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Our nation's clean water policy should provide all communities with access to healthy, safe water by protecting the streams and wetlands that contribute to our drinking water supply.

Coal Report Secures National, International Media Coverage

December 8, 2009

The report, which examines coal’s damaging effects on health, finds that coal pollution affects all major body organ systems and contributes to four of the five top causes of mortality in the US:  heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory diseases.

At PSR press conference in Washington, DC, Dr. Katherine Shea discusses coal’s contribution to global warming while Dr. Alan Lockwood reflects.

Since its release in mid-November, the report has garnered substantial media coverage.  Among the media coverage secured:

  • Roughly 360 radio, newspaper, TV and Web stories: 240 in local media in 37 states, plus over 118 media postings of national scope, for a total of coverage in at least 40 states.
  • AOL News and Yahoo News ran PSR’s press release on their websites, as did over 100 local television stations and – reaching an audience not usually penetrated by PSR – 46 business and financial journals, including Forbes.
  • The McClatchy news syndicate referred to the report in more than 40 newspapers nationwide, including the Boston Herald, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Fresno Bee, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Miami Herald.
  • Nine PSR chapters promoted the report to their local media, securing radio, newspaper and/or online coverage of coal’s health impacts in their respective states.  Highlights of that coverage appear below.
  • Alan Lockwood, MD FAAN, lead author of the report, long-time member and former president of the PSR national board, conducted multiple nationally broadcast interviews:  an in-studio interview on the syndicated show “The Environment Report,” which airs on public radio stations in 22 states; an interview on Greenwire, a leading source for coverage of environmental and energy policy and markets; a story with Environment News Service, the daily international wire service for environmental news, and an interview with CBS Radio Network, with a potential audience estimated at 22 million.
  • Evan Kanter MD, outgoing PSR board president, conducted a live, nationally syndicated TV/radio simulcast interview on “Natural Living with Gary Null.”
  • Coal’s Assault on Human Health went international when the Voice of America featured the report in their “In Focus” television segment.  The 3½-minute news story, which drew heavily on the PSR press conference, was broadcast to viewers across Africa.  Leading with the health impacts of coal mining, it also discussed the damage that coal pollution does to lung development, especially in children, as well as the threats posed by global warming due to coal emissions of carbon dioxide.
  • PSR also cracked the blogosphere, with online coverage in Daily Kos (where it generated a long thread of comments), Grist, Huffington Post and Coal Tattoo.  The Washington Post posted a link to the report on its Climate Agenda blog, where it has remained for weeks.  Online magazine Common Dreams also covered the report.

The briefing on Capitol Hill was sponsored by Senator Menendez of New Jersey and attracted staff from the offices of seven senators working on climate issues, one congressman, and four relevant Senate committees.  It featured Dr. Lockwood; Kristen Welker-Hood, ScD MSN RN, director of PSR’s environment and health program; Katherine Shea, MD MPH, an expert on global warming; and representatives of the American Lung Association and the American Nurses Association.

PSR briefing in the U.S. Senate.  L-r:  PSR spokespeople Drs. Katherine Shea, Alan Lockwood, Peter Wilk, and Kristen Welker-Hood;  Janice Nolan, American Lung Association.

Highlights of the successes of PSR chapters’ outreach include:

In Los Angeles, PSR was honored to be represented by Richard “Dick” Jackson, MD MPH, formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Dr. Jackson conducted a live radio interview on Pacifica KPFK-FM’s “Uprising” which airs out of Los Angeles and is also nationally syndicated to 15 other stations.  He also conducted an in-person television taping with ECO NEWS TV.

Also in L.A., Marta Arguello, executive director of PSR-Los Angeles, brought the report’s health message to a Spanish-speaking audience via a live interview on CNN Radio en Español.

In the San Francisco Bay area, PSR board member and chapter leader Bob Gould, M.D. discussed the report on the well-known KPFA Morning Show.  KPFA is a Pacifica affiliate.

In Tucson, Eve Shapiro, MD conducted a 30-minute in-studio interview at KCUB-AM that aired on five affiliated radio stations.  The Tucson Green Times also ran a story about the report.

In Seattle, Steven Gilbert, PhD, DABT, was interviewed on Washington Public News Service, which aired on commercial and public radio stations throughout Washington State.  The story noted that the Sierra Club had picked up PSR’s report and was using it in their drive to make Washington a “coal-free state.”

In Portland, OR, the Portland Oregonian ran an online story about the report on their Environment site. The Portland Tribune plans to run an op-ed by Maye Thompson, RN, PhD.

In Chicago, Peter Orris, MPH MD, conducted a radio interview with the state-wide syndicated network Illinois Radio Network, which aired over 40 radio stations state-wide. Dr. Orris also conducted an interview with the state-wide syndicated Illinois Public News Service, which aired on commercial as well as public radio stations throughout the state.

In Cedar Rapids, IA, Paul Deaton conducted an in-studio interview with the local NPR affiliate. The Des Moines Register also published an article about the report.
In Philadelphia, James Plumb, MD MPH, was featured in a 30-minute in-studio interview at WRDW-FM.

In Tampa, Lynn Ringenberg, MD conducted an interview with Florida Public News Service that aired on commercial and public radio stations throughout Florida.

In Ann Arbor, MI, we are still making efforts to line up Ann Behrmann, MD for a syndicated state-wide interview to air in mid-December.

PSR’s national staff also landed newspaper coverage when Dr. Welker-Hood presented Coal’s Assault as part of her testimony against a coal plant proposed for construction in Surry County, Virginia.

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