The plant life can't absorb oxygen? OH NOES!
The theory is that the government didn't really try very hard to extinguish the fire so then that way they could use eminent domain/emergency situation claims to evict everyone who lived there and then take control of the massive coal deposits (which even after the decades of burning are still quite substantial) without having to pay any money to anyone living there. The more you read about the town, the more it seems like this is very likely the truth, sadly enough. The handful of people still living there are fighting the evictions in the courts right now. It might lead to something, who knows.
Crap, I wish I could find the article I read...it was years ago, but basically it was about how similar coal fires had been put out. It cost a lot of money and took a lot of effort, but it was done. Apparently, a lot of geologists thought that the Centralia fire could have been extinguished if there was one big push to put it out done in a very strategic manner, but the government didn't bother doing it or even really trying anything particularly challenging. Instead, they offered everyone buyouts and then, eventually, claimed eminent domain over the entirety of the down, although that is still in legal limbo. The geological evidence suggests there's still enough coal beneath the region to be worth quite a bit if the smoldering could be extinguished.
Un be nounced
Why would you use a live version of a song for a soundtrack? It's like the crowd is clapping and cheering for the coal fire.
I grew up in Centralia, Washington, and this made me sad. But if you're bored, here's a historical note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia_Massacre_%28Washington%29
That's how I remember Centralia when I was there. It was November and I wanted to see more than a few smoking cracks in the ground but the stories of people falling into holes that suddenly opened into a fiery Hell kept me from looking around too much.
cognitivedissonance: I'll wave north in your direction next time I head out of the house.
The coal deposits here are not substantial. Not enough to cause a 5 decade conspiracy to mine it, when there are several mines in every direction around the microscopic footprint of Centralia.
The only way to put this fire out is to dig it up. When it first started in the 60's the TOWNSPEOPLE refused to allow this to happen, even though then it would have meant digging up an acre or two of land next to what was already an old mine pit turned landfill.
A local mine operator even offered to do this, on the condition they could keep the coal they excavated that could be extinguished. The townspeople refused.
As such they demanded that the state try other methods to extinguish the fire, which were all 100% untested unproven things that had a 1 in a million chance of working. Like trying to block off mine adits in advance of the fire by drilling in and pumping in fly ash, trying to make a solid and impermeable barrier into a tunnel you can't see, from the surface, with a semi fluid substance. Then just waiting to see if the temperature spikes on the surface further along the known tunnels years down the road, which indicates you failed.
The town had two factions, one that wanted compensation so they could move away, and others that were paranoid to the nines that the moment they did BIG COAL would swoop in and claim the 0.2 square miles of thin seamed anthracite that has two state highways intersecting in the middle of it.
The only method to ensure success, digging up all the coal that is burning from the surface, only became a larger and costlier solution as the years ticked by, as more useless token attempts were made with other methods that would disturb the townspeople less, the minimum costs of which far exceeded the most costly "dig it all up" option of a few years earlier. By the 1980's the cost of digging up all the burning coal was in the millions, far and away more than the actual worth of the town and everything in it.
So the townspeople and the government did the only option that existed, they bought the land from everyone living there. Some people stayed, technically they were squatting on state land. The homes have been demolished as they are vacated.
The more time I spend there the more I see the climate change debate. A slow, but steady and massive force that is none the less very hard to see and consequently, easy to ignore. What would have been difficult but doable solutions a few decades ago could have headed off the problem before it got too big are ignored. Then even when the symptoms of the problem start cropping up more and more, everyone only wants solutions that don't affect their stuff or their accustomed standard of living. And only when your own front yard caves in and you demand that someone else do something about it, it costs more than you are worth and will end your way of life anyway.
Sigh, this was a reply to Stanley
wow, I didn't know you used POETV or I would have asked for your opinion specifically on this since I figured you might know more than anyone around here.
So there you have it...
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