Black Black Black and GreenTuesday, September 18, 2007
We started on Alabama 269 and went through the part of the state that's mined for coal - places like Powhatan, Praco, Snowtown, Birmingport... Neither of us really have spent that much time in that area, and we wanted to take Shug for a drive - he loves looking out the windows at everything!
This is a terminal on the Warrior River:
There were just mountains of coal everywhere around the terminal (which is huge):
I don't know the first thing about mines, but I think this is one. This part of the state is *so* beautiful, but in some areas the landscape has just been torn apart, and I guess that's part of the mining operation:
One of the things we turned off to see was a huge power plant. At first, I thought it was a nuclear plant because of those giant...um...pots, I guess.
In a weird way, they're beautiful, because they look like pottery with these gorgeous clouds of steam just flowing out the top (I hope I'm not sounding corny, but that's really how they look to me):
I wasn't going to post the pictures, because I thought maybe it was a nuclear plant (not that crazy/bad people are reading this, but you know...), but I looked it up once we got home, and - this makes so much sense - it is the Miller Steam Plant and it runs on coal. I would have thought that anything making energy from coal would have been spewing nasty black clouds, but instead, it was those plumes of steam...which made me feel better about it, sort-of, until I read this.
Southern Company/Alabama Power does tours of the plant for school groups. When I was in sixth grade, our class went to the Wheeler Dam hydro plant that TVA operates (there's a nice nighttime pic of it here). TVA's website has a section now about how you can sign up to switch to 'Green Power' if you use their system. We have Alabama Power, but I don't see anything on their site about doing that...I'm going to email them right now and see if they have that kind of program where we can sign up.