Panel of activists, scientists explores coal and alternatives

October 22, 2012

DATE: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012

EVENT: Environmental and social justice advocate Maria Gunnoe will anchor a trio of experts on coal in a free, public panel discussion titled “Cure for the Common Coal.”

Joining Gunnoe will be Jeremy Richardson, Kendall Science Fellow in Clean Energy Innovation at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Stuart Batterman, professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Knute Nadelhoffer, director of the U-M Biological Station and a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will moderate the panel.

The panelists will discuss the problems associated with mining and burning coal, as well as options for cleaner, more humane sources of energy.

The four speakers represent a breadth of experience with the environmental and human health impacts of mining and burning coal. Gunnoe, winner of the 2012 U-M Wallenberg Medal, is a social justice educator and vocal opponent of mountaintop removal mining. Batterman and Nadelhoffer study human and environmental impacts of air pollution and Richardson is a physicist who currently works in the policy realm on energy issues.

Both Gunnoe and Richardson have deep family connections to West Virginia coal mining. Richardson’s grandfather and father worked for the mines, as does his brother. Gunnoe’s grandfather was also a miner. He bought the land where her family still lives, and which was covered in toxic coal sludge in a 2004 flood. It was this flood that prompted Gunnoe’s activism against mountaintop removal mining.

PLACE: 2024 U-M Dana Building, 440 Church St., Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: U-M Biological Station and the Union of Concerned Scientists, along with these U-M units: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Law and Policy Program, Program in the Environment, School of Natural Resources and Environment and School of Public Health