The Hidden Cost of Coal

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A recent — the first of its kind — calculated the full lifecycle cost of coal consumption in the U.S., and arrived at a startling figure. There's a $345 billion hidden price tag that Americans are paying every year, enough to double or triple the price of electricity if those true costs were reflected in the price.

We spoke with two of the authors of the study — Paul Epstein and Melissa Ahern — to explain to us what is in those hidden costs, as the EPA moves to regulate dozens of toxins now being released into the air.

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Mountaintop removal mining photo: biotour13