mundane mineral that built our global economy and even today powers our electrical plants has also caused death, disease, and environmental destruction. Per The World Coal Association, “Coal mining, particularly surface mining requires large areas of land to be temporarily disturbed. This raises a number of environmental challenges, including soil erosion, dust, noise and water pollution, and impacts on local biodiversity. ” Not only is the current coal mining industry endangering the environment in Colorado the abandoned mines are destroying the environment as well. It is a known fact that coal production requires large quantities of water. Colorado has an abundance of lakes and streams but coal mining affects the natural marine and land-based wildlife.
Not to mention the people who use these water resources. Coal mining can lead to heavy metals like lead and arsenic entering these precious water recourses. Even though there has not been a resent case, in Colorado, of arsenic or lead poisoning, from coalmines, “They can produce enough contamination o causes a rapid and unique destruction of red blood cells and may result in kidney failure, which is uniformly fatal without proper therapy. Most cases of arsine poisoning have occurred with the use of acids and crude metals of which one or both contained arsenic as an impurity. Per the EPA (2011) The coalmines in Colorado also contribute to the air pollution crisis . Per Learner (2013), “The process of burning coal for energy produces greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants, including carbon dioxide, mercury compounds, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Per unit of electricity, coal produces more pollution than any other eel source, according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, all steps of coal energy production mining, transportation and cleaning produce greenhouse gas emissions.
Coal contains methane, a combustible and potent greenhouse gas. Methane’s global warming potential is 23 times greater than carbon dioxide. For safety reasons, methane vents into the atmosphere during coal processing. ” Denver, the capital of Colorado, has been notorious for its winter “Brown Cloud” starting in the sass’s. The “Brown Cloud” was formed due to a combination of carbon dioxide, mercury compounds as well as other pollution sources. Per Colorado Air Pollution Control Division, “2008 National Emissions Inventory estimates that 50 percent of CO emissions are from highway vehicle sources.
They also estimate that off highway sources contribute an additional 23 percent of emissions. ” Denver is located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and Steve Spangles (2011) states, “this location makes it prone to temperature inversions in which warm air traps cooler air near the ground, preventing pollutants from rising into the atmosphere. ” Thus the “Brown Cloud” formed. The city of Thornton is located 10 miles north of Denver. Thornton has shared in this horrible air quality called “Brown Cloud”.
But the good news is coming from Alpine/Environs report for Colorado 2011, “Colorado coal- fueled power plants have reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides by 30 percent since 1999, compared with an average 8 percent reduction for all other sources. Coal- based electric generation accounted for 9 percent of the Colorado total ozone- related emissions in 2011. The Alpine Geophysics/Environ report also documents the significant reductions since 1999 in emissions contributing to fine particulates – sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (Voss) and direct PM emissions.
Colorado coal-based electric utilities have reduced these PM-related emissions by 43 percent since 1999, the largest reduction among all major source categories. ” Per Colorado Mining (2013), “Steps are taken in modern mining operations to minimize impacts on all aspects of the environment. By carefully pre-planning projects, implementing pollution control measures, monitoring the effects of mining and rehabilitating mined areas, the coal industry minimizes the impact of its activities on the neighboring community, the immediate environment and on long- term land capability.
I certainly hope this will come to fruition. These figures are staggering to me. My home usage of electricity last month for four people was 535 kilowatt hours used. Per The US Census (2010), there are 43,230 homes in Thornton. If the whole city used the same amount of electricity here is the calculation of the kilowatt hours the city would use in a year. 535 kilowatt hour x 12 months = 6,420 kilowatt hours per household a year 6,420 kilowatt hours per household x 12 months = 277,536,600 kilowatt hours are used per year in the City of Thornton. Natural gas is an extremely important source of my community’s energy.
Per Natural Gas. Org, “Natural gas is the cleanest of all the fossil fuels, as evidenced in the Environments I Protection Agency’s data comparisons in the chart below, which is still current as of 2010. Composed primarily of methane, the main products of the combustion of natural gas are carbon dioxide and water vapor, the same compounds we exhale when we breathe. ” However, they also state, “One issue that has arisen with respect to natural gas and the greenhouse effect is the fact that methane, the principle component of natural gas, is itself a potent greenhouse gas.
Methane has n ability to trap heat almost 21 times more effectively than carbon dioxide. ” As well as, “The use of natural gas does not contribute significantly to smog formation, as it emits low levels of nitrogen oxides, and virtually no particulate matter. For this reason, it can be used to help combat smog formation in those areas where ground level air quality is poor. ” The natural gas industry Joined with the EPA in 1993 and here are some of the findings due to this relationship: “In 1993, the natural gas industry Joined with EPA in launching the Natural Gas STAR Program to reduce methane emissions.
The STAR program has chronicled dramatic reductions to methane emissions, since that time: EPA STAR data shows a reduction in methane emissions each year for the last 16 years More than 904 Billion cubic feet (Bcc) of methane emissions were eliminated through the STAR program 1993-2009; and In 2009 alone, the program reduced methane emissions by 86 Bcc. Thus the increased use of natural gas in the place of other, dirtier fossil fuels can serve to lessen the emission of greenhouse gases in the United States. ” I believe there should be a significant swing to improved natural gas use in the electricity sector.
Cleaner natural gas vehicles need to be improved and engineered to become more cost effective. Industrial plants could use more natural gas to fuel their total systems instead of other, more polluting fossil fuels. If people would be concentrating on using more natural gas, it could reduce the emissions of smog surrounding the urban areas and would result in a cleaner and healthier air. I am fortunate enough to have a pellet-burning stove in the basement. This heats up the home in wintertime and will in effect make my home use less electricity and natural gas in the wintertime.
There are numerous types of stoves available, but we use the pellet-stove as its combustion conditions offer a sufficient oxygen supply and high temperature. Most of the organic substances is burnt in the stove and does not emit ash or other chemical substances, as some wood stoves can. The fire is contained in a heat box, which exhumes minimal smoke and gives off less creosote, which is the flammable byproduct of combustion that can cause the chimney fires. The pellets are made from recycled materials and are heavily compressed the dry fuel crates more heat.
This burn is hotter and cleaner than typical wood burning doves. A room needs an average of 5,000 Btu output from the stove per 200 square feet of space so we had to make sure to purchase a pellet-stove that would heat our home effectively. The disadvantages are the cost of the stove. It was a large start up cost to get the stove in the basement. The pellet bags come in 40 lbs so we needed to make sure we had to the extra storage space and we made sure the stove had a battery backup as the pellet stoves need a small amount of electricity to run the pellets through.
If the electricity is not working, we will have a pellet stove for at least 8 hours due to the eatery backup. Colorado unnaturally NAS an area called Rocky Flats, which used to produce nuclear weapons from, 1952-1989. Officially, Rocky Flats was shut down for repeated safety violations. These violations were brought to the attention of the EPA and FBI in 1987. The extent of the contamination has yet to be revealed biblically. Rocky Flats was added to the Pea’s “National Priorities List” in 2000. That is when the cleanup efforts began and the site became a wildlife refuge area.
Per Care 2 Make A Difference, (2013), “Congress proposed that the site be transformed into a wildlife refuge. The cleanup was declared complete in 2005, although the levels of present contamination were not shown to the public. ” The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center hired independent contractors to test the soil at Rocky Flats. These contractors were not permitted to test the soil, on site, so they tested the soil outside the fence line and they found that the level of plutonium contamination has not changed since the sass’s.
Their results also showed, “Plutonium levels ranging from 0. 019-1. 579 Pico Curies per gram of soil. The typical level of background plutonium contamination in he Western US is usually no more than 0. 01 -so these are troubling findings. ” Per Moore and Dirtied Plutonium is forever (2013), “Plutonium particles in the soil at Rocky Flats will one way or another, sooner or later, come into people’s lungs and lives, since, with a half-life of 24,000 years, it poses a radiation hazard essentially forever.
Minute particles much smaller than germs get brought to the surface by burrowing animals, incautious humans, turbulent geology and extreme weather. Such particles can be carried near and far by the wind and inhaled by unsuspecting people, including children, the most vulnerable. Once inside the body, plutonium does its damage. The late Edward Martial, NCAR radio chemist, pointed out as early as 1970 that the radioactivity from plutonium dust particles at Rocky Flats is “millions of times more intense than that from naturally occurring radioactive dust particles (uranium) of the same size.
Minute amounts are sufficient to cause cancer. ” This is scary to me as how a government entity could let this damage happen in the first place. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, that run the refuge, say the soil contamination is not at unsafe level but they will not show any plutonium test results. How can they continue to not explain the dangers or to Just simply not tell the truth on this subject? My city of Thornton Colorado has used electricity, natural gas and wood burning stoves since the land was purchased and developed in 1953.
In 1955, there were 5,500 residents in approximately 1,200 homes. The impact of these energy sources have not had any more damage than what has been stated previously, in this essay, to the city I live in. I can say that the City of Thornton has developed a “Green Thornton Zone. ” The Green Thornton Zone has a motto, “The City of Thornton is omitted to the wise and careful use of resources and to developing and maintaining low-waste policies wherever feasible. ” I like this policy and feel comfortable that my city is doing whatever possible to save the environment.
I would recommend the City of Thornton use wind energy as a renewable energy source. Per Renewable Energy World. Com (2013), “We have been harnessing the wind’s energy for hundreds of years. From old Holland to farms in the United States, windmills have been used for pumping water or grinding grain. Today, the windmill’s modern equivalent – a wind turbine – can use the wind’s energy to generate electricity. Wind turbines, like windmills, are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. At 100 feet (30 meters) or more aboveground, they can take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind.
Turbines catch the wind’s energy with their propeller-like blades. Usually, two or three blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor. A blade acts much like an airplane wing. When the wind blows, a pocket of low- pressure air forms on the downwind side of the blade. The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade toward it, causing the rotor to turn. This is called lift. The force f the lift is actually much stronger than the wind’s force against the front side of the blade, which is called drag.
The combination of lift and drag causes the rotor to spin like a propeller, and the turning shaft spins a generator to make electricity. ” I feel this energy would not only save the environment and it does not have nearly the environmental negative impact as coal or natural gas production does. With coal, being the worst I believe wind power would save the air, water and land we live on. It would take up land usage but wildlife could adapt to wind power much better than a coalmine. People in Thornton and all over Colorado have to realize what damage coalmines sites really do the environment.
If the city adapted wind power energy as a source, they could show the residence what NRC (Natural Resources Defense Council) says, “Wind power is an affordable, efficient and abundant source of domestic electricity. It’s pollution-free and cost-competitive with energy from new coal- and gas-fired power plants in many regions. ” Every single organism known to man would benefit from this conversion and I personally do not understand why renewable energy is not used more efficiently.