Wave Maker’s News: Brown Coal Mining Coming to a Town Near You?

This article is excerpted from Wave Maker’s News, our quarterly update on all things water in the Gulf of Mexico, check out the full newsletter here. The black areas are lignite reserves in Mississippi.We have been working with our conservation partners to fight a dirty, expensive, and unnecessary lignite coal mine and coal-fired power plant in Kemper County, Mississippi that will damage over 2,300 acres of wetlands and more than 29,500 feet of streams during the “test phase” alone.Proponents of the project have been selling it as one of the first “clean coal” plants in the United States because it could capture between “zero percent…up to the design of 67 percent” of carbon dioxide emissions. Calling this project clean just because it might release less carbon dioxide than other similar plants is akin to painting a skunk’s stripe black and calling it a cat – it doesn’t pass the smell test!Lignite, or brown coal, is considered the lowest rank of coal, just barely a step up from peat. Mississippi has massive reserves of lignite (see map), but only one other large lignite mine. If Mississippi Power and their allies succeed in pushing the Kemper coal project through, this project could be used as the poster child for other dirty, brown coal mines throughout the state.In areas where lignite mining has been underway on a large scale for decades, it has caused significant environmental destruction and disrupted local communities. For example, in Germany brown coal mining has displaced more than 300 communities and over 100,000 people! It’s time to say no to this boondoggle in Kemper County, and no to dirty, brown coal mining in the hundreds of Mississippi communities potentially at risk.Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer.

Scroll to Top