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coal issues
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Related Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ carbon emissions  ~ contamination  ~ health impacts  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ heavy metals  ~ economic myopia  ~ airborne pollutants  ~ global warming  ~ capitalist greed  ~ smart policy  



Sun, Jan 10, 2016
from InsideClimate News:
Vermont Governor Urges State to Divest from Coal, Exxon
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said on Thursday his state should take action against climate change this year by divesting public pension funds from coal and from oil giant ExxonMobil, because of its history of sowing doubt about climate change despite the company's own scientists having studied it. Speaking at his annual State of the State address, Shumlin said, "The urgency for us to take every sensible action against climate change has never been greater." He asked his legislature to send him a bill that would divest the state's public pension funds from all coal stocks, as well as from stock in Exxon. ...


Now that's what I call leadership.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 29, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Aid Package for Coal Country Goes Ignored by Congress
A massive $3 billion package to help struggling coal communities transition to a new economy is sitting unappropriated in the Republican-led Congress. And lawmakers are saying little--at least publicly--about if and how they ever plan to support it. As part of the budget proposal released in February, the White House rolled out the POWER+ plan to support towns and communities struggling to cope with the decline in coal production and use. The initiative provides coal country with an influx of cash to reclaim abandoned mines, provide job training to miners, reform health and pension funds and invest in carbon capture technology. But in the four months since the White House announced the plan, leaders in Congress have not addressed it in any detail. ...


Burn, baby, burn.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from New York Times:
Court Gives Obama a Climate Change Win
A federal court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by the nation's largest coal companies and 14 coal-producing states that sought to block one of President Obama's signature climate change policies... He concluded, "We deny the petitions for review and the petition for a writ of prohibition because the complained-of agency action is not final." ...


In other words, coal states prematurely elitigated.

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Wed, Jun 10, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
Coal Industry Fighting for Survival on 7 Fronts
...Perhaps no industry has inflicted such widespread costs on society as coal. From debilitating black lung disease to the devastating removal of whole mountaintops, from decades of lung-scarring smog to unrestrained emissions of greenhouse gases, coal has imposed its own deadly taxation--hiding the charges under the smoky cloak of cheap and abundant power. ...


War on coal? I'd say coal was waging war on us.

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Wed, Jan 14, 2015
from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio renewable energy policies spurred growth, now driving away business, report says
Ohio's renewable energy policies sparked tremendous investment in the industry, but recent moves by state lawmakers have slowed that growth and threaten its future, according to a report released Tuesday. Ohio was No. 13 in the country for new capacity and private investment in wind at the end of 2012, according to the Pew report. However, new investment halted in 2013 because of "uncertainty" created by legislative debate over Ohio's renewable energy standards and the expiration of a federal production tax credit, according to the report. ...


Just what the (bad) doctor ordered.

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Fri, Jan 9, 2015
from Globe & Mail:
Oil sands must remain largely unexploited to meet climate target, study finds
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, does not single out the Alberta oil sands for special scrutiny, but rather considers the geographic distribution of the world's total fossil fuel supply, including oil, coal and natural gas reserves, and their potential impact on international efforts to curb global warming.... As previous studies have already shown, roughly two-thirds of fossil fuels that can already be extracted at a competitive price will need to remain unburned before 2050 to achieve this goal. The new analysis shows that in order to optimize costs and benefits, that two-thirds cannot be evenly distributed around the world, but must be skewed toward more carbon-intense fuels situated far from potential markets. The computer model suggests that it will be next to impossible to meet climate targets if those fuels are tapped to a significant degree, even as producers continue to develop these reserves.... The study uses a more conservative estimate of 48 billion barrels as the current reserve and then finds that only 7.5 billion barrels of that, or about 15 per cent, can be used by 2050 as part of the global allotment of fossil-fuel use in a two-degree scenario. The figure assumes that new technologies will make possible a reduction in the carbon intensity of oil sands production. If this does not happen, the authors say, then even less of the oil-sands reserve should be extracted. ...


Tell ya what, oil sands: take your 15 cents on the dollar, and we won't sue you for environmental reparations.

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Mon, Dec 15, 2014
from Politico:
How the 'War on Coal' went global
Congressional Republicans who vow to defeat President Barack Obama's "War on Coal" can do little to defend the industry against a growing international threat -- the drying up of its once-promising markets overseas. Just a few years ago, domestic producers had high hopes for selling coal to energy-hungry Asia, but prices in those markets are plummeting now amid slowing demand and oversupply, ceding much of the market space to cheaper coal from nations like Indonesia and Australia. Meanwhile, a lot of U.S. coal can't even get out of the country, thanks to greens' success in blocking proposed export terminals in Washington state and Oregon. And China, the world's most voracious coal customer, just pledged to cap its use of the fuel and is promising to curb its greenhouse gas pollution. ...


War on Coal = Peace on Earth

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Wed, Aug 13, 2014
from Financial Review:
Coal always wins and will stay No. 1, says carbon king Boyce
Peabody Energy chief executive Greg Boyce is calling on coal producers to spend more time and money fighting "symbolic" movements against the industry and is confident China will not adopt a cap on carbon emissions. As the anti-coal collective gathers more mainstream backers, St Louis-based Mr Boyce says the industry needs to do more to counter the attacks, particularly the global fossil fuels divestment campaign. But he is confident that "coal always wins out". ...


In fact, coal will even vanquish us.

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Wed, Aug 6, 2014
from Call Newspapers:
Mehlville board to consider resolution against coal energy
If hundreds of Oakville residents who have written to the Mehlville Board of Education get their wish, the board could become the first elected body in Missouri to adopt a resolution against coal energy Thursday.... Since the board's first discussion of the resolution in May, Ameren's board of directors voted to close the Meramec plant in 2022, or perhaps a few years earlier, and the Sierra Club and CLAW have turned their attention to urging Ameren to close the plant sooner. The resolution asks Ameren to completely phase out coal as an energy source and emulate Kansas City Power & Light in using more renewable forms of energy. Power & Light has taken the lead on the use of wind as a power source, according to the resolution. ...


The children are our (imperiled) future.

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Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Minnesota Public Radio:
Dayton calls for eliminating coal from Minnesota's energy production
Gov. Mark Dayton today challenged a group of energy policy and business leaders to figure out a way for Minnesota to eliminate coal from the state's energy production. Dayton, who has spoken of his aim to eliminate coal before, said it's time to start talking details so that Minnesota could lead the nation. "Tell us what a timeline would look like, what has to happen for that timeline to be met and what kind of incentives or inducements do we need to provide to make that happen," he said. ...


Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.

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Mon, Jun 2, 2014
from The Hill:
Survey: Majority favor renewable energy over coal, despite costs
... a new survey from an environmentally-friendly business group finds a majority of people would support efforts to overhaul the nation's electric power grid to make room for more renewable forms of energy. The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) survey found that two-thirds of people said it is a good idea to "modernize" the nation's power system, while three in four respondents said they would like to use electricity more efficiently in order to reduce the need for old power plants. But 58 percent of people believe say they would like to move from old power sources like coal to new renewable forms of energy like wind, solar, and hydropower, even if it costs more to do so. ...


Imagine the numbers when people realize renewable energy is cheaper!

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Mon, Jun 2, 2014
from Washington Post:
EPA to propose cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants 30 percent by 2030
The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a regulation Monday that would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels, according to individuals who have been briefed on the plan.... Ever since a climate bill stalled in the Senate four years ago, environmental and public health activists have been pressing Obama to use his executive authority to impose carbon limits on the power sector, which accounts for 38 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions.... The American Wind Energy Association, which also supports a federal carbon cap on existing plants, recently published a study that found that consumer rates declined over the past five years in the 11 states that use the most wind, while rates increased collectively in all the other states during that same time period. ...


Let the wild rumpus start!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 15, 2014
from IEA, via Grist:
End fossil fuel burning, save $71 trillion -- and preserve civilization as we know it
First, here's what might seem to be bad news from the new report: It would cost the world $44 trillion to end our fossil fuel addiction by 2050 and switch to clean energy. Worse, this figure is $8 trillion higher than the IEA's last estimate, published two years ago. Expected costs have risen because we've delayed the process of switching over to climate-friendly energy sources. And now the good news: We can save $115 trillion in fuel costs by 2050 if we move away from dirty energy, making for net savings of $71 trillion. ...


But that would disrupt the existing suicidal economic paradigm of growth at all costs!

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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from St. Louis Business Journal:
Peabody reports $44 million Q1 loss
Peabody Energy's revenue declined 6.9 percent in the first quarter, falling to $1.63 billion on lower coal pricing... "U.S. coal demand continues to rebound, resulting in one of the largest inventory drawdowns on record," Chairman and CEO Gregory Boyce said in a statement. "And while current seaborne markets remain challenged, we look for fundamentals to improve as demand continues to increase and supply growth moderates. Peabody's position in the low-cost U.S. basins and high-growth Asian markets allows us to navigate current market pressures and benefit from long-term demand trends." ...


Perhaps they need to invest in the growing market for renewables.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from GreenTech Media:
FirstEnergy CEO: Renewables 'Sound Good' but Should Take Backseat to Coal
FirstEnergy CEO Anthony Alexander traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to speak in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the challenges his utility is facing. With electricity use flatlining and renewable energy eroding margins for traditional generators, Alexander was not there to call for more regulatory flexibility to help the utility industry embrace these technologies. Instead, he called for a renewed focus on fossil fuels. "We need to develop a national energy plan that will allow us to take advantage of our vast supply of domestically produced resources -- both coal and natural gas -- and our superior electric system to stimulate and support our economy," he said in prepared statements. Strong promotion of renewables, said Alexander, is a threat to the electric system. ...


Sounds like he's putting his business "first" and everything else a distant second.

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Tue, Mar 18, 2014
from E&E Publishing:
William Koch, pessimistic about coal's future in the U.S., is out of the business
William Koch, CEO of energy and industrial products giant Oxbow Carbon LLC, expressed pessimism about the future of coal in the United States during an interview last week. While not as active in politics as siblings David and Charles Koch, Bill Koch has also donated millions to political candidates, including a large political action committee backing former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. "The coal business in the United States has kind of died," Koch said during a phone interview Friday, "so we're out of the coal business now." ...


Good riddance to bad rubbish!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 10, 2014
from Indianapolis Star:
Environmental groups seek probe of Duke plant
...In a motion filed Thursday with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the groups say the plant has been beset by failures and outages that have cut deeply into its ability to generate electricity, even as customers continue to pay for construction and repairs on their monthly electric bills. The plant, in southwestern Indiana, generated only 4 percent of its maximum capacity in January. From June to December, it generated an average of 37 percent of maximum capacity. A typical household using about 1,000 kilowatt hours a month is now being charged $12.67 per month by Duke for costs related to the plant. ...


On the bright side, they got new vending machines at the plant.

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Mon, Mar 10, 2014
from McClatchy:
Duke Energy would charge customers for moving coal ash in N.C.
As public pressure builds to dig up coal ash from waste lagoons in North Carolina, Duke Energy is facing a big cleanup bill that the electric utility has been trying to dodge... Duke chief executive Lynn Good said Friday that Duke would seek to recover the cost through customer rates. Billing Duke's customers for such an extensive cleanup operation would require approval from the N.C. Utilities Commission. Critics of Duke's coal-ash storage practices say that customers should be spared and that instead the cost should be borne by Duke and its investors. ...


Where's the Tea Party when you need 'em?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 4, 2014
from New York Times:
Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged
Last June, state employees in charge of stopping water pollution were given updated marching orders on behalf of North Carolina's new Republican governor and conservative lawmakers... From now on, regulators were told, they must focus on customer service, meaning issuing environmental permits for businesses as quickly as possible. Big changes are coming, the official said, according to three people in the meeting, two of whom took notes. "If you don't like change, you'll be gone." But when the nation's largest utility, Duke Energy, spilled 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River in early February, those big changes were suddenly playing out in a different light. ...


How's that customer service working out for ya?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from New York Times:
For the Supreme Court, a Case Poses a Puzzle on the E.P.A.'s Authority
In trying to decide whether the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under two programs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants, the Supreme Court on Monday faced what Justice Elena Kagan called "the conundrum here."... Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who may hold the decisive vote, made a point that did not bode well for the agency. "I couldn't find a single precedent that strongly supports your position," he told the agency's lawyer, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., the United States solicitor general. ...


It's gonna get hot under those robes!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from Associated Press:
Toxins leaking from 2nd pipe at NC coal ash dump
North Carolina officials said Tuesday that groundwater containing unsafe levels of arsenic apparently leaching from a Duke Energy coal ash dump is still pouring into the Dan River, which is already contaminated from a massive Feb. 2 spill. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Duke to stop the flow of contaminated water coming out a pipe that runs under a huge coal ash dump at its Eden power plant. A nearby pipe at the same dump collapsed without warning two weeks ago, coating the bottom of the Dan River with toxic ash as far as 70 miles downstream. State regulators expressed concern five days ago that the second pipe could fail, triggering a new spill. The water coming out of that pipe contains poisonous arsenic at 14 times the level considered safe for human contact, according to test results released by the state on Tuesday. ...


It's like our own little Fukushima!

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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
from Reuters:
Subpoena caps bad week for fossil fuel
Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the massive coal ash spill into North Carolina's Dan River, targeting both the energy company responsible for the ash pond that leaked and the state's environmental regulator. The subpoena of Duke Energy, the company at fault for the North Carolina spill, bookends a bad week for the U.S. fossil fuels industry, including a coal slurry spill in West Virginia and a fire at hydraulic fracturing well in Pennsylvania. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pumps water and chemicals into the ground to release gas trapped in rock. The coal ash spilled in North Carolina is a byproduct of burning coal to make electricity and contains harmful chemicals, including arsenic. So far, authorities do not believe the spill poses a threat to drinking water, although the ash spiked arsenic levels in the river, turning it into a chalky gray soup. ...


Chalky gray soup is my favorite dish!

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Wed, Feb 12, 2014
from CNN:
Officials: Coal slurry spill blackens 6 miles of West Virginia creek
Inspectors are looking into the cause of a coal slurry spill in West Virginia's eastern Kanawha County after it blackened six miles of a creek, officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection said Tuesday. More than 100,000 gallons of the coal slurry is believed to have flowed into Fields Creek, a tributary of the Kanawha River, officials said. Inspectors are testing the water to determine exactly how much leaked into the creek, the officials said. ...


Live by the sword; die by the sword.

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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
NC authorities say river has elevated arsenic from coal ash spill
North Carolina's environmental agency says it was wrong to declare the arsenic levels in the Dan River safe for people after a massive coal ash spill. An environmental group had said Friday that its tests indicated the water's chemical levels were high. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Sunday a water sample taken two days after the spill was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact, such as swimming... Critics charge that Duke Energy and the state government are too closely aligned, and that helped the company avoid regulation. Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools. Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied -- by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ...


In the U.S. the fox often guards the hen house.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Bloomberg:
Coal Ash Declared Safe for Recycling by EPA
Coal ash from power plants is safe for use in cement and wallboard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today in a long-delayed decision that may boost recycling of a major source of industrial waste. The determination and an EPA court filing last month indicating it may not regulate ash as a hazardous waste will boost utilities and companies such as Headwaters Inc. (HW) that use the product. The EPA acted as Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) deals with a spill at a North Carolina coal-ash disposal pond that sent toxic arsenic, chromium and lead into a river. Recycling can help curb the number and use of coal-ash ponds, proponents say. ...


Probably not as toxic as that drywall from China.

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Tue, Feb 4, 2014
from Charlotte Observer:
Duke Energy plant reports coal-ash spill
Duke Energy said Monday that 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were released from a pond at its retired power plant in Eden into the Dan River, and were still flowing... Ash was visible on the banks of the Dan River on Monday, and the water was tinted gray. ...


Paradise Losht.

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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Sun, Jan 26, 2014
from DailyKos:
The News Just Keeps Getting Worse for West Virginia (and It Doesn't Stop There)
... And it gets worse - how about this article featuring a former WV coal miner Joe Stanley, who says: "I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. Now they're telling us not to drink the water? We've been dumping this stuff into unlined ponds and into old mines for years," he says. "This MCHM was just one of the chemicals we were told was highly toxic but that we dumped into old mine shafts and slurry ponds, and it's been seeping into the groundwater for years." It sounds bad even before Stanley explains that coal mines are constantly pumped to clear ground water, aquifers, and underground streams: "As soon as we're out of that mine it immediately fills with water. And where does it go from there? I don't know, your guess is as good as mine." Stanley says he hasn't drunk the water for years and that no one else should either.... How much longer will we let the coal industry play fast and loose with our water? From coal processing chemicals, to the toxics scrubbed while burning coal, to the coal ash left behind - the industry is poisoning an element necessary for all life: water. It's time to close these water pollution loopholes once and for all. ...


I'll pay whatever is necessary for my water. Does that make me a "desirable consumer"?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 14, 2014
from E&E Publishing:
Coal-dependent Mich. ready to make the switch
If there is a "war on coal" being waged in the United States, then there's a new and somewhat surprising recruit in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. The moderate Republican and former venture capitalist stunned some observers last month when he unveiled a four-part energy strategy for the state through 2025, the first tenet of which is to replace coal-fired power plants with natural gas and renewables. He cited both economic and environmental benefits. ...


Mommy, what's a moderate Republican?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 14, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
U.S. Carbon Emissions From Fossil Fuels Rose in 2013 as Coal Use Ticked Up
When all the data is in, it looks like carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels will have gone up 2 percent in 2013 from the previous year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said on Monday. The main reason, it said, is an uptick in the use of coal for electric power. But it's also a sign of growing economic activity in general... The agency said emissions are currently running at about 10 percent less than in 2005, putting the nation almost two-thirds of the way to its goal of cutting them 17 percent by 2020, with much steeper reductions promised even later. ...


Guess I got coal in my stocking after all.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 12, 2014
from Charleston Gazette:
Minimum 'several days' till safe water
... About 300,000 residents have been told to use water only for flushing toilets since a Thursday chemical spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of eight West Virginia counties, and part of a ninth. The chemical, "Crude MCHM," is used in coal processing and leaked out of a 35,000-gallon tank owned by Freedom Industries, a chemical distributor based in Charleston and Nitro. A retaining wall surrounding the tank, supposed to serve as a failsafe, was scheduled for $1 million in repairs. ...


Eek! River

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Sun, Jan 12, 2014
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
China approves massive new coal capacity despite pollution fears
China approved the construction of more than 100 million tonnes of new coal production capacity in 2013 - six times more than a year earlier and equal to 10 percent of U.S. annual usage - flying in the face of plans to tackle choking air pollution. While efforts to curb pollution mean coal's share of the country's energy mix is set to dip, the total amount of the cheap and plentiful fuel burned will still rise. The scale of the increase, which only includes major mines, reflects Beijing's aim to put 860 million tonnes of new coal production capacity into operation over the five years to 2015, more than the entire annual output of India. ...


Ridiculous clown-caps have to be made somewhere, right?

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Mon, Dec 16, 2013
from Christian Science Monitor:
Australia approves coal port near Great Barrier Reef
Environmentalists fear that approval for one of the world's largest coal ports and an associated dredging operation to create a 'shipping super-highway' will cause severe damage to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. ...


Another reef bites the dust.

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Mon, Nov 25, 2013
from Financial Post:
Ontario Premier Wynne vows to ban coal-powered electricity
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Canada's most populous province plans to prevent the construction of new coal plants and ban the burning of coal. "Our work on eliminating coal and investing in renewables is the strongest action being taken in North America,” Wynne told reporters in Toronto, with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore at her side. A coal bill will be introduced in the provincial legislature, where Wynne's Liberal Party holds a minority position, next week. ...


Wynne-win!

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Thu, Nov 21, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
"Saudi Arabia of coal" Study says peak may already be past
It has often been said that the U.S. is the "Saudi Arabia of coal." However, a new report drawing on copious data from government agencies challenges that concept, noting that given global economic and energy trends, the amount of U.S. coal that will be economical to extract is much smaller than previously thought. ...


Hope has not peaked yet.

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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research:
Coal Continues to Dominate Global Carbon Emissions
Despite explosive growth in renewable energy consumption, continued strong growth in coal consumption has further consolidated coal as the dominate source of carbon dioxide emissions... In 2012 many countries increased dependence on coal. German emissions increased 1.8 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 4.2 per cent.Japanese emissions increased 6.9 per cent in 2012, with coal growing at 5.6 per cent. EU28 emissions decreased 1.3 per cent, but emissions from coal grew 3.0 per cent. Indian emissions increased 7.7 per cent, with coal growing at 10.2 per cent. ...


I've always thought it was the main coalprit.

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Tue, Nov 5, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Hinton Coal Mine Leak: Alberta Pit Failure Dumps Plume Of Refuse Into Athabasca River
The "major failure" of a pit at an Alberta coal mine has released one billion litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca River. The breach at the Obed Mountain Coal Mine has resulted in murky water entering two tributaries, which carried the refuse into the Athabasca and is now visible in the river in the form of a muddy plume, states the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER.)... "It's our understanding that the water has entered two tributaries in the Athabasca River." The pit, which is located approximately 30 kilometres east of Hinton, failed during Halloween, stated the AER. These kinds of incidents are rare, Barter told the Edmonton Journal, adding he was surprised it happened. ...


A billion litres here, a billion litres there, pretty soon it adds up to real contamination.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Center for Public Integrity:
Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners
...Jackson Kelly, with offices throughout Appalachia, as well as in Denver and Washington, D.C., defends companies accused of polluting the environment, marketing dangerous drugs or discriminating against workers. It helps corporations avoid regulations, drafts bills and lobbies legislators. Its bailiwick, though, is mining. U.S. News & World Report recently named it the nation's top firm in mining law. Jackson Kelly's name is on the lips of clinic workers, miners and lawyers throughout Appalachia and is emblazoned atop an office overlooking the Monongahela River in Morgantown, W.Va. Now, with government scientists documenting a resurgence of black lung disease, the firm's legal strategy -- including, the Center for Public Integrity found, a record of withholding evidence -- could have significant consequences for sick miners and their families. ...


Coal is cheap and so, apparently, is human life.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Springfield News-Leader:
Malfunction at power plant spews ash over SW Springfield
A malfunction at City Utilities' John Twitty Energy Center earlier today sent a cloud of ash billowing over the surrounding area. CU said in a news release that a piece of equipment at the power plant "experienced a brief malfunction" that "allowed fly-ash that is normally collected to be released into the atmosphere." "City Utilities has resolved the situation at the power plant and as required, the incident was reported to the proper authorities," the release said. CU said the fly-ash that was released "is not hazardous to people, animals, or vegetation and can be rinsed with water from most surfaces. CU recommends that residents who have vehicles that the ash has landed on to have them washed commercially." ...


Just put your head between your legs and close your eyes and everything will be all right.

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Thu, Oct 17, 2013
from Columbus Business First:
AEP takes coal "out of the picture" as it plans for future
American Electric Power Company Inc. CEO Nick Akins shared his vision for where the Columbus-based utility is headed Wednesday, and his priority list didn't include coal, AEP's traditional go-to fuel source for its power plants. "We see the future for us being natural gas, energy efficiency, smart-grid activities and renewables," he said during a Columbus Metropolitan Club program. Akins didn't seem happy about leaving coal off the list, but he said it is being "taken out of the picture" as a fuel for power plants because of federal air quality regulations, especially proposed rules on carbon dioxide emissions. ...


Another one bites the toxic dust.

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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Columbus Business First:
Southeast Ohio school districts bracing for AEP plant closing, with millions in tax revenue going away
Electric utilities giveth and they taketh away when it comes to providing tax revenue to Ohio school districts.... The Muskingum River plant sits in two school districts, Fort Frye and Wolf Creek, that rely heavily on revenue from the property taxes paid by AEP. School officials tell me their districts stand to lose around 10 percent of their general fund revenue once AEP closes and demolishes the plant. But it looks like Wolf Creek will be hit harder than Fort Frye because of nuances in how Ohio taxes electric utilities ...


Perhaps we should continue killing our children with fossil fuels after all.

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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Grist:
It continues: Two Pennsylvania coal plants will close for good next week
The coal sector is in its death throes, thanks to cheaper alternatives and a growing distaste for what is the worst of the global-warming fuels. The latest casualties: two coal-burning power plants in Pennsylvania that will pump their last energy into the grid, and cough their last pollution in to the air, this weekend. ...


Bump, bump, bump, another one bites the dust!

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Illinois Residents Call on State & National Groups to Join Gov. Quinn Petition: Stop Lying to Kids on Coal
Outraged by the misleading information on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website for children on coal, former coal miners and citizen groups in the coal country of southern Illinois have launched a CREDO petition to bring the state's infamous coal education fiasco to an end. Calling on statewide and national citizens groups and education organizations to join their efforts, the petition goes straight to the point: Gov. Quinn: Stop Lying to Kids About Coal. As part of a coal education curriculum that has been widely denounced as inaccurate, deceiving and outdated--at best--the state continues to host a website for kids rife with erroneous marketing lingo that overlooks the workplace crisis of black lung disease among coal miners, as well as rising health and environmental costs from coal mining and burning, and climate change. The petition also cites a recent study that found the state of Illinois loses nearly $20 million annually to maintain the coal industry. ...


Hey, kids, your future's so blighted you gotta wear shades.

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Report: Social costs, if accounted for, make coal uneconomical
New research from a national environmental group finds that the cost of producing electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar is lower than that of conventional coal-fired generation when factoring for the adverse costs of climate change and human health impacts. That conclusion, derived from analysis on the "social cost of carbon," is at the heart of a study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences... ...


Clearly these durn tree huggers don't care a whit about keeping the poor healthcare industry alive!

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Associated Press:
Coal's future darkens around the world
The future of coal is getting darker. Economic forces, pollution concerns and competition from cleaner fuels are slowly nudging nations around the globe away from the fuel that made the industrial revolution possible. The U.S. will burn 943 million tons of coal this year, only about as much as it did in 1993. Now it's on the verge of adopting pollution rules that may all but prohibit the construction of new coal plants. And China, which burns 4 billion tons of coal a year -- as much as the rest of the world combined -- is taking steps to slow the staggering growth of its coal consumption and may even be approaching a peak. ...


That death can't come soon enough.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Mississippi Coal Plant Overruns Show Risks of Carbon Rule
Coal's future is being built in rural Mississippi, and so far this is what it looks like: a $1 billion cost overrun, a stew of legal battles, a revolt by ratepayers and a credit downgrade for the local utility. With all those challenges, Southern Co. (SO)'s $4.7 billion project in Kemper County may still be coal's best hope to survive President Barack Obama's limits on greenhouse-gas emissions. "It's a transformative project," said John Thompson, a director of the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based environmental group. "It will be the largest and cleanest coal plant in the world, but I don't think it will hold that title for long." ...


Even when coal is "clean" it's costly.

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Wed, Sep 11, 2013
from Christian Science Monitor:
'50 dirtiest' US power plants emit more greenhouse gases than South Korea
Fifty US power plants emit more greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels than all but six nations, says a new report. The study by Environment America paints a bulls-eye on the nation's biggest coal-fired power plants, suggesting that reining in a relatively small share of America's 6,000 electric generating facilities could have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions.... The administration's goal is to have power plant emissions regulations in place by 2015, and the new study provides a window into which plants could face steep federal fines unless they slash emissions or close....The "50 dirtiest" power plants generated nearly 33 percent of the US power sector's carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 but only about 16 percent of its electricity. ...


Now that's what I call dirty.

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Wed, Sep 4, 2013
from Huffington Post:
'War On Coal' Campaign Against Obama Has Failed, Coal Lobby Concedes
The leading lobbying group for coal companies has acknowledged that the industry's relentless "War on Coal" mantra used to attack the Obama administration has been a failure politically. In a screed against alleged regulatory overreach by federal judges in Washington, Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association, writes that the "War on Coal" refrain used to criticize environmental regulation simply failed to resonate with voters during 2012. ...


Perhaps it failed because it's coal we should be at war against!

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Fri, Aug 23, 2013
from Casper Star-Tribune:
A Wyoming first: No bids for coal mining tract in Powder River Basin
At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, U.S. Bureau of Land Management employees in Cheyenne gathered to unseal envelopes containing bids and checks from coal companies hoping to score the rights to dig in the Powder River Basin. But there were no envelopes to open. No companies bid on the coal lease, said BLM spokeswoman Beverly Gorny. "This is the first time it's happened in Wyoming," she said. Minutes later, Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which owns the mine that had first asked the federal government to lease the coal tract nearly seven years ago, released a statement saying mining the coal wasn't economical. ...


Let today serve as a beacon of hope!

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Wed, Aug 14, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Large coal power plants getting life extensions
The nation's big coal-burning power plants are not ready to become dinosaurs. Utilities are making substantial investments to keep their largest coal generating stations operating for decades -- and emitting millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. Upgrades planned or underway at more than 100 Midwestern coal power plants will reduce emissions of mercury or other air pollutants. But they won't affect greenhouse gas emissions that the Obama administration says it will regulate in 2015 to address climate change. ...


Ol' man coal plant ... He don't say nuthin' ... He jes' keeps rollin' along

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Q&A: ALEC's new tactics to weaken renewable laws
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) continued its assault on state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) during its 40th annual conference in Chicago earlier this month, with members voting on model legislation that could limit the power of the laws to spark new clean energy construction. Though bills meant to revoke or undercut renewable standards in numerous states failed last session, clean energy advocates say the model Market Power Renewables Act and the Renewable Energy Credit Act proposed by ALEC's energy task force during the conference pose a fresh threat. The Market Power Renewables Act argues for a "voluntary market" that would allow people to invest in renewable energy if they choose without instituting mandates... ...


The only thing "voluntary" the fossil fuel industry does is voluntarily ruin the earth.

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Tue, Aug 6, 2013
from Indianapolis Star:
Six days after opening, Duke Energy's controversial $3.5B Edwardsport plant shut down
Six days after opening, Duke Energy's controversial $3.5 billion power plant in Edwardsport broke down, new regulatory filings show. Critics say ratepayers could foot the bill for repairs, despite a settlement last year intended to cap the amount Duke could charge electricity customers for the plant's construction costs, which exceeded original estimates by $1.5 billion. Duke officials say such interruptions are to be expected with a new, complicated plant. Who will pay for the repairs will vary on a case-by-case basis, the company said. ...


And on the seventh day, the Coal Gods rested.

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Wed, May 22, 2013
from Columbus Dispatch:
Consumers could pay to clean up old natural-gas plants
Natural-gas utilities want to change the law to make clear that consumers rather than shareholders can be charged cleanup costs for about 90 abandoned natural-gas plants in the state, according to an amendment that might get tucked into the state budget. Some of the gas plants date to the 1800s, when communities used coal and other fuels to manufacture natural gas for use in lighting. The plants have all shut down, leaving polluted sites that have largely been absorbed by the state's major utilities. ...


The customer is always screwed.

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from Bloomberg News:
Coal Mines' Methane Curbs Fall Victim to EPA Budget Cuts
Methane emissions from coal mines escaped being curbed by the Environmental Protection Agency, which said mandatory U.S. budget cuts didn't leave it with the resources to determine if the pollution is a significant risk. The EPA rejected a petition from environmental groups, which three years ago asked the agency to limit the greenhouse gases released from the mines.... The denial, set to be published tomorrow in the Federal Register, is at least the fourth category of emitters the agency has refused to regulate, disappointing groups and some lawmakers who say that EPA needs to take bolder, quicker action to combat the threat of global warming. EPA turned down a petition to curb emissions from aircraft, ships and off-highway trucks in June. ...


EPA: Environmental Pusillanimity Agency

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
EPA settles with Wisconsin utilities on coal plant air pollution
Wisconsin Power & Light Co. and three other utilities will spend $1.2 billion to clean up coal-fired power plants and shut down older plants under a settlement announced Monday with federal regulators. Under a settlement filed in federal court in Madison on Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department will assess a civil penalty of $2.45 million for alleged violations of air pollution laws over the years.... Utility ratepayers won't have to pay for the civil penalties... But it's possible they could pay for the environmental mitigation costs. And over time they will be on the hook for paying for the construction of environmental controls at the coal boilers that will remain open. ...


Even though it's chump change for a utility, still we hope the chumps might change.

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Reuters:
U.S. utilities to burn more coal as natgas prices climb -traders
... The relative price difference between NYMEX Central Appalachian coal and NYMEX Henry Hub gas is at its widest since June 2011 at almost $1.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to Reuters data. Natural gas traded at $3.87 per mmBtu on Friday morning, while Eastern coal was selling at $2.40 per mmBtu. Prices of Central Appalachian coal have slipped to their lowest levels since late January. Meanwhile, natural gas prices climbed to their highest levels since November due to four straight weeks of larger-than-expected drawdowns from inventories. ...


The cheapest form of energy remains my sequestered belches.

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Wed, Feb 20, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Obama Golfed With Oil Men As Climate Protesters Descended On White House
On the same weekend that 40,000 people gathered on the Mall in Washington to protest construction of the Keystone Pipeline -- to its critics, a monument to carbon-based folly -- President Obama was golfing in Florida with a pair of Texans who are key oil, gas and pipeline players. Obama has not shied away from supporting domestic drilling, especially for relatively clean natural gas, but in his most recent State of the Union speech he stressed the urgency of addressing climate change by weaning the country and the world from dependence on carbon-based fuels.... on his first "guys weekend" away since he was reelected, the president chose to spend his free time with Jim Crane and Milton Carroll, leading figures in the Texas oil and gas industry, along with other men who run companies that deal in the same kinds of carbon-based services that Keystone would enlarge. ...


At least he wasn't racing Hummers with them.

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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Texas developer cancels power plant, blames Obama climate push
Developers quietly ended their push last week to open a new Texas coal-fired power plant... President Obama's renewed attention on climate change and low natural gas prices persuaded White Stallion to call off the 1,200-megawatt project. ...


Po' liddle fossil fool.

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Thu, Jan 31, 2013
from Washington Post:
China now burning as much coal as the rest of the world combined
China's coal use grew 9 percent in 2011, rising to 3.8 billion tons. At this point, the country is burning nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined. Coal, of course, is the world's premier fossil fuel, a low-cost source of electricity that kicks a lot of carbon-dioxide up into the atmosphere. And China's growing appetite is a big reason why global greenhouse-gas emissions have soared in recent years, even as the United States and Europe have managed to curtail their coal use and cut their carbon pollution. Will this last? That's the big question. Chinese coal use slipped a bit in 2012 as the country's economy slowed. And the International Energy Agency expects Chinese coal demand to taper off in the coming years, growing at a slower 3.7 percent annual pace between 2011 and 2016. Other projections suggest that China coal use will peak by 2030, as the nation shifts to cleaner forms of energy. ...


They manufacture more worthless crap than the rest of the world combined, too... could there be a connection?

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from ClimateWire:
Ontario Phases Out Coal-Fired Power
By the end of the year, Ontario will become the first jurisdiction in North America to shut down almost its entire coal fleet. Yesterday, the province announced that its last two large coal units will close before 2014, making more than 99 percent of the province's electricity generated from non-coal sources. It is a major shift for Ontario, which fired 25 percent of its grid from coal a decade ago. ...


Ontario, u da man!

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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from London Guardian:
More than 1,000 new coal plants planned worldwide, figures show
More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research has revealed. The huge planned expansion comes despite warnings from politicians, scientists and campaigners that the planet's fast-rising carbon emissions must peak within a few years if runaway climate change is to be avoided and that fossil fuel assets risk becoming worthless if international action on global warming moves forward. ...


Happy Thanksgiving!

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Mon, Oct 22, 2012
from Associated Press:
'War On Coal' Label Obscures Reality During Presidential Campaign
...Blame the president, the script goes. Blame the Environmental Protection Agency. And now that it's election season, blame all incumbent politicians -- even those who have spent their careers in a delicate dance, trying to make mines safer while allowing their operators to prosper. The war on coal is a sound bite and a headline, perpetuated by pundits, power companies and public relations consultants who have crafted a neat label for a complex set of realities, one that compels people to choose sides... In reality, U.S. Department of Labor figures show the number of coal jobs nationwide has grown steadily since 2008, with consistent gains in West Virginia and Virginia, and ups and down in Kentucky. ...


Who needs reality when making shit up is sooooo much more fun!

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Mon, Oct 15, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Indiana coal controversy prompts push for more transparency in utility planning
For the first time in 17 years, Indiana's public utility commission is rewriting the state's rule governing how utilities develop long-term plans to meet electricity demand. The new rule could force the state's five investor-owned utilities to face more public scrutiny in developing their plans, and perhaps move more quickly than they might otherwise toward reducing carbon emissions. But the utilities are pushing back, saying that since they have the most skin in the game, they should have the most say over their plans. ...


They have skin in the game we only have lungs.

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Reuters:
More US coal plants to retire due to green rules: study
More U.S. coal-fired power plants could retire due to environmental regulations and weaker-than-expected electric demand, costing the industry up to $144 billion, economists at consultancy Brattle Group said. In a new study, Brattle's economists forecast 59,000 to 77,000 megawatts (MW) of coal plant capacity would likely retire over the next five years. That was about 25,000 MW more than the firm had estimated in 2010, Brattle said in a release. There is about 317,000 MW of coal-fired capacity now in the United States. ...


The golf courses are going to be full!

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Mon, Oct 8, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Q&A: Is Midwest coal destined for Asia?
As coal-fired power plants are closing down across the U.S. -- the result of competition from cheap natural gas and tougher pollution rules -- coal companies are looking to ramp up their exports overseas. Coal exports from the U.S. have already increased significantly in the past few years. The U.S. has long exported coal for power plants and steel-making (thermal and metallurgical, respectively) to Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. But now companies are looking to build new ports or expand existing ports in the Pacific Northwest and on the East and Gulf coasts. ...


(singing) Coal! Coal will bring us together!

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Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from ClimateWire:
Sagging economy, doubts about coal prompt power companies to sell more plants
Dominion Resources' plan to shed 4,000 megawatts from its merchant power portfolio by next year illustrates just how dramatically electricity markets have changed in an era of tightening regulation, volatile fuel prices and a sluggish economy... Mike King, head of the energy, environment and network industries practice at NERA Economic Consulting, said the electric power sector is weathering major disruptions caused by technology, policy, regulatory and market forces. Among these are low gas prices sparked by the technological advancements in oil and gas drilling, and government policies promoting renewables and energy efficiency. Finally, new regulations targeting coal-fired power plant emissions have required significant upgrades in coal plants, making it difficult for their owners to make money. ...


Viva la disruptions!

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Tue, Sep 11, 2012
from Charleston Gazette:
Anti-mountaintop-removal activist Larry Gibson dies
Renowned environmentalist and mountaintop removal opponent Larry Gibson died of a heart attack Sunday afternoon while working on Kayford Mountain -- the place he dedicated his life to protecting. Gibson spent decades rallying against the coal industry's impact on Appalachia and was named one of CNN's "Heroes" in 2007. He appeared on ABC's 20/20, traveled the country speaking out against mountaintop removal mining and testified before the United Nations with his signature slogan "Love 'em or leave 'em, just don't destroy 'em." ...


RIA: Rest in Activism

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Wed, Aug 22, 2012
from Guardian:
US court overturns coal pollution ruling
A US appeals court overturned a key Obama administration rule to reduce harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants on Tuesday. The Columbia district circuit appeals court said in a 2-1 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency had exceeded its mandate with the rule, which was to limit sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants in 28 mostly eastern states and Texas.... The decision was cheered by Republicans who have made the EPA and President Barack Obama's environmental policies a major campaign issue ahead of November elections. The agency is risking a fragile economic recovery by saddling US industries with costly new rules, Republicans say. "The Obama-EPA continues to demonstrate that it will stop at nothing in its determination to kill coal," said Republican senator James Inhofe, one of the most vocal EPA opponents in the US Senate. ...


Mandate exceeded. Do not pass "Go." Do not collect environmental protection.

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Wed, Aug 1, 2012
from Charleston Gazette:
EPA mine water-pollution guidelines thrown out
Dealing another blow to the Obama administration's crackdown on mountaintop removal, a federal judge on Tuesday threw out new federal guidance that aimed to reduce water pollution from Appalachian coal mining operations. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority under federal water protection and strip mining laws when it issued the water quality guidance. ...


Humans: 1, Mountaintops: 0

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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from Center for Public Integrity:
U.S. issues fines, orders upgrades at coal-fired power plants
In the latest settlement targeting toxic emissions from power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department have issued a $950,000 fine and ordered millions in pollution control technology at three coal-fired power plants in Wisconsin. Plant operator Dairyland Power Cooperative will pay the civil penalty, invest $150 million in pollution control technology and spend $5 million on environmental mitigation projects, the EPA said in a Clean Air Act pact announced June 29. "This settlement will improve air quality in Wisconsin and downwind areas by significantly reducing releases of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other harmful pollutants,” Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, said in a statement. ...


On behalf of The Downwind Coalition, I thank you.

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Tue, May 22, 2012
from UPI:
High mercury levels found in wild dolphins
A study has found higher levels of toxic mercury in dolphins downwind of power plants than in captive dolphins, U.S. researchers say. Scientists from The Johns Hopkins University and The National Aquarium said they compared levels of the chemical in captive dolphins fed a controlled diet with dolphins found in the wild that dine on marine life that may carry more of the toxic metal. Levels of mercury were lower in the captive animals compared to wild dolphins tested off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, a state that is in the path of mercury-laden fumes from power plants, they reported Monday. ...


And the conclusion is... Capture and cage all dolphins!

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Fri, Mar 30, 2012
from Washington Times:
Churches step up environmental activism
God is going green. With a Bible in one hand and a protest sign in the other, many religious activists are now moving in lockstep with the environmental movement in the fight against oil and gas drilling. Stewardship of the Earth is hardly a new concept in Christian thought -- it's mentioned in Genesis -- but a growing school of theological thought leaders are getting out of the pew, marching on the picket line, and becoming specific-issue activists. ...


Amen!

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Washington Post:
EPA imposes first greenhouse gas limits on new power plants
The Environmental Protection Agency issued the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants Tuesday, but stopped short of imposing any restrictions on the nation's existing coal-fired fleet.... The rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls. ...


Po' widdle coal plants.

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Thu, Mar 15, 2012
from UNH, via PhysOrg:
UNH research adds to mounting evidence against popular pavement sealcoat
The research, detailed in a recent feature article in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, has found that one type of pavement sealcoat, common on driveways and parking lots throughout the nation, has significant health and ecosystem implications. Alison Watts, research assistant professor of civil engineering at UNH, is a co-author of the article "Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the Environment, Human Health, and Stormwater Management." Sealcoat, a black surface applied over asphalt pavements that is marketed as improving appearance and enhancing pavement longevity, is made of either an asphalt emulsion or a refined coal-tar pitch emulsion. Although the two sealcoats are similar in appearance and cost, concentrations of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), a group of organic compounds known to be detrimental to human and ecosystem health, are about 1,000 times higher in coal-tar-based sealcoats than those based in asphalt.... Studies at the Columbia Center for Children's Health have found that PAHs in homes can contribute to delays in cognitive development, asthma and other respiratory symptoms, obesity and metabolic disorders, or changes at the molecular level that could increase children's cancer risk. Unlike many complex environmental issues, however, this one has a relatively painless fix: avoid coal-tar-based sealcoats in favor of asphalt-based ones, or no sealcoat at all. "Consumers generally can't tell the difference," Watts says. ...


I'm apPAHled.

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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from The Denver Post:
Hickenlooper's spiel in oil, gas ad irks environmentalists
Environmental groups on Monday urged Gov. John Hickenlooper to yank ads paid for by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association in which he claims there has been no contamination of groundwater associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Hickenlooper's office declined to address that request, but COGA issued a statement saying it stands by "our Public Service Announcements." ...


This cozy relationship between government and business is fascistnating.

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Fri, Feb 10, 2012
from The Hill:
Religious right bashes green evangelicals for supporting EPA rules
Religious-right leaders are slamming a green evangelical group for casting support for Environmental Protection Agency rules to cut power plant mercury emissions as a "pro-life" position. In a lengthy statement, religious leaders including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, officials with Focus on the Family and other groups that oppose abortion rights take aim at the Evangelical Environmental Network's ad campaign in favor of EPA's rules. ...


Dontcha just love a good, juicy holy war?

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Thu, Feb 9, 2012
from DesdemonaDespair:
Map of All Mercury Emissions from U.S. Coal-fired Power Plants, November 2011
Number of U.S. water bodies impaired by mercury, a particularly toxic component of coal plant pollution: 3,781 Of the 50 U.S. states, number that have fish consumption advisories due to unsafe mercury pollution levels: 50 Factor by which one study found mercury concentrations in fish have increased from the 1930s to today: 10 Portion of U.S. women of childbearing age who have enough mercury in their bloodstream to put their offspring at risk of health effects: 1 in 6 Percentage of U.S. women of childbearing age that had inorganic mercury in their blood in 1999: 2 That percentage in 2006: 30... Amount of mercury released by U.S. coal-fired power plants in 2009: 134,365 pounds ...


Um... that mercury will biodegrade, right?

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Wed, Feb 8, 2012
from Bill McKibben, on TomDispatch:
The Great Carbon Bubble
Still, [the energy companies] could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they've got a deeper problem, one that's become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won't be burned if we ever take global warming seriously. When I talked about a carbon bubble at the beginning of this essay, this is what I meant. Here are some of the relevant numbers, courtesy of the Capital Institute: we're already seeing widespread climate disruption, but if we want to avoid utter, civilization-shaking disaster, many scientists have pointed to a two-degree rise in global temperatures as the most we could possibly deal with. If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we'll quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons -- five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground. Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela). If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that's far scarier than drought and flood. It's why you'll do anything -- including fund an endless campaigns of lies -- to avoid coming to terms with its reality. ...


That's twenty trillion dollars of economic development!

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from Australia ABC News:
Learn from climate history: epidemiologist
The decline of the Mayan empire; the Black Death and the Great Famine in medieval Europe and the collapse of the Ming Dynasty; what's the link? The ANU's Professor Tony McMichael says it's climate change. He argues that whether the temperature goes up or down, or it rains less or more, civilisation is threatened thanks to reduced food production, more disease, wars and displacement. The professor of population health at the ANU's Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health has looked at the climate record going back 7,000 years. ...


He's more like an epidoomiologist.

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from New York Times:
India's Air the World's Unhealthiest, Study Says
India's has the worst air pollution in the entire world, beating China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, according to a study released during this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. Of 132 countries whose environments were surveyed, India ranks dead last in the 'Air (effects on human health)' ranking. The annual study, the Environmental Performance Index, is conducted and written by environmental research centers at Yale and Columbia universities with assistance from dozens of outside scientists. The study uses satellite data to measure air pollution concentrations. ...


Indiaaaack!

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Fri, Jan 27, 2012
from Charlotte Observer:
Toxic metals found in water near coal plants
As the Environmental Protection Agency mulled the first federal ash-handling rules, which are still on hold, utilities and state agencies began looking for local problems. Duke Energy and Progress Energy sank test wells around their ash ponds several years ago and found tainted groundwater. N.C. officials told them in 2010 to sink more wells, farther from the ponds. That led to results the N.C. Division of Water Quality is now reporting. Iron, manganese and low pH, all in excess of what the state says is allowable, were found at all 14 plants. Duke and Progress each own seven. Sulfate, dissolved solids and chromium were found at seven plants. Boron was found at six, arsenic at three, and selenium, thallium and antimony at two. Chloride and nickel were each detected at one plant.... Techniques exist to "fingerprint" the source of elements that occur both in ash and naturally, said Avner Vengosh, a Duke University geochemist. While iron and manganese are commonly detected, he said, elements such as boron and strontium are more closely associated with ash. Power plant ash ponds also drain into the rivers and lakes the power plants use for cooling water. The three Duke power plants closest to Charlotte, Riverbend overlooking Mountain Island Lake, Allen on Lake Wylie and Marshall on Lake Norman, discharge 23 million gallons a day from their ponds. ...


(time + capital) x (desire + ignorance) = (bioaccumulation + extinction). We're kicking ass!

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Tue, Jan 24, 2012
from New York Times:
Mercury's Harmful Reach Has Grown, Study Suggests
The strict new federal standards limiting pollution from power plants are meant to safeguard human health. But they should have an important side benefit, according to a study being released on Tuesday: protecting a broad array of wildlife that has been harmed by mercury emissions.... Methylmercury, the most toxic form of the heavy metal, was found to be widespread throughout the Northeast -- not just in lakes and rivers, as had already been known, but also in forests, on mountaintops and in bogs and marshes that are home to birds long thought to be at minimal risk. ...


I'll bring the pitchfork.

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Mon, Jan 16, 2012
from Bluefield Daily Telegraph:
Record coal load on its way to China from Virginia
Norfolk Southern Railway set a new record in terms of shipping coal tonnage by loading 159,941.45 net tons of metallurgical coal on an ocean-going vessel bound for China.... "This is a great indication of the shortage of met coal last year that forced the world to come to the U.S. buy the coal to meet their steel-making needs," Rick Taylor, president of the Pocahontas Coal Association said.... NS employees were able to load the record-breaking load on the 951-foot M/V Cape Dover in less than 48 hours. Pier 6 was added to the railroad's Norfolk load-out facility in 1962. Prior to the construction of the space shuttle launch tower, NS's Lambert's Point loaders were the largest pieces of moving machinery in the world. The total site encompasses 400 acres at the mouth of the Elizabeth River in Hampton Roads. In 2010, Pier 6 transloaded 16.7 million tons of coal. With both dumpers and both ship loaders working, Pier 6 can load about 8,000 tons of coal per hour. The pier is 1,850 feet long, according to information provided by NS. ...


The mountaintops are trembling.

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Fri, Dec 23, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
The Coal Age Is Nearer to Its End
After burning coal to light up Cincinnati for six decades, the Walter C. Beckjord Generating Station will go dark soon -- a fate that will be shared by dozens of aging coal-fired power plants across the U.S. in coming years. Their owners cite a raft of new air-pollution regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, including a rule released Wednesday that limits mercury and other emissions, for the shut-downs. But energy experts say there is an even bigger reason coal plants are losing out: cheap and abundant natural gas, which is booming thanks to a surge in production from shale-rock formations... ...


RIP: Rest In Particulates

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Wed, Dec 21, 2011
from National Journal:
EPA Unveils Long-Awaited Mercury Rule
Appearing at Washington's Children's Hospital with public health leaders at her side, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday unveiled the nation's first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The sweeping regulations -- mandated by Congress in 1990 and delayed by prolonged litigation, lobbying, and legislative battles --will require utilities to cut at least 90 percent of their emissions of mercury, a neurotoxin known to cause brain damage and other health problems, particularly in developing fetuses and young children...EPA says the rule will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and prevent thousands of respiratory illnesses, which could translate into $90 billion in health and economic benefits a year. ...


What will we do with all this extra health and money!? Squander it, mindlessly, I suppose...

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Press Asociation:
Stray showers of mercury getting into food chain
Earth is being showered with mercury that can land anywhere and enter the food chain, a study has shown. The poisonous metal is released as a vapour by burning fuel then falls back to Earth and is easily absorbed by the aquatic ecosystem. Thousands of tonnes of mercury vapour are pumped into the air each year. Scientists discovered that in time mercury is oxidised it can then be deposited back on Earth, either in rain or snow. Bacteria transform the oxidised mercury into methyl mercury, which easily enters the food chain. US scientist Dr Seth Lyman, who led the research while at the University of Washington Bothell, said: "Much of the emitted mercury is deposited far from its original sources.["] ...


Mercury... ubiquitous messenger of doom.

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Fri, Nov 25, 2011
from Bloomberg News:
Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks. Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the most recent data. Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal. "The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable," United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. "You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis." The findings indicate the world is shifting toward consuming more renewable energy even without a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. ...


Durban be damned; leaders be let go; renewables rule!

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Truthout:
Annie Leonard's The Story of Broke
...Wait a minute. Broke? I'm sending in my share of hard-earned cash every month and so are you! Now, what we've got to work with shrinks a lot thanks to corporate tax loopholes and unprecedented tax breaks for the richest 1 percent. But even after those, we've still got over a trillion dollars. So if we're broke, what's happening to all that money? I decided to look into it and it turns out this whole "broke" story hides a much bigger story -- a story of some really dumb choices being made for us -- but that actually work against us. The good news is that these are choices, and we can make different ones. ...


The revolution will be animated.

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Earth Policy Institute:
U.S. Carbon Emissions Down 7 Percent in Four Years: Even Bigger Drops Coming
Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped 10 percent. During the same period, emissions from oil use dropped 11 percent. In contrast, carbon emissions from natural gas use increased by 6 percent. The net effect of these trends was that U.S. carbon emissions dropped 7 percent in four years. And this is only the beginning. The initial fall in coal and oil use was triggered by the economic downturn, but now powerful new forces are reducing the use of both... In August, the American Economic Review -- the country's most prestigious economics journal -- published an article that can only be described as an epitaph for the coal industry. The authors conclude that the economic damage caused by air pollutants from coal burning exceeds the value of the electricity produced by coal-fired power plants. Coal fails the cost-benefit analysis even before the costs of climate change are tallied. ...


RIP ... Rest In Pollution

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Beijing air pollution 'hazardous': US embassy
Air pollution in Beijing reached "hazardous" levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as thick smog blanketed the city for the third day running, forcing the closure of highways and cancellation of flights. The Chinese capital is one of the most polluted cities in the world, mainly due to its growing energy consumption -- much of which is still fuelled by coal-fired power stations -- and the high number of cars on the road. A "hazardous" rating by the US embassy, whose evaluation of the city's air quality often differs markedly from the official Chinese rating, is the worst on a six-point scale and indicates the whole population is likely to be affected....By contrast, China's environment ministry said Beijing's air was just "slightly polluted"... ...


I like to think of it as "deliciously viscous."

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from Fox Business:
US House Votes 267-144 To Block EPA Coal-Ash Regulation
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the waste from coal-fired power plants as a hazardous material, taking a swipe at a long-running movement to establish stricter protections against the toxin-laden waste from leaching into the water. "This is a very scary prospect for communities living near coal-ash dumps--it's a huge step backwards," said Lisa Evans, an attorney with Earthjustice who has spent years pushing for federal regulation of coal-waste sites. Republicans, who have pushed all year to rein in the EPA, have singled out the agency's proposed coal-ash regulations as an example of regulatory overreach. ...


Buncha ashholes.

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Wed, Sep 14, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Coal Industry Backs Boehner
U.S. coal companies have pumped $1.5 million into House Speaker John Boehner's political operation this year, a sign of the industry's beefed-up efforts to fight new and proposed regulations from the Obama administration. The coal industry now ranks as one of the top sources of cash for the Ohio Republican, rivaling such perennial GOP donors as Wall Street and the real-estate industry. A large part of the coal industry's donations came in a single week at the end of June. ...


all that coal money / must be giving Congressman / Boehner a woody

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Wed, Sep 7, 2011
from The Ecologist:
China exports its environmental problems as consumer culture booms
Despite its well publicised investment in green technology, China today has an unenviable list of ecological problems; its reliance on coal has left it with 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world; the north of the country is prone to frequent water shortages which have created hundreds of thousands of "environmental refugees"; and the dumping of chemicals into the Yangtze and other rivers means half the Chinese population drink water contaminated with human and animal excrement. In a new book, 'As China Goes, So Goes the World', Oxford professor Karl Gerth, claims that many of these problems have been directly caused by China's move towards a more consumerist society. ...


Consumers consume. That's what we do.

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Wed, Aug 31, 2011
from Gannett News Service:
House GOP to focus on EPA, labor regulations this fall
WASHINGTON - Scaling back environmental regulations on coal ash and power plant pollution will be a top priority for House Republicans when they return from summer recess next week, according to a memo that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent fellow Republicans on Monday. Several proposed or recently enacted Environmental Protection Agency rules addressing coal ash disposal and emissions from power plants number among Cantor's list of 10 "job-destroying regulations" that the GOP will seek to undo in the next few months, his memo said. ...


Back to the people's business of poisoning the planet!

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Mon, Aug 15, 2011
from Indian Country Today:
Navajo Aquifer Concerns May Prove True
For years, Native opponents of a massive strip mine on Black Mesa in northern Arizona have said longstanding extractive practices of Peabody Energy Corp. (formerly Peabody Western Coal Co.) have depleted a major aquifer on which they depend and a recent analysis seems to bear them out. "The mining-related impacts on the aquifer are more significant than have been recognized or acknowledged," said Dr. Daniel Higgins, who performed the analysis as part of Arid Lands Resource Studies, graduate interdisciplinary programs, University of Arizona, Tucson.... The aquifer Higgins studied for more than five years provides drinking water to Native communities and is a source of water below Black Mesa that feeds sacred springs. Opponents object to the further industrial use of the pristine aquifer water.... But it's not like a bank account, he explained,"because being able to see any change or reversal (in aquifer depletion) is going to take a tremendous amount of time in a large aquifer. The impacts will get worse before they get better--it's not like flipping a switch." A federal geochemical analysis in 1997 determined that 90 percent of the water in the N-Aquifer is 10,000 to 35,000 years old. "Technically, that 90 percent of the water is not replenishable on a human time-scale but only on a geological time-scale," he said. ...


"Industrial use" and "sacred springs" mix like coal and water.

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011
from The Tennessean:
Coal ash taints groundwater at TVA sites, report finds
A new report says groundwater contamination from coal ash has been found at Gallatin and eight of the nine other Tennessee Valley Authority fossil power plant sites where testing is being done. Levels of toxic substances found at the Gallatin plant site in Sumner County and at the Cumberland site, 50 miles northwest of Nashville, are high enough that they could create a health hazard, the report says. Beryllium, cadmium and nickel levels are above drinking water standards at Gallatin, as are arsenic, selenium and vanadium at Cumberland. One major surprise also showed up in the review by TVA's Office of Inspector General: For more than a decade, the TVA had been finding substances in groundwater at its Allen coal-fired plant in Memphis that indicated toxic metals could be leaking from a coal ash pond there. ...


How shocking that a toxic pollutant would taint groundwater!

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Reuters:
Ohio leads list of top 20 states with toxic air
People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are most at risk in the United States from toxic emissions spewing from coal and oil-fired power plants, two leading American enviromental groups said in a report on Wednesday. Electricity generation and chemical processing were the top culprits for dangerous emissions, which can lead to or worsen ailments such as asthma and cancer, according to the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility... "Power plants are the biggest industrial toxic air polluters in our country, putting children and families at risk by dumping deadly and dangerous poisons into the air we breathe," said Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council...The findings underline the need for strong action by the Environmental Protection Agency to spur industry to clean up the emissions, Lashof said. ...


Or, we can just consider this outrage as acceptable casualties.

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Fri, Jul 8, 2011
from New York Times:
E.P.A. Issues Tougher Rules for Power Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued new standards for power plants in 28 states that would sharply cut emissions of chemicals that have polluted forests, farms, lakes and streams across the Eastern United States for decades. The agency said the regulations, which will take effect in 2012, would reduce emissions of compounds that cause soot, smog and acid rain from hundreds of power plants by millions of tons at an additional cost to utilities of less than $1 billion a year. The E.P.A. said the cleaner air would prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks and hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma and other respiratory ailments every year. ...


But... the healthier people are, the longer they live and the more electricity they'll need.

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from CBC:
China's pollution temporarily slowed climate change
Scientists have come up with a possible explanation for why the rise in Earth's temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s, one of the hottest decades on record. The answer seems counterintuitive. It's all that sulphur pollution in the air from China's massive coal-burning, according to a new study. Sulphur particles in the air deflect the sun's rays and can temporarily cool things down a bit. That can happen even as coal-burning produces the carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming.... But sulphur's cooling effect is only temporary, while the carbon dioxide from coal burning stays in Earth's atmosphere a long time. Chinese coal consumption doubled between 2003 and 2007, and that caused a 26 per cent increase in global coal consumption, Kaufmann said.... Sulphur quickly drops out of the air if it is not replenished, while carbon dioxide remains for a long time, so its warming effects are beginning to be visible again, he noted. The plateau in temperature growth disappeared in 2009 and 2010, when temperatures lurched upward. ...


Now we have no excuse not to be subjects of King Coal!

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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Mountaintop Removal Mining Birth Defects: New Study Suggests Controversial Coal Operations Linked To Adverse Health Effects
Researchers found "significantly higher" rates of birth defects in babies born near mountaintop removal mining sites than those in non-mining areas, according to a new study released last week. Mountaintop removal mining is a particularly environmentally destructive type of resource extraction that involves using explosives to blow the tops off of mountains to expose coal underneath the soil and rock. The unusable dirt and gravel are then disposed of in adjacent valleys and streams. MTR is used prominently in the Appalachian region of the eastern United States.... It found that rates for six out of seven types of birth defects -- circulatory/respiratory, central nervous system, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, urogenital and "other" -- were increased near MTR sites. The research suggests that contaminants are released into nearby environments from MTR, and that many of the contaminants are known to impair fetal development. "Rates for any anomaly were approximately 235 per 100,000 live births in the mountaintop mining area versus 144 per 100,000 live births in the non-mining area," the study says. Although not as high as near MTR sites, it also found increased incidences of birth defects in communities near underground mines.... "For those who actually pay attention to science, it's irrefutable," Kincaid said. "Would it be more obvious if the coal industry were using machine guns or gas chambers?"... Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association Jason Bostic ... contends that there is "no connection" between coal mining and birth defects, and brushes off the study as "a fairy tale." "If anything, the involvement of the coal industry helps offset what would otherwise be worse health defects from poverty, isolation and lack of access to preventative medicine," Bostic said. "We're the ones providing health benefits and wellness plans to our employees and their dependents. Take us away and see how well it goes." ...


You can't make an omelet without flattening mountains and causing birth defects!

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Wed, Jun 22, 2011
from ClimateProgress:
Another U.S. Coal Plant to Shutter. Will Renewables and Efficiency Fill the Gap?
A municipal utility in Texas said this week that it plans to shut down an 871-MW coal plant within the next 7 years to avoid spending $3 billion for pollution controls. The Deely plant, operated by CPS Energy, has been running for more than 30 years - making it a candidate for environmental upgrades to comply with pending federal standards for mercury and air toxics. Rather than invest in a new coal plant, however, the company plans on making up for the production loss by investing in 780 MW of energy efficiency capacity and 1,500 MW of renewable energy, including 44 MW of contracts from solar PV plants. Sierra Club issued a statement this week celebrating the planned closure, saying that solar "will replace that dirty electricity and bring clean energy jobs to Texas."... What will fill in the gap? The contracts from CPS Energy are likely a good indicator of how that gap will be filled: Some efficiency, a mix of renewables, a good amount of natural gas, and, potentially, some cleaner coal electricity from new plants (if they get built.) According to data from the solar industry, the dropping costs of solar PV make the resource competitive with new coal plants that will be built over the next 8 years. These are solar PV plants in areas with high solar resources, not everywhere in the country. If that's the case, solar and other renewables will likely make up a larger portion of new contracts. ...


Seven years? No problem. We can wait.

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Reuters:
U.S. EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to Sept. 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. ...


Sounds like the EPA is having performance anxiety.

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Fri, May 6, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Aging Indiana power plant to shut down, cutting Chicago-area air pollution
One of the nation's dirtiest power plants is shutting down, a move that will scrap a major source of lung- and heart-damaging air pollution in the Chicago area. Facing a federal complaint, more stringent pollution limits and smaller profit margins, Virginia-based Dominion Resources is writing off the State Line Power Station, an aging coal-fired generator sandwiched between Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyway at the Illinois-Indiana border. In a recent conference call with financial analysts, Dominion executives announced they had decided it isn't worth upgrading the plant to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. ...


Farewell old faithful and foul friend.

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Thu, Apr 28, 2011
from USA Today:
Metro areas with dirtiest air get cleaner
Most U.S. cities with the dirtiest air are getting cleaner, but about half of Americans still live in areas where it's often difficult to breathe, the American Lung Association reports today. The group's 12th annual "State of the Air" report comes amid congressional efforts to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions....EPA's 2009 data, released last week, shows total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions -- primarily carbon dioxide -- fell 6.1 percent from 2008, the largest decline in at least five years. The agency, which began a multiyear plan to regulate these emissions in January, attributed the drop to less polluting fuels and lower energy consumption because of the recession. ...


The United States of Airborne Particulates

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Greenwire:
Shale Gas Isn't Cleaner Than Coal, Cornell Researchers Say
Cornell University researchers say that natural gas pried from shale formations is dirtier than coal in the short term, rather than cleaner, and "comparable" in the long term. That finding -- fiercely disputed by the gas industry -- undermines the widely stated belief that gas is twice as "clean" as coal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The gas industry has promoted that concept as a way for electric utilities to prepare for climate change regulations by switching from coal-fired plants to gas.... "Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20 percent greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years," states a pre-publication copy (pdf) of the study... ...


Sounds like just another shale game to me.

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from Forbes:
Salazar opens 750M tons of Wyo. coal to mining
nterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans Tuesday to auction off vast coal reserves in Wyoming over the next five months, unleashing a significant but controversial power source amid uncertainty about clean and safe energy development. ...


Salazar = Salaczar

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from Discover:
Made in China: Our Toxic, Imported Air Pollution
Mercury, sulfates, ozone, black carbon, flu-laced desert dust. Even as America tightens emission standards, the fast-growing economies of Asia are filling the air with hazardous components that circumnavigate the globe. "There is no place called away." It is a statement worthy of Gertrude Stein, but University of Washington atmospheric chemist Dan Jaffe says it with conviction: None of the contamination we pump into the air just disappears. It might get diluted, blended, or chemically transformed, but it has to go somewhere. And when it comes to pollutants produced by the booming economies of East Asia, that somewhere often means right here, the mainland of the United States. ...


What goes around ... comes around.

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Wed, Mar 16, 2011
from New York Times:
E.P.A. Proposes New Emission Standards for Power Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first national standard for emissions of mercury and other toxins from coal-burning power plants on Wednesday, a rule that could lead to the early closing of dozens of generating stations and is certain to be challenged by the utility industry and Republicans in Congress. Lisa P. Jackson, the agency's administrator, unveiled the new rule with fanfare at agency headquarters, saying control of dozens of poisonous substances emitted by power plants was two decades overdue and would prevent thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of cases of disease a year. ...


Apparently, the utility industry and Republicans in Congress are impervious to death and disease.

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
EPA Tangles With New Critic: Labor
The Obama administration's environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party's most reliable supporters: Labor unions. Several unions with strong influence in key states are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency soften new regulations aimed at pollution associated with coal-fired power plants. Their contention: Roughly half a dozen rules expected to roll out within the next two years could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and damage the party's 2012 election prospects. "If the EPA issues regulations that cost jobs in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Republicans will blast the President with it over and over," says Stewart Acuff, chief of staff to the president of the Utility Workers Union of America. "Not just the President. Every Democratic [lawmaker] from those states." ...


Those of you hoping the US will get its shit together... are dreaming!

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Tue, Mar 8, 2011
from Guardian:
China's coal reserves 'will make it new Middle East', says energy chief
Vast reserves of coal in the far west of China mean it is set to become the "new Middle East", a leading figure in the global coal industry has claimed. Fred Palmer, the chairman of the London-based World Coal Association and a key executive at Peabody Energy, the world's largest privately owned coal company, also said that China is leading the US in efforts to develop technology to "clean" coal of its carbon emissions by burying them underground.... "I think Xinjiang province in the west of China, where they say there's a trillion tonnes of resources, will be the new Middle East. Anyone who has the notion that we're going to move away from fossil fuels just isn't paying attention." China is "ahead of the US" when it comes to developing low-carbon coal technology, said Palmer, and "we should be doing what they are doing". This weekend, the Chinese government announced a new five-year plan, which included a pledge to reduce emissions growth relative to GDP by 17 per cent. Palmer added that the world should "applaud" China for consuming so much coal "because it makes the world better for everyone for no other reason that it takes huge price pressures off of oil". China processes a significant amount of its coal to produce liquid fuels which can be used as an oil replacement. ...


A warmer climate will do us all good. Who wouldn't like the lazy hazy days of summer, all year 'round?

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Mon, Mar 7, 2011
from Reuters:
Republicans launch bill to axe EPA carbon rules
Republicans in both chambers of Congress introduced bills on Thursday that would permanently stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions blamed for warming the planet. President Barack Obama would veto a bill that blocks the agency from tackling climate change, administration officials have said. Obama has pledged to the world the United States will cut greenhouse gases to about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.... "The EPA is pursuing a dramatic shift in our nation's energy and environmental policy that would send shock waves through our economy," said Ed Whitfield, the chair of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, a co-sponsor of the measure. Senator James Inhofe, a climate skeptic who is writing a book on global warming called "The Hoax," introduced a version of the legislation in the upper chamber. The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases under federal law. The EPA then declared the emissions endanger public health, which paved the way for its regulation of gases from smokestacks and vehicles, which began in January. ...


Self-regulation within the energy industry has been successful so far.

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Thu, Feb 24, 2011
from PhysOrg:
US issues cheaper boiler rules
The US administration overhauled rules Wednesday to cut air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators but at almost half the price of initial plans criticized by industrial groups. US Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy said the final regulations would provide benefits similar to the previous ones but at a reduced cost. "The Clean Air Act standards we are issuing today are based on the best available science and have benefited from significant public input," said McCarthy, who heads the EPA's air and radiation office.... The initially proposed standard would have cost 20 billion dollars and the loss of 300,000 jobs, according to an industry-financed study. The EPA put its estimate at $3.5 billion. In comparison, the EPA said the new version of the rule would cost $1.8 billion a year and create over 2,000 new jobs.... Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations at the National Association of Manufacturers, criticized what the called an example of the "EPA's aggressive, overreaching agenda." "This is a harsh, inflexible rule that will cost jobs, hurt global competitiveness and may discourage projects that could otherwise lead to environmental improvements," Newhouse added in a statement. ...


How dare you protect the environment with regulations!

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Fri, Feb 18, 2011
from Huffington Post:
House Votes To Block EPA From Regulating Greenhouse Gases
The Republican-controlled House has voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases that scientists say cause global warming. The 249-177 vote added the regulation ban to a sweeping spending bill that would fund the government through Sept. 30. The restriction is opposed by the Obama administration, which is using its regulatory powers to curb greenhouse gases after global warming legislation collapsed last year. The administration also says the ban would cost thousands of construction jobs. EPA has already taken steps to regulate global warming pollution from vehicles and the largest factories and industrial plants. It is expected to soon roll out rules that target refineries and power plants. Texas Republican Ted Poe pressed the anti-EPA measure. His Texas district is home to many oil refineries. ...


The Republican™ brand just got hotter.

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Thu, Feb 17, 2011
from Harvard, via FastCompany:
Coal Costs the U.S. $500 Billion Annually in Health, Economic, Environmental Impacts
A report from Harvard researchers in this month's Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences will reveal that coal use costs the U.S. between a third and over half a trillion dollars each year in health, economic, and environmental impacts.... The report, written by Dr. Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, examines the life cycle of coal production to find "hidden costs," or costs that occur "when the activity of one agent affects the well-being of another agent outside of any type of market mechanism." These costs include damages from climate change (like weather events and rising seas, public health damages from toxins released during electricity generation, deaths from rail accidents during coal transport, public health problems in coal-mining regions (in Appalachia, mountaintop removal contaminates surface and groundwater with carcinogens and heavy metals), government subsidies, and lost value of abandoned mine areas. In Appalachian communities alone, public health burdens from coal mining cost $74.6 billion each year. Air pollutant emissions cost $187.5 billion, mercury emission impacts reach $29.3 billion, and greenhouse gas emissions (and accompanying climate change effects) from coal-fired plants costs between between $61.7 and $205.8 billion. And then there are the smaller costs--between $2.2 and $10 billion in impacts from land disturbances, and impacts from toxic spills, declines in property values, tourism loss, and crop damage. ...


Well, sure, but think of the jobs!

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Sat, Feb 12, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Wendell Berry Joins Retired Coal Miners and Residents in Kentucky Capitol Sit-in
More than six years after Kentucky became the first state in the nation to introduce a bill that would halt the dumping of toxic coal mining wastes into headwater streams and effectively rein in the devastating fall-out of mountaintop removal operations, a group of affected coalfield residents, retired coal miners and bestselling authors have launched a sit-in in the office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear this morning.... "This is not something we're doing for pleasure," said Wendell Berry, who has been active in the movement to abolish mountaintop removal mining for years. "We're doing it because it's the next thing to do after all our attempts to attract serious attention to these problems have failed. We're doing this as a last resort. Our intention is to appeal first to our elected representatives and the governor, and failing that, to appeal over their heads to our fellow citizens."... While national media attention on mountaintop removal mining has largely been focused on West Virginia, organizers are reminding the nation that more than 290 mountains... have been blown to bits in eastern Kentucky. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council last year found that while more than 574,000 acres of hardwood forests in eastern Kentucky have been irreversibly destroyed by mountaintop removal strip mining, less than four percent yielded any verifiable post-mining economic reclamation excluding forestry and pasture. ...


Don't call it "mountaintop removal." It's "landscape altitude averaging."

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Sun, Feb 6, 2011
from Huffington Post:
The Jobs Project: Unemployed Coal Miners Install Solar Panels In West Virginia
A group devoted to creating alternative energy jobs in Central Appalachia is building a first for West Virginia's southern coalfields region this week - a set of rooftop solar panels, assembled by unemployed and underemployed coal miners and contractors. The 40- by 15-foot solar array going up on a doctor's office in Williamson is significant not for its size but for its location: It signals to an area long reliant on mining that there can be life beyond coal.... The Jobs Project teamed up about a year ago with a solar energy company from the Eastern Panhandle, Mountain View Solar & Wind of Berkeley Springs, to develop a privately funded job-training program. The 12 trainees are earning $45 an hour for three days of work, while some local laborers are earning $10 an hour helping out. Mountain View owner Mike McKechnie is also buying all his electrical supplies from a local business. "We are not funded by any state organization. We're doing this as a business because we want to grow the solar infrastructure and industry," McKechnie says. "We're West Virginians, and we think it's important. There's a need here that's not being met." ...


"there can be life beyond coal" has a bell-like tone, doesn't it?

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from Guardian:
World carbon dioxide emissions data by country: China speeds ahead of the rest
A reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions is not only the decided goal of environmentalists but also of pretty much every government in the world. Currently 191 countries have adopted the Kyoto protocol with the aim of collectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 63.9 percent of the 1990 levels by 2012.... * China emits more CO2 than the US and Canada put together - up by 171 percent since the year 2000 * The US has had declining CO2 for two years running - the first time this has happened, certainly since these records began. ...


C'mon America! This is a Sputnik moment! Consume!

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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from The Economist:
Burning ambitions
IN RICH countries, where people worry about air quality and debate ways of pricing carbon emissions, coal is deeply unfashionable. Elsewhere demand for the dirty rocks has never been stronger. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reckons world consumption will increase by a fifth over the next 25 years, assuming governments stick to their current climate-change policies. A new age of coal is upon us.... the coal boom blows yet another hole in the effort to restrain greenhouse-gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol makes countries responsible only for their own direct emissions. As environmentalists point out, rich countries that spurn coal-fired power while exporting the rocks to countries with less ambitious emissions targets are merely shifting the problem around the globe. ...


Does this coal plant make my butt look big???

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Inter Press Service:
Driving Straight Into Catastrophe
Despite repeated warnings by environmental and climate experts that reduction of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is fundamental to forestalling global warming, disaster appears imminent. According to the latest statistics, unprecedented climate change has Earth hurtling down a path of catastrophic proportions. The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the global consumption of primary energy in 2010 reached some 500 exajoules (EJ), a number just under the worst-case scenario formulated ten years ago by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC's Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, published in 2000, calculated the worst-case scenario as 525 EJ consumed in one calendar year. The IEA found that coal was one of the largest sources of energy consumed in 2010, comprising approximately 27 percent of the total energy consumption. Coal, one of the cheapest sources of energy, is considered the filthiest of all, as far as greenhouse gases emissions (GHGE) are concerned. ...


If you're heading for a cliff might as well accelerate!

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Fri, Jan 21, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Seeking permission to pollute
A monitor at George Washington High School on the Southeast Side shows that air in the neighborhood has the distinction of containing the state's highest levels of toxic heavy metals, chromium and cadmium, as well as sulfates, which can trigger asthma attacks and increase the risk of heart disease. The school sits across from a long-shuttered industrial site where Leucadia National Corp. plans to build a $3 billion coal-to-gas plant that would add even more pollution to one of the nation's most polluted areas. Two hurdles remain for the plant to become reality. Gov. Pat Quinn only needs to sign a bill that muscled its way through the General Assembly during the recent lame-duck session. And the state Pollution Control Board must decide whether the owners of the industrial site can sell their permission to pollute to New York-based Leucadia. ...


You certainly have my permission to let rich people get richer while ruining the environment.

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Wed, Jan 19, 2011
from Politico:
More mountaintop mining decisions loom
The Obama administration is facing a string of politically difficult decisions over one of the country's most contentious environmental issues: mountaintop removal coal mining. Few issues can generate equivalent outrage among the administration's environmentalist allies as does mountaintop removal, a mining technique common in West Virginia and other Appalachian states where operators use explosives to open mountaintops and access coal seams, and then dump the resulting waste in adjacent streams. Green groups say the practice is among the worst abuses of the fossil fuel industry, saying it is ruining Appalachia's ecosystems and poisoning its drinking water supplies. But Appalachia's mining industry calls itself the economic lifeline to one of the country's poorest regions. ...


Perhaps we can agree to call it an economic deathline.

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Fri, Jan 7, 2011
from BBC:
Dirty Business film debunks 'clean coal' myth
Dirty Business, the new documentary from the Centre for Investigative Journalism, began its nationwide screening tour last night in Berkeley, California, with the aim of debunking the myth of "clean coal" and kick-starting a debate on the future of energy in the US. The film shows scarred mountains, abandoned family homes on remote hillsides, water courses toxic with sludge, respiratory fatalities and children whose growth has been stunted by pollution as some of the side effects of coal extraction and the power stations that burn it. And, of course, it shows the effect of coal combustion on global temperatures.... Vaclav Smil, professor at the faculty of environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, estimates that the infrastructure of networks of pipelines for CCS would have to be twice that for oil and gas. He says: "Clearly you don't have to know anything about anything to realise that industry like that is not going to be created in five or 10 years and still it would contain only 10 percent of [emissions] we are generating today. The problem of scale is immense. It's not a technical problem, it's not a storage problem, it's just a problem scaling it up to a level where it would make a difference." Aside from the problem of building an infrastructure of a technology not yet operating at an economic scale, the real dirty business, as the film suggests, is the murky work of lobbyists, who pay large sums of money to influence political direction. ...


The "problem of scale" is so immense it becomes its own problem of scale.

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Sun, Jan 2, 2011
from Washington Post:
Coal's burnout
The headline news for the coal industry in 2010 was what didn't happen: Construction did not begin on a single new coal-fired power plant in the United States for the second straight year.... "Coal is a dead man walkin'," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. "Banks won't finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them. . . . And the economics to make it clean don't work." ...


Coal in their Christmas stocking is exactly what the industry deserves.

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Thu, Dec 30, 2010
from Guardian:
China's green gift to the world
In a mostly dismal year for US and international climate policy, China's coal imports are skyrocketing to record levels. The environmental community and policy pundits have rushed to decry this new development, arguing that China's expanding imports undermine global climate efforts, and even that countries should block coal exports to China. But the conventional wisdom has it backwards. In reality, record Chinese coal imports are better for global CO2 emissions than any climate policy to come out of Washington or the United Nations this year - because they strengthen incentives for the rest of the world to switch to less polluting fuels.... As a result, the entire globe is now rushing to figure out how to sell more coal to China. Environmentalists have balked, suggesting that coal sales to China should be blocked and that China's imports are evidence that it isn't taking real steps to fight global warming.... Because burning natural gas emits roughly half the CO2 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity compared to coal, the possibility of switching to natural gas generation when coal becomes expensive is one of the most significant opportunities to reduce emissions globally. ...


The economics of supply and demand have worked out great for the world so far!

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Associated Press:
Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants
Along a stretch of Highway 21, in Texas' pastoral Hill Country, is a vegetative wasteland. Trees are barren, or covered in gray, dying foliage and peeling bark. Fallen, dead limbs litter the ground where pecan growers and ranchers have watched trees die slow, agonizing deaths. Visible above the horizon is what many plant specialists, environmentalists and scientists believe to be the culprit: the Fayette Power Project - a coal-fired power plant for nearly 30 years has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain. ...


Coal plant creates good firewood. Sounds like a win-win!

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from National Science Foundation via ScienceDaily:
Global Rivers Emit Three Times IPCC Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Nitrous Oxide
...Human-caused nitrogen loading to river networks is a potentially important source of nitrous oxide emission to the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone destruction. It happens via a microbial process called denitrification, which converts nitrogen to nitrous oxide and an inert gas called dinitrogen. When summed across the globe, scientists report this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), river and stream networks are the source of at least 10 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions to the atmosphere. That's three times the amount estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ...


I thought denitrification was when I got my teeth fixed up.

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010
from Beckly Register-Herald:
What's in a name? 'Mountaintop removal' vs. 'mountaintop development'
Coal operators and environmentalists have been pondering the value of a name since the revelation that the coal industry may push for "rebranding" surface mining as "mountaintop development" instead of "mountaintop removal." The process of blasting the top of a mountain to obtain its underground coal reserves instead of digging a mine has been a much easier target for environmentalists since it has become known as mountaintop removal. However, coal industry executives say the term "mountaintop development" would paint a more accurate picture of the practice. ...


How about they call themselves the Coal Liberation Front?

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Wed, Dec 22, 2010
from Guardian:
The day my innocence bit the dust
On the tour, the environmental director pointed out all the buggies spraying water on the track - this was to keep the coal dust under control. Dust rising from the mine and drifting in the wind was blamed by local communities for lung problems and environmental damage.... "See, all this fuss about coal dust. Look, there really isn't any." I looked across the pit and had to admit that he was right - the air seemed fairly clean.... The cab driver asked if he could take a friend along for the long drive. About five minutes into the journey the friend turned around from the front seat and said: "Were you the visitors to the mine today?" "Yes," I said. "I thought so. I work there, with the cutting machinery," said the passenger. "I just wanted to tell you something. Just before you arrived at the viewpoint we received an order to turn off the cutting machines. And after you left, we were instructed to switch them back on again."... What interested me most was the reaction of my local colleague, a lawyer who had been working on these issues for some time. She was utterly unsurprised. In her world, big multinational, and smaller national, companies lie and deceive as a matter of course to get their way in the world and to make a quicker buck. ...


Corporations might lie just to make more money, even if it endangers lives??

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Mon, Dec 20, 2010
from Knoxville News Sentinel:
Rules for coal ash unclear: Enforcement will depend on whether EPA classifies waste as hazardous
Two years after the disastrous coal ash spill in Kingston, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of enacting the first federal standards for the disposal of ash from coal-fired power plants. But after eight public hearings on the proposed regulations, the last of which was in Knoxville in October, and more than 200,000 comments from interested parties across the country, one key question remains unanswered: Will coal ash be treated as a hazardous waste under the new federal rules? Environmental activists who have been urging the EPA to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste say they have been unable to glean any insight into which direction the new rules might take. The EPA itself has offered no clues about its intentions or even when the new rules might be finalized. ...


It's hazardous [to] waste [time].

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Fri, Dec 10, 2010
from Houston Chronicle:
Study: Clouds' cooling role weakens in warmer world
Until now one of the biggest uncertainties in climate change is whether a warming world will change how clouds regulate temperature. Will they trap more heat, or will they offer a net cooling by reflecting more of the sun's heat? A Texas A&M University scientist, Andrew Dessler, has produced some of the first data to address this question, and his conclusion is that current climate models do a pretty good job of simulating the changing nature of clouds in a warmer world. The new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, also appears to strike at a central tenet of some climate skeptics who believe clouds will offset much of the projected warming in a world with elevated greenhouse gases. "Scientists are always thinking about where we could be wrong," Dessler said. "Clouds are one of the last places where scientists could really be wrong with respect to climate change. My work is really a first step toward removing this possibility. "The opportunities for legitimate skepticism are drying up." ...


Those climate skeptics just have their heads in the clouds.

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Tue, Dec 7, 2010
from New York Times:
Britain Aims for Radical Power Market Reform in Push for Low-Carbon Energy
The U.K. power market is about to face the most radical reform in decades as it becomes increasingly clear that progress toward decarbonizing its energy system in the face of climate change is moving at a snail's pace when it really needs to move like the wind, experts say. Next week, the government will produce a consultation paper on what needs to be done to bring forward the new low-carbon power plants the country urgently needs as many old ones face closure and with emission reduction targets that ministers say, with increasing signs of desperation, are seriously challenging. Today, the Committee on Climate Change -- set up under the 2008 Climate Change Act to monitor government progress toward the 80 percent carbon emission cut from 1990 levels by 2050 stipulated in the legislation -- issued its most urgent call for action to date.... Fuel poverty is defined as a household's having to spend 10 percent or more of its income on power. The government is known to favor a full system of feed-in tariffs for low-carbon energy, extending the current household scheme that came in nine months ago to cover utilities, as well, offering an attractive price for producing electricity to the grid, but at the same time pushing up prices for consumption. There is no ducking the dilemma. ...


Here in the States, we're champeen dilemma-duckers.

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010
from Politico:
GOP plans strategy to stymie EPA
...GOP lawmakers say they want to upend a host of Environmental Protection Agency rules by whatever means possible, including the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used legislative tool that allows Congress to essentially veto recently completed agency regulations. The law lets sponsors skip Senate filibusters, meaning Republicans don't have to negotiate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a floor vote or secure the tricky 60 votes typically needed to do anything in the Senate...A spate of contentious EPA rules that are soon to be finalized could be prime targets, including the national air quality standard for ozone, toxic emission limits for industrial boilers and a pending decision about whether to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste. ...


The GOP must be suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder.

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Mon, Nov 22, 2010
from PhysOrg:
End to cheap coal closer than we thought?
A report entitled "The End of Cheap Coal," published in the journal Nature by Richard Heinberg and David Fridley, suggests we may reach peak coal in the next two decades. The report assumes oil prices will remain high in the next two decades, that the rate of oil consumption will level for a few years before dropping, and that governments will make progress towards reaching carbon emissions goals. Even without these assumptions the authors suggest we may soon hit peak coal because inexpensive sources of coal are rapidly being used up. Their conclusion is that "energy policies relying on cheap coal have no future."... The authors point to the history of getting forecasts wrong, saying that official estimates of oil prices for 2010 issued in the late 1990s were less a third of the current oil price. With both oil and coal the problem is not that we are running out of supplies, but that prices rise and become volatile as we approach peak levels. ...


The "problem" with coal and oil is that they will kill us.

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Tue, Nov 9, 2010
from Associated Press:
PNC To Halt Mountaintop Mining Financing
PNC Bank has announced it will stop financing projects that extract coal using a controversial form of surface mining known as mountaintop removal. The Pittsburgh-based company is the latest of a group of major commercial lenders that have backed away from underwriting mountaintop removal projects after pressure from environmental activists. PNC said in a statement it will not fund individual projects or "provide credit to coal producers whose primary extraction method is" mountaintop removal. The surface mining practice has for years attracted the ire of activists and Appalachian residents, who say it contributes to environmental degradation and water pollution. In June, a group of 50 activists gathered at a downtown PNC bank branch in Lexington to protest the bank's alleged lending to mountaintop removal projects. ...


Especially given election results, PNC's decision is delightfully Politically Not Correct.

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Fri, Oct 8, 2010
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
Environmentalists claim Kentucky coal mines faked water data
Robert Kennedy Jr. and other environmentalists claim three surface coal mining operations in Eastern Kentucky falsified pollution data, failed to submit reports or exceeded permit limits on more than 20,000 occasions in the last two years. The groups have taken the first step towards filing suit under the Clean Water Act regarding operations of ICG Knott County, ICG Hazard, and Frasure Creek Mining in seven Kentucky counties: Leslie, Perry, Knott, Breathitt, Floyd, Pike and Magoffin. The groups want the companies to be fined as much as $740 million and criminal prosecution of anyone who might have falsified the reports. International Coal Group called the allegations "scurrilous," while officials identified in public records as representing Frasure Creek Mining did not return phone calls. ...


I'll bet all that pollution is hard on the poor scurrils.

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Wed, Oct 6, 2010
from SMU, via EurekAlert:
SMU geothermal mapping project reveals large geothermal energy source in coal country
West Virginia is capable of producing 75 percent more energy from geothermal heat than currently produced by the state's mostly coal-fired power plants.... The SMU Geothermal Laboratory has increased its estimate of West Virginia's geothermal generation potential to 18,890 megawatts (assuming a conservative two percent thermal recovery rate). The new estimate represents a 75 percent increase over estimates in MIT's 2006 "The Future of Geothermal Energy" report and exceeds the state's total current generating capacity, primarily coal based, of 16,350 megawatts.... "By adding 1,455 new thermal data points from oil, gas, and water wells to our geologic model of West Virginia, we've discovered significantly more heat than previously thought," Blackwell said. "The existing oil and gas fields in West Virginia provide a geological guide that could help reduce uncertainties associated with geothermal exploration and also present an opportunity for co-producing geothermal electricity from hot waste fluids generated by existing oil and gas wells." The high temperature zones beneath West Virginia revealed by the new mapping are concentrated in the eastern portion of the state (Figure 1). Starting at depths of 4.5 km (greater than 15,000 feet), temperatures reach over 150C (300F), which is hot enough for commercial geothermal power production. ...


It's just so much easier to simply turn the valleys and mountains of West Virginia into a plain.

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Thu, Sep 30, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
Report Criticizes Coal Mine Regulators
The Labor Department's inspector general found that federal regulators failed over the past three decades to enact tougher oversight at coal mines with a history of serious safety violations. In a blistering report, the inspector general said the Mine Safety and Health Administration didn't use its full authority to police mines granted in the 1977 Mine Act. The report found that between 1990 and 2007, the agency didn't place a single mine on a list as having a pattern of violations that would trigger stiffer enforcement, even though many mines had hundreds of serious violations. The mine-safety agency was "hampered by a lack of leadership...across various administrations" that allowed the rule-making process to stall as it fell victim to "the competing interests of the industry, the operators, and the unions representing the miners," wrote Elliot P. Lewis, the Labor Department's assistant inspector general, in his report to the head of the mine-safety agency, Joseph A. Main. ...


Sad truth is, due to coal's erosive impact on the planet, we are all canaries!

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Tue, Sep 28, 2010
from Associated Press:
Peabody looks to expand southern Ill. coal mine
Peabody Energy Corp. said Monday it expects to spend $175 million to expand one of its southern Illinois coal mines by 40 percent, extending by 16 years the life of a site that environmental critics believe has no business getting bigger... "We are expanding Gateway [Mine] to serve one of the fastest-growing markets in the United States," said Gregory Boyce, chairman and chief executive at Peabody, which fuels roughly one-tenth of all U.S. electricity generation and more than 2 percent worldwide. The Sierra Club's Illinois chapter worries that broadening Gateway could fan pollution of the area's water and air. But the group's Joyce Blumenshine said challenging Peabody's push beyond just a public hearing could be a David-vs.-Goliath scenario the cost-conscious agency may not be able to afford. ...


Wait a minute. Doesn't David win?

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Mon, Sep 27, 2010
from Newcastle Herald:
Activists shut down Newcastle coal exports
Climate activists brought Newcastle's billion-dollar coal-loaders to a grinding halt yesterday, suspending themselves midair to effectively shut down the world's largest coal export operation. Police arrested 41 members of the Rising Tide group, which launched a simultaneous protest at three coal-loader sites at dawn yesterday. The group said it was staging an "emergency intervention" into the main cause of global warming in Australia. Nine protesters dressed in high-visibility work clothing, similar to employees at the loaders, breached security at the Carrington and Kooragang Island sites about 5am. Five of the group used climbing equipment to scale coal-loaders and suspend themselves in midair, unveiling banners and forcing the immediate shutdown of machinery. ...


They sound like angels!

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Mon, Sep 27, 2010
from AolNews:
Diesel Dangers: Mining Companies Get First Look at Government Cancer Study
A long-delayed government epidemiological study of possible ties between diesel exhaust and lung cancer in miners may finally be published this fall -- but only after a mining industry group, represented by the Washington lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs, finishes a pre-publication review of the study's drafts. Eighteen years in the making and eagerly awaited by public health officials, the cancer study evaluates more than 12,000 current and former workers from eight mines that produce commodities other than coal. Its goal is to determine whether ultrafine diesel particulate matter -- a component of exhaust from diesel-powered machinery -- poses a serious hazard to miners in confined spaces. ...


They just want to dot a few "i" and cross a few "t"s!

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Sat, Sep 25, 2010
from Mail and Guardian:
South Africa is nearing peak coal, say scientists
In the case of South African coal, the studies show production has already reached its peak, or soon will. "It is commonly believed that South Africa has abundant coal reserves which will last 200 years or more,'' says Jeremy Wakeford, chair of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (Aspo) in South Africa, in the organisation's latest newsletter. "But recent research [from] three scientific journals suggests that usable reserves are much smaller than previously thought, and that annual production could reach a peak and begin to decline within a decade -- or might even have peaked already.'' Wakeford says that "given the country's overwhelming dependence on coal, this issue has huge ramifications for our future development path''. Coal provides 70 percent of the country's energy supply, supports 90 percent of electricity generation, is used to make a quarter of the country's liquid fuels using the Sasol process and is a big earner of foreign exchange through exports to foreign users.... Wakeford said that leaving aside social and environmental concerns around carbon dioxide emissions, water scarcity, pollution and health impacts, entrenching dependence on a depleting fossil fuel is taking the country down a cul-de-sac. ...


"Leaving aside the fatal consequences, shooting oneself in the head is bad economic policy."

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Wed, Sep 22, 2010
from EPOCA:
Shellfish feel the burn: damage linked to atmospheric CO2
Last week, the National Academy of Sciences released a report on research of what has been called "the other carbon problem"--ocean acidification.... The NAS report says that we're way behind in studying this problem, which wasn't even fully recognized until recently. Just how far behind we are is made clear by a paper that will be released this week by PNAS, which reveals that two species of commercially harvested shellfish are likely to already be suffering increased mortality due to ocean acidification.... The interesting twist in the new work is that the authors also run the experiment under preindustrial CO2 levels of about 250ppm (actual levels were closer to 280ppm). For both species of shellfish, the mortality was much lower and development proceded more quickly. For the quahog, viability doubled (from 20 percent to 40 percent), while for the bay scallop, viability went from 43 percent to 74 percent. The animals made major developmental milestones more quickly--metamorphosis at day 14 occurred in half the animals at preindustrial CO2 levels, but that dropped to less than seven percent at modern levels. The authors helpfully point out that they've eliminated predation in their lab conditions. If the animals were subject to being eaten, the weaker shells that form at higher CO2 levels would almost certainly increase the mortality.... According to the paper, it's actually been over 24 million years since levels are likely to have been this high, and many shellfish have diversified more recently than that; any changes in CO2 in the intervening time have also been far more gradual than the current pace. ...


This wasn't supposed to happen until long after I was dead!

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Fri, Sep 17, 2010
from Guardian:
Carbon-absorbent foam triumphs at 2010 Earth Awards
An artificial foam inspired by the meringue-like nest of a South American frog has won the 2010 Earth Awards. The foam, which could help to tackle climate change, soaks up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generates sugars that can be converted into biofuel. The Earth Awards were set up in 2007 to bring together green start-ups strapped for cash with investors. Between March and May, over 500 designs were submitted to a panel of judges that included Richard Branson, Jane Goodall, David de Rothschild and Diane von Furstenberg.... The foam, which will be installed in the flues of coal-burning power plants, captures carbon dioxide and locks it away as sugar before it has a chance to enter the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Due to its frothy structure, the foam can be up to five times more efficient than plants at converting carbon dioxide into sugar.... The secret to the foam's success is a protein that the Tungara frog uses as scaffolding in its foamy nests. "I read about a protein that the frog uses that allows bubbles to form in the nest, but doesn't destroy the lipid membranes of the eggs that the females lay in the foam, and realised that it was perfect for our own foam." ...


See? Proof that CleanCoal is a reality! Or at least, just around the corner!

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Sat, Sep 11, 2010
from Yale360:
Are We Nearing Peak Coal?
A controversial new study suggests that the world is nearing the peak of readily exploitable reserves of high-quality coal, contradicting prevailing estimates that the globe has enough coal to help meet energy needs for at least a century. Tad Patzek, chairman of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, said the world could be approaching the peak of coal mining and he predicts that by 2050 the global coal supply will be half what it is today. "We are near or at the peak right now," said Patzek, whose research was published in the journal, Energy. In the coming decades, Patzek said, the world will exploit sources that are easy to reach and lower in sulfur, leaving far less desirable stores underground. Even though numerous studies have forecast that the U.S. and the world have ample coal reserves for the foreseeable future, Patzek said he "completely" disregarded these reserve estimates, saying they are unreliable. Coal plants supply 40 percent of the world's electricity, and Patzek said of his estimates, "If we are right, major restructuring and shrinking of the global economy will follow." ...


Not to worry -- West Virginia has many a mountain to crop.

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Sun, Aug 29, 2010
from SolveClimate:
Chinese Climate Negotiator Provides Candid Take on What Happened in Copenhagen
First, by announcing programs and targets for the coming decade prior to the talks, the government continued to show the world that China is a responsible nation. Those plans were unconditional, as we do not believe that the future of mankind should be used as a bargaining chip - a position that contrasts sharply with the stance of developed nations.... They did not consider that their proposed 30 percent cuts have a long list of conditions attached, yet when we aim to cut carbon-intensity by 40 percent they say we are doing nothing.... The talks focused on two issues. One was long term goals. As disagreement over atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations and 2050 emissions targets was too great, these were not covered in the agreement, which specified only a goal of limiting any temperature increase to two degrees Celsius [above pre-industrial levels].... China is bound to be dependent on coal for energy - we cannot afford oil as an alternative when it costs more than US$100 dollars (680 yuan) a barrel.... Many problems can only be solved through development. We cannot blindly accept that protecting the climate is humanity's common interest - national interests should come first.... The individual can save power, but there are 600 million people in India without electricity - the country has to develop and meet that need. And if that increases emissions, I say, "So what?" The people have a right to a better life.... Some EU nations have done well on emissions reductions, but the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Spain and Italy have not just failed to make cuts they have significantly increased their emissions. And they do not seem to feel they have done anything wrong. ...


This is the way the world ends / not with a bang, but an economic justification.

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Tue, Aug 17, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Biggest US Coal Power Expansion In 2 Decades
Utilities across the country are building dozens of old-style coal plants that will cement the industry's standing as the largest industrial source of climate-changing gases for years to come. An Associated Press examination of U.S. Department of Energy records and information provided by utilities and trade groups shows that more than 30 traditional coal plants have been built since 2008 or are under construction.... The expansion, the industry's largest in two decades, represents an acknowledgment that highly touted "clean coal" technology is still a long ways from becoming a reality and underscores a renewed confidence among utilities that proposals to regulate carbon emissions will fail. The Senate last month scrapped the leading bill to curb carbon emissions following opposition from Republicans and coal-state Democrats. "Building a coal-fired power plant today is betting that we are not going to put a serious financial cost on emitting carbon dioxide," said Severin Borenstein, director of the Energy Institute at the University of California-Berkeley. "That may be true, but unless most of the scientists are way off the mark, that's pretty bad public policy." ...


Why the hell would you want to slow down the economic recovery with burdensome carbon regulations?

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Sun, Aug 1, 2010
from Wired Science:
Controlling Soot Might Quickly Reverse a Century of Global Warming
"Soot has such a strong climate effect, but it has a lifetime in the atmosphere of just a few weeks. Carbon dioxide has a lifetime of 30 to 50 years. If you totally stop CO2 emissions today, the Arctic will still be totally melted," said Stanford University climate scientist Mark Jacobson. If soot pollution is immediately curtailed, "the reductions start to occur pretty much right away. Within months, you'll start seeing temperature differences."... Soot comes from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, and also from the burning of wood or dung for fuel. Crop residue and forest-burning are another major source. When aloft, the dark particles absorb sunlight, raising local temperatures and causing rain clouds to form, which in turn deprive other areas of moisture. When soot lands on snow or ice, its effects are magnified, because melts reveal fresh patches of heat-absorbing dark ground. In 2003, a NASA simulation blamed soot for 25 percent of the past century's observed warming. A study last year suggested that soot was responsible for almost half of a 3.4-degree Fahrenheit rise in average Arctic temperatures since 1890 -- a greater rise than anywhere else on Earth. Soot also appears to be a culprit in drastic melts of Himalayan glaciers which provide water to much of South Asia, and in disrupting the monsoon cycles on which the region's farmers rely. The United Nations puts the soot-related death toll at 1.5 million people annually. ... If soot disappeared overnight, average global temperatures would drop within 15 years by about 1 degree Fahrenheit, maybe a little more. "It's low-hanging fruit," said Jacobsen. "It's straightforward to address, and it can be addressed." ...


A soot tweet should be sent tout suite.

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Sat, Jul 31, 2010
from Technology Review:
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Support for Renewables
A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says altogether governments spent between $43 and $46 billion on renewable energy and biofuels last year, not including indirect support, such as subsidies to corn farmers that help ethanol production. Direct subsidies of fossil fuels came to $557 billion, the report says. This disparity raises the question--if the report is right and fossil fuels require so much backing, can they compete with renewables without government support? After all, some renewables--such as sugarcane based biofuels and some wind farms--can already compete with fossil fuels. Without the huge government subsidies for fossil fuels, wouldn't they be eclipsed by renewables? The answer, for now, is no. So far renewables just can't provide enough fuel and power to displace fossil fuels. ...


Quit subsidizing the most profitable industry on earth? But who knows what chaos might ensue?

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Tue, Jul 27, 2010
from Reuters:
Toxic fish could help Obama hit 2020 climate goal
A proposed rule on mercury, a pollutant bad for fish and the people who eat too many of them, could help the Obama administration get near its short-term climate goal -- even if Congress fails this year or next to pass a bill tackling greenhouse gases directly... The EPA has begun to take steps on regulating greenhouse gases from autos, power plants and factories. But it is the agency's looming rules on mainstream pollutants, those that can cause diseases, that may limit carbon dioxide emissions the most. ...


This is sure something to cheer about! Isn't it?

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Sun, Jul 25, 2010
from ScienceDaily:
Researchers Calculate the Cost of CO2 Emissions, Call for Carbon Tax
Brito and Curl argue that there are three important unresolved questions in the current debate on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions: "First, what is the range of prices on carbon dioxide emissions that will be necessary to achieve the desired reductions? Second, should electrical generators and transport fuels be regulated jointly or separately? Third, should the restrictions be in the form of a quantity limit such as cap and trade or in the form of a carbon tax?"... The authors noted that the efficiency of coal generators is very concentrated. For instance, "at current prices for fuels, a carbon price of approximately $30/ metric ton (MT) will shut down 10 percent of coal generator capacity," they wrote. "An additional increase of $15 -- resulting in a carbon dioxide price of $45/MT -- will shut down 90 percent of coal generator capacity."... As a result of the risk of high volatility, the authors back a carbon tax to assist the transition from coal to natural gas. They also assert "it is possible to decouple the pricing of allocations for transportation fuel from the allocations for the production of electricity," because the rise in carbon prices needed to effect the shift in electricity generation would have very little impact on transportation fuels. ...


You'll tax my coal from my hot, dead hands.

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Sat, Jul 10, 2010
from Martinsburg Journal:
Coal advocate condemns administration
The Obama administration is as bad as any William B. "Bill" Raney has dealt with in 35 years, the president of the West Virginia Coal Association told members of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce at its Rise and Shine Breakfast Friday. "We're under attack by the Obama administration," he said. "They don't care about West Virginia - they don't care about Appalachia." Raney spoke highly of U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., for being a strong voice for coal, although he disagrees with Rockefeller's stand on so-called cap-and-trade legislation. "We don't need cap and trade," Raney said. "It will raise your power bills. Power companies will charge you all more money." ...


We care so much about Appalachia we are willing to blow it to smithereens w/ mountaintop removal.

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Thu, Jul 1, 2010
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Switching off your lights has a bigger impact than you might think, says new study
Switching off lights, turning the television off at the mains and using cooler washing cycles could have a much bigger impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power stations than previously thought, according to a new study published this month in the journal Energy Policy. The study shows that the figure used by government advisors to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide saved by reducing people's electricity consumption is up to 60 percent too low. The power stations that supply electricity vary in their carbon dioxide emission rates, depending on the fuel they use: those that burn fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) have higher emissions than those driven by nuclear power and wind. In general only the fossil fuel power stations are able to respond instantly to changes in electricity demand.... The new study suggests that excluding power stations with low carbon emission rates, such as wind and nuclear power stations, and focusing on those that deal with fluctuating demand would give a more accurate emission figure. ...


So the scientists were in the dark all this time?

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Fri, Jun 25, 2010
from PNAS, via EurekAlert:
Aggressive action to reduce soot emissions needed to meet climate change goals
Without aggressive action to reduce soot emissions, the time table for carbon dioxide emission reductions may need to be significantly accelerated in order to achieve international climate policy goals such as those set forth in last December's Copenhagen Accord... The Princeton University researchers assessed the climatic contribution of "carbonaceous aerosols," fine particulates emitted into the atmosphere and commonly known as soot. Soot is produced by the incomplete combustion of organic matter and comes from a variety of sources, ranging from diesel engines and coal combustion to biomass cook stoves, crop burning and wildfires. Soot has complex effects on the global climate when airborne or deposited on snow. It has two main components: black carbon and organic carbon. Black carbon is dark and absorbs radiation, thus warming the atmosphere; organic carbon is light colored and reflective, so tends to have a cooling effect.... Their best estimate indicates that eliminating soot pollution from "contained combustion" sources such as diesel engines and poorly-controlled coal sources would provide the world with an additional eight years (with an uncertainty range of about one to 15 years) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Conversely, if these sources of carbonaceous aerosols continued at levels seen in the 1990s, more aggressive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions than previously recognized would need to occur for the world to meet the goal of avoiding "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". ...


Santa Claus demands it!

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Fri, Jun 11, 2010
from Friends of the Earth, via SolveClimate:
Potential of "Clean Coal" to Reduce Emissions is Overstated
A new research paper by Friends of the Earth (FOE) Denmark says that governments and institutions have greatly overstated the potential of CCS to curb greenhouse gases and asserts that even if widely deployed, it would only avoid a "small fraction" of global warming emissions from coal-fired power plants by mid-century.... His research found that about 11 percent of total coal plant emissions would be avoided over the next 50 years - assuming 40 percent of coal plants have CCS by 2050. That means 90 percent of the emissions expected from the world's coal plants would still reach the atmosphere.... "I couldn't believe it," Bendsen told SolveClimate of his "very, very surprising" result. ...


Well... that would just about cover Guangdong Province's emissions, by then.

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Wed, May 19, 2010
from Charleston Gazette:
Hundreds turn out for EPA mountaintop removal hearing
Several hundred coal industry supporters on Tuesday evening objected to the Obama administration's plan to crack down on mountaintop removal coal mining, urging federal regulators to back off a threatened veto of the permit for a huge mine in Logan County. Coal miners and their families, along with other industry employees, supporters and political leaders, packed a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency public hearing held as part of EPA's review of whether to block Arch Coal Inc.'s Spruce No. 1 Mine... Supporters of the permit complained that EPA was wrong to step in after a mining permit was already issued... ...


Government MUST NOT stand in the way of our right to destroy our world!

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Tue, May 11, 2010
from Inter Press Service:
Adding More Coal to the Fire
Bucking recommendations to build up renewable energy sources, Argentina is forging ahead with a plan that will increase its dependence on coal, regarded as the most polluting fossil fuel. Next to the Rio Turbio coal mine, in the southern Argentine province of Santa Cruz, a group of private companies is building a coal-fired thermoelectric power station that will supply electricity to the national grid. Environmentalists are opposing the power plant, designed to have a capacity of 240 megawatts, consume 5,400 tonnes of coal a day and produce 1.6 million tonnes of waste a year, the disposal of which is not clearly addressed in the environmental impact study, they say. ...


I'd say it's about time to start crying for Argentina.

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Sat, May 8, 2010
from New York Times:
EPA Backed Off 'Hazardous' Label for Coal Ash After White House Review
U.S. EPA's proposed regulation of coal ash as a hazardous waste was changed at the White House to give equal standing to an alternative favored by the coal industry and coal-burning electric utilities. The Obama administration is now considering two competing rules for regulating the ash that contains toxins that include arsenic, lead and mercury. The first would set binding federal disposal requirements for the ash, and the second would label the ash nonhazardous and leave enforcement to the states (E&ENews PM, May 4). EPA released the two-headed proposal Tuesday for public comments.... What changed in the six months that the proposal was in OMB's hands? Says EPA: Its administrator, Lisa Jackson, changed her mind about the hazardous-waste designation. "After extensive discussions, the Administrator decided that both the [hazardous and nonhazardous] options merited consideration for addressing the formidable challenge of safely managing coal ash disposal," EPA said in a statement. ...


I had no idea Obama's middle initial was "W."

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Thu, May 6, 2010
from Enviromental Science and Technology:
Can the U.S. phase out coal's greenhouse gas emissions by 2030?
The U.S. could end its global warming emissions from coal in two decades by embracing a collection of proven and promising technologies, according to a new ES&T paper (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/es903884a). Climate scientists James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha, together with Charles Kutscher of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and noted architect Edward Mazria, say their paper targets coal because it is the energy source that is most responsible for accumulated fossil fuel CO2 in today's atmosphere. Kharecha and Hansen, both of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Columbia University Earth Institute, and their coauthors argue that fast action is demanded by recent revelations in the field of climate science. For example, a draft of the Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report released in mid-April says that current effects of climate change include water cycle disruptions, vanishing mountain glaciers, and extreme weather events. In the new paper, the scientists write, "The 'safe' long-term level of atmospheric greenhouse gases is much lower than has been supposed, [and CO2 concentrations are] already into the dangerous zone." ...


Sounds like we better do this ... for our grandparents!

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Fri, Apr 30, 2010
from American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert:
A roadmap for 'the only practical way to preserve the planet'
The United States could completely stop emissions of carbon dioxide from coal-fired electric power plants -- a crucial step for controlling global warming -- within 20 years by using technology that already exists or could be commercially available within a decade.... Pushker Kharecha and colleagues say that the global climate change problem becomes manageable only if society deals quickly with emissions of carbon dioxide from burning coal in electric power plants. "The only practical way to preserve a planet resembling that of the Holocene (today's world) with reasonably stable shorelines and preservation of species, is to rapidly phase out coal emissions and prohibit emissions from unconventional fossil fuels such as oil shale and tar sands," they state.... They include elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels; putting rising prices on carbon emissions; major improvements in electricity transmission and the energy efficiency of homes, commercial buildings, and appliances; replacing coal power with biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, and third-generation nuclear power; and after successful demonstration at commercial scales, deployment of advanced (fourth-generation) nuclear power plants; and carbon capture and storage at remaining coal plants. ...


That's too hard. Can't we just put up a big space umbrella over 10 percent of the globe?

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Thu, Apr 22, 2010
from The Charleston Gazette:
Study links stream pollution to higher cancer rates
West Virginians who live near streams polluted by coal mining are more likely to die of cancer, according to a first-of-its kind study published by researchers at West Virginia University and Virginia Tech. The study provides the first peer-reviewed look at the relationship between the biological health of Appalachian streams and public health of coalfield residents. Published in the scientific journal EcoHealth, the paper compares cancer death rates to population figures, coal production figures and a new index of how far people live to various types of coal-mining operations. "We've known for years that stream organisms can be sentinels of environmental quality," said study co-author Nathaniel Hitt, a Virginia Tech stream ecologist who now works for the U.S. Geological Survey. "What we have now shown is that these organisms are also indicators of public health." ...


Aren't our lives secondary to our livelihoods?

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Wed, Apr 14, 2010
from Associated Press:
Chicago Lawmakers Propose Tougher Coal-Plant Rules
Chicago lawmakers proposed new clean air regulations Tuesday that they say would be among the toughest in the nation and curb emissions from the city's two coal-burning power plants. Advocates say the two large plants, set in heavily populated South Side neighborhoods, long have been among the city's worst polluters, pumping out thousands of tons of soot and millions of tons of gases linked to global warming. The ordinance would require the Fish and Crawford plants to cut particulate emissions by 90 percent from existing levels by installing modern pollution controls. ...


Now that's my kind of town!

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Sat, Apr 10, 2010
from Reuters:
Missing West Virginia miners found dead, blast toll at 29
Four missing West Virginia coal miners were found dead early on Saturday, nearly five days after an explosion killed 25 others in the worst U.S. mining disaster in nearly four decades. The four bodies were found in an area of the Massey Energy mine briefly searched after the blast on Monday but were missed by rescuers amid heavy smoke, Kevin Stricklin of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration told reporters. Rescue teams found the miners on their fourth attempt after earlier efforts were thwarted by thick smoke, fire and an explosive build-up of methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen... "We did not get the miracle we prayed for," an emotional West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin told a news briefing. ...


prayers unanswered for/miners, canaries who could/not take wing in time

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Fri, Apr 9, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Great Barrier Reef at Risk as Coal-Ship Traffic May Jump 67 percent
The corals, whales and giant clams of Australia's Great Barrier Reef are in the path of a "coal highway" to China that may see shipments jump 67 percent by 2016, increasing the threat of an ecological disaster after a coal carrier ran aground last week. Trade at Gladstone port in Queensland may rise to about 140 million tons, mostly coal, in six years from 84 million tons in the year ending in June, Gladstone Ports Corp. Chief Executive Officer Leo Zussino said in an interview. The port was the loading point for the Shen Neng 1, which hit a sand bank on April 3 at full speed carrying 68,000 metric tons of coal and 975 tons of fuel oil. "It's only a matter of time before a serious oil spill occurs unless we have a better system for regulating the traffic," said Peter Harrison, a professor at Southern Cross University in New South Wales who has studied the impact of oil pollution on coral reefs for three decades. "It's a difficult place to navigate." ...


Perhaps a name change is in order: the Great Passageway Reef.

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Fri, Apr 9, 2010
from Alaska Journal of Commerce:
Research expands to 'sister' issue of global warming
Rising temperatures and sea levels, melting glaciers and extreme weather dominate the discussion on global warming, but a parallel issue with potentially tremendous impact on Alaska's coastal waters is finally gaining attention. Increased research into ocean acidification caused by the saturation of water with carbon dioxide is the focus of Jeremy Mathis of University of Alaska Fairbanks, who stepped onto the national stage for the first time recently in a briefing to a mix of Congressmen, Senators and staffers in Washington, D.C.... A positive response from holders of the purse strings is essential to making up research ground on ocean acidification, which Mathis calls a "sister" or co-equal problem to global warming. Studies of its potential effects on the food chain are few and the lack of baseline data on ocean pH levels is a stark contrast to decades of temperature monitoring from stations positioned around the globe.... A decrease in these mineral levels to food web base species like pteropods, also known as sea butterflies, which make up 45 percent of the diet for juvenile pink salmon, can cause cascading waves of disruption up the food chain. Mathis' research shows a 10 percent decline in pteropod production can lead to a 20 percent reduction in the body weight of mature salmon.... ...


These sisters / are doing it to ourselves...

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Thu, Apr 8, 2010
from Greenwire:
Frightened, Furious Neighbors Undermine German Co2-Trapping Power Project
...The first electric utility in the world to launch a coal-fired power plant designed from the ground up to capture its carbon dioxide emissions, Vattenfall has found that building the complicated 70 million [Euros] pilot plant may have been the easy part. Finding a home for its captured gas? Now that's hard. For more than a year, the plant has been doing its job, capturing 90 percent of its CO2, the heat-trapping gas that drives global warming. Nestled in strip-mining country in eastern Germany, the plant could provide the prototype for the next generation of relatively affordable "clean" coal plants. But until Vattenfall finds a place to stash its CO2, those dreams will be as intangible as the CO2 it collects and vents every few days back into the atmosphere. Vatenfall AB, which is owned by the Swedish government, has been frustrated by boisterous local opposition to its plans to pump CO2 more than a kilometer underground into porous rock formations. ...


NIMUPRF: Not In MY Underground Porous Rock Formations

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Mon, Apr 5, 2010
from Post-Tribune:
IDEM shuts down mercury monitors
In its latest cost-cutting move, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has shut down mercury monitors across the state, including at the Indiana Dunes. The cut would save the agency about $285,000 annually. But critics say it would impact the state's ability to assess whether regulation to reduce mercury pollution is working. The Indiana Dunes monitoring station has periodically registered one of the 10 highest mercury concentrations in the nation, said Martin Risch, a hydrologist and project chief with the U.S. Geological Survey in Indianapolis. Kim Ferraro, an attorney with the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation of Indiana, called removal of the mercury monitoring stations "devastating" to the state's ability to track mercury deposition. ...


How will I know if I can use a fish as a thermometer or not?

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Sun, Apr 4, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Great Barrier Reef rammed by Chinese coal ship
Australians on Sunday scrambled to ensure that a Chinese-owned bulk coal carrier that rammed into the Great Barrier Reef would not break apart and seriously damage the planet's largest coral reef. Peter Garrett, the nation's environment protection minister, told reporters that the federal government is concerned about the impact an oil spill could have on the environmentally sensitive reef, which was selected as a World Heritage site in 1981. Environmentalists said they were "horrified" at the possible damage the mishap might cause to the ecosystem, which is 1,800 miles long and comprised of more than 3,000 individual reefs, cays and islands -- providing a habitat for countless sea species. Video taken late Sunday showed the 755-foot vessel stranded about nine miles outside the shipping lane, leaking what seemed to be a streak of oil into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Great Keppel Island off the west coast of Queensland state.... The Shen Neng 1, hauling more than 65,000 tons of coal, hit the reef at full speed late Saturday in a restricted zone of the marine park. The impact ruptured the vessel's fuel tanks, prompting Australian officials to activate a national oil spill response plan. ...


Whoops! Sorry officer, I must've taken a wrong turn back there!

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Sun, Apr 4, 2010
from The Charleston Gazette:
EPA study confirms damage from strip mining
Federal government scientists say a "growing body of evidence" shows that mountaintop removal coal mining is destroying Appalachian forests and dangerously polluting vital headwater streams...While EPA scientists focused on direct damage to streams that are buried and on pollution downstream from valley fills, the 119-page report also warns that damage to ecologically important forests is greater than some routinely cited statistics suggest. Last week, EPA published the study by the agency's Office of Research and Development in conjunction with the issuance of new water quality guidance intended to reduce mining's adverse impacts on aquatic life. ...


This study, courtesy of the Duh!partment of the Obvious.

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Sat, Apr 3, 2010
from Guardian:
South Africa is becoming a high-carbon zone to attract foreign investment
With its sky-high poverty levels and average life expectancy of just 51 years, South Africa is not a country we generally associate with extravagant binge-flying lifestyles, turbo-consumerism, and shopping trips to New York. How bizarre then that per capita carbon emissions in South Africa are now higher than in many European countries. While most South Africans are unlikely to ever own a plasma screen TV or Hummer, their carbon footprints still appear to be only slightly less than your average Japanese, and their national carbon emissions are now greater than those of France. The situation becomes more comprehensible when you look at South Africa's industrial base, with 60 percent of South Africa's electricity being guzzled by heavy industry, and most of that comes from dirty coal. Now this key global climate player wants another coal station that would pollute as much as the two dirtiest plants in Britain put together, and cause a further surge in its national emissions - and they want you to pay for it. Far from benefiting ordinary South Africans, they will also be forced into subsidising this artificially low-cost electricity, for the benefit of multinational mining companies. It's no wonder that African civil society movements are leading the opposition to this development.... That's why it's so odd that western governments, including our own, now seem determined to egg them on by making a $3.7bn (£2.4bn) World Bank loan to the South African state-owned power company Eskom to help build one of the most polluting power stations in the world. With one hand the government complains about major emerging economies not doing enough to embrace low-carbon development, while at the same time, it directs money that's meant for aid, into dirty coal developments that power the international mining industry. ...


Maybe this is the World Bank's way of saying "let's get this over with."

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Thu, Apr 1, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Waste in our water: The coal ash problem
For the past thirty years Jeff Stant has gained a reputation around Indiana as a relentless and tenacious environmental defender. "I grew up in the woods in Zionville, springing animals from traps before trappers got them, I was in love with nature," he says. His current battle is to get coal ash, the by product of burning coal for power, deemed as a hazardous waste by the federal government, "It could be an epic move," says Stant. The push to regulate coal ash comes from those like Stant, who believe it to be harmful. Because coal contains traces of heavy metals, so will the ash that is left behind after coal is burned to produce electricity. Arsenic, lead, copper, mercury, nickel, selenium, zinc and many other metals are commonly left behind in coal ash....The EPA has waffled on the subject for 30 years, meandering through missed deadlines and lawsuits. But the coal ash problem is one that has lingered, refusing to go away. The EPA is now poised to make another ruling on the byproduct of burning coal. ...


Environmental Poised Agency

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Sun, Mar 28, 2010
from Associated Press:
123 trapped in flooded coal mine in northern China
At least 123 people were trapped underground Sunday after water gushed into a coal mine in northern China, a government agency said. The Wangjialing coal mine in Shanxi province was flooded by underground water as 261 miners were working in the pit, the State Administration of Work Safety said on its Web site. The administration said 138 of the miners were lifted safely to the ground but the others remained trapped and rescue work was under way. It said the cause of the flood was still under investigation. Although China's mine safety record has improved in recent years, it is still the deadliest in the world, with blasts and other accidents common. ...


May God bless all the canaries.

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Wed, Mar 24, 2010
from Laura Bassett, via HuffingtonPost:
Even The Cows Have Cancer: EPA Weighs Tougher Regulation of Toxic Coal Ash
Young has no doubt about what she believes is causing all the cancer: coal. For the past 10 years she's lived in Meigs County, Ohio, home to four coal-fired power plants within an 11-mile radius, and has become an environmental activist. "There isn't a house on this road that hasn't been touched by cancer... I had melanoma and I currently have two more precancerous conditions for breast and thyroid cancer, none of which are in my family," said Young, 47. "My dog died of cancer, my best friend died of cancer and her dog died of lymphoma. I just gave up a dog because I couldn't afford to take him into the vet. He was getting lumps on him."... John Wathen, an environmental investigator and clean water advocate for Perry County, says the toxic ash is being very sloppily handled at its new site. "Literally within 100 feet of people's homes, they're dumping coal ash on the ground, allowing it to blow around," Wathen said.... Wathen said that anyone who claims that coal waste is non-hazardous hasn't had to stand near it. "I'm a healthy man and I literally break down and throw up every time I'm exposed to it," he said. ...


But it's only poor people who live near coal ash, right? Do they count as much?

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Tue, Mar 16, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Lucky animals get a whole week!
Governor Daniels proclaimed March 15-21 as National Wildlife Week in Indiana. To celebrate, animals throughout Indiana will experience a pause in the relentless destruction of their habitat. Indiana animals will enjoy a pristine environment for seven days, as coal-fired plants will suspend operations. Therefore the mercury, arsenic and other damaging pollutants will temporarily cease to contaminate the air, water and soil. Indiana CAFO operators won't dump hog, chicken and cow manure and Indiana farmers won't pour fertilizer into nearby streams and waters, so the fish and amphibians and other aquatic beings won't have to ingest phosphorus and other dangerous toxic substances -- or have the oxygen in the water robbed by algal blooms. ...


This bit o' satire is by yours truly.

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Thu, Mar 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
US coal town above mine fire claims massive fraud
Residents of a coal mining town in the state of Pennsylvania have long believed the government's demolition of it was part of a plot to swipe the mineral rights to anthracite coal worth hundreds of millions of dollars - and not, as officials said, the solution to an out-of-control underground mine fire that menaced the town with toxic gases. Centralia was all but wiped off the map as the slow-burning mine fire that began in 1962 at the town dump spread to the network of mines beneath the town, threatening residents with poisonous gases and dangerous sinkholes. A $42 million government relocation program was largely completed by 1993, when officials forced dozens of holdouts to leave. Now, in a last-ditch effort to save their homes from the wrecking ball, the few holdouts who remain in the Pennsylvania town are taking their claims of a conspiracy to court. ...


After almost 50 years of poisoning, we can forgive a little paranoia.

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Sun, Mar 7, 2010
from Charleston Gazette:
EPA delays action on mountaintop removal plan
The Obama administration has delayed action on a set of broad-ranging and specific measures to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal, after details of the plan were leaked to coal-state mining regulators...Agency officials are pushing for more stringent water pollution standards, tougher permit requirements and more extensive monitoring downstream from mining operations. Among the initiatives are initial steps toward tighter mining discharge limits on the toxic pollutant selenium and on electrical conductivity, which serves as a measure of harmful salts and metals and has been identified by scientists as an indicator of coal-mining water damage. An announcement had been planned for Wednesday, but has been delayed for at least several weeks. ...


If you've been to the mountaintop, then you know there is no more time to waste.

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Sat, Mar 6, 2010
from Associated Press:
Disposal of spilled coal ash a long, winding trip
More than a year after a Tennessee coal ash spill created one of the worst environmental disasters of its kind in U.S. history, the problem is seeping into several other states...After the spill, the TVA started sending as many as 17,000 rail carloads of ash almost 350 miles south to the landfill in Uniontown, Ala. At least 160 rail shipments have gone out from the cleanup site... The landfill operators first sent it to wastewater treatment plants -- a common way that landfills deal with excess liquid -- in two nearby Alabama cities, Marion and Demopolis. After what the EPA calls unrelated problems with ammonia in Marion, the landfill in January started using a commercial wastewater treatment plant in Mobile, Ala., 500 miles from the original spill. ...


Spreadin' the love...

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Tue, Feb 23, 2010
from New York Times:
EPA's Gradual Phase In of GHG Regs Garners Qualified Praise From Senators
Facing mounting pressure from congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the Obama administration yesterday vowed to gradually phase in climate regulations for industrial sources. U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that no stationary sources will face greenhouse gas regulations this year and that small sources will not be subject to permitting requirements any sooner than 2016. EPA is also considering "substantially" raising the thresholds in its proposed "tailoring" rule to exempt more facilities from requirements that they minimize their greenhouse gas emissions. ...


Whew!! We are off the hook again!

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Sun, Feb 21, 2010
from Reuters:
Senate weighs final push to move climate bill
A last-ditch attempt at passing a climate change bill begins in the Senate this week with senators mindful that time is running short and that approaches to the legislation still vary widely, according to sources. "We will present senators with a number of options when they get back from recess," said one Senate aide knowledgeable of the compromise legislation that is being developed. The goal is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists say threaten Earth. ...


Can Sisyphus help with that?

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Wed, Feb 17, 2010
from Omaha World-Herald:
Coal ash intentionally scattered over frozen Platte
A crop duster will drop about 86 tons of ash over about 10 spots along the river on Thursday, Berndt said. The ash comes from the Nebraska Public Power District coal plant near Hallam. The hope is that the dark ash will absorb the sun's energy and help "rot" the ice so it breaks up into smaller chunks and washes downstream, Berndt said. Larger ice chunks can jam together like a dam and send floodwaters washing over levees.... Marlin Petermann, assistant general manager of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, said ice on the Platte is averaging about 16.7 inches thick. That's in the range that can pose problems, he said. The cost of the dusting is expected to be less than $100,000 Berndt said. Petermann, who has spent much of his 35-year career watching the river, said it's money well spent. ...


Something tells me that they didn't buy the more expensive heavy-metal-free coal ash.

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Mon, Feb 15, 2010
from Washington Post:
China buying up Australia
Ton by ton, including more than 300 million tons of ore per year and vast quantities of liquid natural gas, China is buying Australia. One of the world's most staggeringly huge transfers of natural resources has both enriched and alarmed Australia, prompted a determined response from Washington and illustrated both China's savvy and ungainliness as it aggressively expands its influence around the world. A surging China has become Australia's No. 1 trading partner. It has pumped $40 billion worth of investments into the Australian economy in the past 18 months alone. China's 70,000 students help bankroll Australia's education system, and a half-million Chinese tourists a year keep Aussies employed as lifeguards, blackjack dealers and real estate brokers. Chinese trade and investment have insulated Australia from the global financial crisis more than any other developed nation. Australia is even speaking Chinese: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is the first Western leader to speak fluent Mandarin.... Lai Cunliang is the Chairman Mao-quoting chief of operations for a Chinese coal company that acquired an Australian competitor for $3 billion in the midst of the global financial crisis. "We've got capital, we've got talent and now," he said, "we're coming out. We are driving change." ...


I came from the land down under...

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Fri, Feb 12, 2010
from ScienceDaily:
Chemists Create Synthetic 'Gene-Like' Crystals for Carbon Dioxide Capture
UCLA chemists report creating a synthetic "gene" that could capture heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming, rising sea levels and the increased acidity of oceans.... "We have taken organic and inorganic units and combined them into a synthetic crystal which codes information in a DNA-like manner. It is by no means as sophisticated as DNA, but it is certainly new in chemistry and materials science." The discovery could lead to cleaner energy, including technology that factories and cars can use to capture carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere. "What we think this will be important for is potentially getting to a viable carbon dioxide-capture material with ultra-high selectivity," said Yaghi, who holds UCLA's Irving and Jean Stone Chair in Physical Sciences and is director of UCLA's Center for Reticular Chemistry. "I am optimistic that is within our reach. Potentially, we could create a material that can convert carbon dioxide into a fuel, or a material that can separate carbon dioxide with greater efficiency." ...


My potential excitement is just around the corner!

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Fri, Feb 5, 2010
from Associated Press:
Few remain as 1962 Pa. coal town fire still burns
...After years of delay, state officials are now trying to complete the demolition of Centralia, a borough in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania that all but ceased to exist in the 1980s after the mine fire spread beneath homes and businesses, threatening residents with poisonous gases and dangerous sinkholes. More than 1,000 people moved out, and 500 structures were razed under a $42 million federal relocation program. But dozens of holdouts ... refused to go - even after their houses were seized through eminent domain in the early 1990s...State officials say the fire continues to burn uncontrolled and could for hundreds of years, until it runs out of fuel. One of their biggest concerns is the danger to tourists who often cluster around steam vents on unstable ground. ...


This town should be turned into a museum, an utterly perfect example of coal's destructiveness.

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Thu, Feb 4, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Obama urges greater use of biofuels
The Obama administration gave a boost to the corn and coal industries Wednesday, announcing a series of moves to accelerate biofuel use and deploy so-called clean-coal technology on power plants. Unveiling the actions in a meeting with energy-state governors at the White House, President Obama said the steps would create jobs in rural areas, reduce foreign energy dependence and curb the emissions that scientists blame for global warming... Most notably, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made final a regulation that could give corn ethanol a much larger share of the renewable-fuel market mandated by Congress in 2007. ...


So much for leading us into The Promised Land.

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Sat, Jan 9, 2010
from Washington Post:
White House, EPA at Odds Over Coal-Waste Rules
Agency's Move to Designate Ash as Hazardous Is Slowed by Regulatory Czar's Assessment of Impact on Industry... The Obama administration is engaged in an unusual internal spat as the White House and Environmental Protection Agency tussle over how to handle millions of tons of waste from coal-fired power plants. Utility and environmental groups are watching the coal-ash dispute as an indicator of the administration's pliability on the regulatory front.... environmental groups are pointing to a flurry of industry meetings on the coal-ash issue as evidence that utilities and other companies are using a foothold within the White House to fight back against potentially far-reaching new rules. ...


"Pliability" meaning... we bend over & take it from the coal industry!

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Fri, Jan 8, 2010
from Discovery News:
Toxic Dust from Tar Travels into Homes
A widely used type of asphalt sealant derived from coal tar may be making its way into the house dust of homes, according to new research. Young children may actually be playing on coal-tar-sealed driveways and playgrounds, potentially raising their exposure to harmful chemicals. The findings, presented at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, concern a group of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Toxic compounds appear in the sealants, which are used to create an even, deep black pavement surface. And coal tar contains a high proportion of PAHs, with levels about 1,000 times higher than in the alternative, asphalt-based sealant. ...


Not another acronym to memorize!

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Fri, Jan 8, 2010
from McClatchy Newspapers:
After review of mountaintop mining, scientists urge ending it
Scientific evidence that mountaintop-removal coal mining destroys streams and threatens human health is so strong the government should stop granting new permits for it, a group of 12 environmental scientists report in Friday's issue of the journal Science. The consequences of this mining in eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and southwestern Virginia are "pervasive and irreversible," the article finds. Companies are required by law to take steps to reduce the damages, but their efforts don't compensate for lost streams nor do they prevent lasting water pollution, it says... "The reason we're willing to make a policy recommendation is that the evidence is so clear-cut" said Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland, the lead author of the Science study and a specialist on the ecology of streams. ...


So to speak...

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Mon, Dec 28, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Need for power coal threatens Zimbabwe national park
Zimbabwe's already dim electricity supply faces a new threat, as the country's main power plant says it needs to dig for new coal reserves under a river inside a national park to keep running. Hwange Colliery says it only has enough coal to power its 940 megawatt plant for three more years. Shortages of coal and working capital, as well as ageing and broken equipment, have already forced the shutdown of three smaller power stations across Zimbabwe, causing daily blackouts that have plagued the country for years. The company says its only viable new deposits of coal suitable for power generation lie in the heart of the Hwange national park, under a river that supplies nearby towns -- including the world-famous Victoria Falls -- as well as thousands of endangered animals. Accessing the new coal would mean strip mining one of the environmentally delicate region's few water supplies. ...


Zimbab-we hardly knew ye.

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Mon, Dec 21, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Sharp rise in metals in Mount Everest ice mirrors growth in Central Asia.
Ice core samples from Mount Everest that represent 800 years of atmospheric history contain much higher levels of certain metals in the last three decades than in the previous seven centuries. The metals are linked to the rising use of fossil fuels in Asia during that same time period. Economic growth and more burning of fossil fuels by industries and cars in central Asia since the 1970s has resulted in higher levels of metals deposited in recent layers of ice collected from Mount Everest. Data from a recent study that examined the cores from the Himalayan Mountains are the first to show that levels of arsenic, molybdenum, tin and antimony in the ice samples have sharply increased during the last 30 years when compared to the previous 700 years. During those centuries, the metal levels varied but were fairly stable. ...


Magnetize those pitons and hooks for added stability!

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Mon, Dec 21, 2009
from Associated Press:
EPA, USDA push farmers to use coal waste on fields
The federal government is encouraging farmers to spread a chalky waste from coal-fired power plants on their fields to loosen and fertilize soil even as it considers regulating coal wastes for the first time. The material is produced by power plant "scrubbers" that remove acid rain causing sulfur dioxide from plant emissions. A synthetic form of the mineral gypsum, it also contains mercury, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says those toxic metals occur in only tiny amounts that pose no threat to crops, surface water or humans. But some environmentalists say too little is known about how the material affects crops, and ultimately human health, for the government to suggest that farmers use it on their land. ...


Maybe experimenting on us is part of the process.

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Wed, Dec 9, 2009
from Knoxville News Sentinel:
Report: Spill released huge load of heavy metals
Last year's Kingston fly ash spill dumped more heavy metals into the Emory River than all the power plants discharged into all the nation's waters the year before, an environmental group said in a report issued Tuesday. The Environmental Integrity Project report states the spill - at 5.4 million cubic yards - released roughly 4 1/2 times more lead and 2 1/2 times more arsenic than the entire power industry released in 2007. The project based its conclusions on data that industry supplied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In all, the report states the Kingston spill discharged 2.66 million pounds worth of 10 heavy metals that are present in coal ash. In 2007, the power industry discharged 2.04 million pounds nationwide....The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already has announced it would propose new standards this month for coal ash, possibly classifying it as hazardous waste. ...


Or... we could classify it as "sweet soup that spilleth out of its bowl."

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Mon, Nov 30, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Effects of using ash remain unknown
Millions of pounds of Duke Energy's coal ash, a byproduct of power plants that can contaminate water, lies underground in the Charlotte region as regulators increase their scrutiny of the waste. Nobody knows whether it poses a threat. North Carolina requires no permits, protective liners or checks of groundwater when ash is used to fill gullies or prepare roadbeds and building foundations. Duke deposited 2.7 million tons of ash for those uses between 1992 and 2003... Duke's Belews Creek power plant in Stokes County proves the value of monitoring ash deposits. Duke had to shut down an ash landfill at the plant in 2008 after repeatedly exceeding state groundwater safety standards... Coal ash contains metals that can be toxic in high concentrations, and Duke Energy has recently detected tainted groundwater near its basins. ...


I'm gonna make a wild guess and say ... yes, it's a threat.

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Thu, Nov 19, 2009
from The Charleston Gazette:
Report details 'coal's assault on human health'
Coal pollution is assaulting human health through impacts on workers, residents near mining operations and power plants, and the environment in coalfield communities, according to a new report by a group of physicians....coal combustion releases mercury, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and dozens of other substances known to be hazardous to human health. ...Even people who do not develop illnesses from coal pollutants could find their health and wellbeing impacted because of coal's contribution to global warming. The discharge of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from coal-burning power plants is a major contributor to global warming and its adverse effects on health worldwide, such as heat stroke, malaria, declining food production, scarce water supplies, social conflict and starvation. ...


ApoCOALypse!

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Wed, Nov 11, 2009
from St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Plan for coal ash landfill draws fire in Labadie
Ginger Gambaro's book club was slated to dissect "The Hummingbird's Daughter" by Louis Alberto Urrea one night in late September. But the novel didn't end up dominating the conversation. Instead, the book club's members seized on a local hot topic: Ameren UE's plan to construct a 400-acre coal-combustion waste landfill at the nearby power plant located in the Missouri River bottomlands....they decided to organize. Less than two months later, the Labadie Environmental Organization formed and more than 65 people turned out for their first public meeting. Their mission? "Save Our Bottoms." ...


An opposition group has formed, called Kiss Your Ass Goodbye.

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Wed, Oct 28, 2009
from The Tennessean:
Coal ash poses significant risk: EPA report says
A new EPA report says that the potentially toxic pollutants in coal ash – from mercury to arsenic - are of particular concern because they can concentrate in large amounts that are discharged to waterways or seep into groundwater... EPA officials have said they would decide by the end of this year whether coal ash should be regulated as a hazardous waste. Coal ash industry officials have advocated for leaving coal ash regulations up to individual states. The EPA report documents cases of fish and other aquatic wildlife kills, as well as contaminated wells and the sublethal affects to wildlife, including damage to reproductive organs and developmental problems. The cause has been coal ash wastewater released accidentally and also routinely discharged into the environment as part of normal coal-fired plant operations. ...


What's the decision? Whether to name it a "hazardous waste" or an "apocalyptic cesspool"?

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Sun, Oct 25, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
EPA to limit mercury emissions from power plants by 2011
The Environmental Protection Agency will put controls on the emissions of hazardous pollutants such as mercury from coal-fired power plants for the first time by November 2011 , according to an agreement announced Friday to settle a lawsuit against the agency. Many other polluters were forced to reduce emissions of toxic material such as mercury, arsenic and lead after the Clean Air Act was strengthened in 1990. Power plants, however, the largest source of mercury pollution, aren't subject to nationwide rules. The tougher rules will clean up more than just heavy metals because some kinds of pollution controls -- scrubbers, for example -- also remove other pollutants, such as soot. ...


I propose coal fired plants be fired, period!

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Tue, Oct 20, 2009
from Associated Press:
Michigan limits mercury emissions from coal-fired plants, requires 90 percent cutback by 2015
Michigan's coal-fired power plants will be required to make drastic cuts in mercury emissions under regulations announced Monday. The rules developed by the Department of Environmental Quality are designed to implement a policy Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced three years ago to slash the generators' mercury output 90 percent by 2015. Coal-fired plants produce 60 percent of Michigan's electricity. "Mercury is a serious health concern, and Michigan is eager to see a major reduction in mercury air emissions," DEQ Director Steven Chester said. A powerful toxin, mercury can damage the human nervous system and cause learning disabilities in fetuses and young children. Coal-fired electric plants are the nation's leading source of mercury pollution. ...


Michigan: Becoming more amenable every day.

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Mon, Oct 12, 2009
from Great Falls Tribune:
Toxic coal ash piling up in ponds in 32 states, analysis shows
An Associated Press analysis of the most recent Energy Department data found that 156 coal-fired power plants store ash in surface ponds similar to one that ruptured last month in Tennessee. On Friday, a pond at a northeastern Alabama power plant spilled a different material. Records indicate that states storing the most coal ash in ponds are Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama.... AP's analysis found that in 2005, the most recent year data is available, 721 power plants generating at least 100 megawatts of electricity produced 95.8 million tons of coal ash. About 20 percent --or nearly 20 million tons -- ended up in surface ponds. The remainder ends up in landfills or is sold for use in concrete, among other uses.... "There has been zero done by the EPA," said Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W. Va., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. ...


That was the past. Now we have clean coal. Right?

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Sat, Oct 10, 2009
from CleanTechnica:
90 percent of Coal Plant CO2 Captured in 12-Month Test
One year ago the French company Alstrom began a year-long US test of capturing CO2 from the water+carbon-dioxide mix created using their chilled-ammonia technology, in the smokestack of the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant in Wisconsin. This week the year's results were announced. The years average CO2 capture rate was 90 percent, according to a joint announcement from the EPRI, We Energies and Alstrom to the Society of Environmental Journalists.... The 12-month test was just completed after running 24 hours a day on a small sectioned-off portion of the smokestack; working on just 5 percent of the plants total emissions. But the test is scalable, and the Electric Power Research Institute, the R&D arm of the utility industry, is optimistic that chilled-ammonia technology will work on a larger scale. It is one of several carbon-capture technologies under consideration as we move to a carbon constrained world. ...


I think we need another few years of study, don't you?

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Sun, Oct 4, 2009
from Columbia State:
Arsenic draining into Wateree River
Streams of a poisonous, potentially cancer-causing substance recently were found draining to the Wateree River from SCE&G's coal-fired power plant in lower Richland County. Consultants discovered elevated levels of arsenic seeping from an earthen wall along the power plant's 80-acre coal ash waste pond, just a few miles upstream from Congaree National Park. The wall is supposed to block pollution from moving out of the pond and into the Wateree River, less than 300 feet away. One of the consultants, J.C. Hare, said leaks he saw last month in the earthen wall created two streams of arsenic-tainted runoff that in places measured several feet wide. ...


Just as long as it's "clean" arsenic...

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Sat, Oct 3, 2009
from The Nation:
The Coalfield Uprising
... More than 3.5 million pounds of explosives rip daily across the ridges and historic mountain communities in West Virginia; a similar amount of explosives are employed in eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee. Mountaintop removal operations have destroyed more than 500 mountains and 1.2 million acres of forest in our nation's oldest and most diverse range, and jammed more than 1,200 miles of streams with mining waste... Coalfield residents are not waiting for the Obama administration to come to their rescue. In fact, in the past year a surging activist and citizen lobbyist campaign has emerged as a fierce counterforce to the Big Coal lobby. The leaders of this growing and increasingly powerful movement are not content with a new era of stricter regulations in the coalfields. Their aim is to abolish mountaintop removal once and for all. ...


Yes WE can!

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Wed, Sep 23, 2009
from TomDispatch (Michael Klare), via Mother Jones:
The Era of Xtreme Energy
The debate rages over whether we have already reached the point of peak world oil output or will not do so until at least the next decade. There can, however, be little doubt of one thing: we are moving from an era in which oil was the world's principal energy source to one in which petroleum alternatives -- especially renewable supplies derived from the sun, wind, and waves -- will provide an ever larger share of our total supply. But buckle your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride under Xtreme conditions. It would, of course, be ideal if the shift from dwindling oil to its climate-friendly successors were to happen smoothly via a mammoth, well-coordinated, interlaced system of wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and other renewable energy installations. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to occur. Instead, we will surely first pass through an era characterized by excessive reliance on oil's final, least attractive reserves along with coal, heavily polluting "unconventional" hydrocarbons like Canadian oil sands, and other unappealing fuel choices. ...


Thank goodness "clean coal" is just around the corner!

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Wed, Sep 16, 2009
from New York Times:
Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering
Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system. "How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?" said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the state's largest banks.... When Mrs. Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors sued nine nearby coal companies, accusing them of putting dangerous waste into local water supplies, their lawyer did not have to look far for evidence. As required by state law, some of the companies had disclosed in reports to regulators that they were pumping into the ground illegal concentrations of chemicals -- the same pollutants that flowed from residents' taps. But state regulators never fined or punished those companies for breaking those pollution laws. ...


What's a few heavy metals, between friends?

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Wed, Sep 9, 2009
from Lexington Herald-Leader:
Massey CEO blasts climate bill at rally
The chief executive of coal mining giant Massey Energy blasted supporters of climate-change legislation and other environmental issues affecting the coal industry at a free Labor Day concert and rally in southern West Virginia. CEO Don Blankenship said he wanted to show people at the event how government regulation is hurting the coal industry, driving up energy prices and making the country less competitive.... Headlining the event were Fox News personality Sean Hannity and [Hank] Williams, [Jr.], while rocker Ted Nugent served as master of ceremonies and played briefly. "Today's the day when the American worker takes back this country," Nugent said. Hannity blasted President Barack Obama on several topics, including energy policy. "Barack Obama hates the coal industry. Barack Obama hates the oil industry," Hannity said. "If they shut down the coal industry, we lose America as we know it." ...


I hear Obama wants coal-loving people to go before death panels.

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Sun, Sep 6, 2009
from Cebu Daily News (Philippines):
Moratorium on coal ash dumping declared
A moratorium on coal ash dumping in Naga City, Cebu was declared last month by a regional environment official pending test findings of chemical and air pollution tests. With this, Salcon Power Corp. and Korean Power Corp. are supposed to halt all indiscriminate disposal of coal ash waste from their power-generating plants.... In recent months, trucks have been unloading black soil-like material in open spaces, including a private subdivision, of Naga. Some residents welcomed the ash as filling materials for vacant property, unaware of warnings that coal ash was a pollutant and may contain heavy metals and toxic substances that endanger health. ...


But it's so much cheaper to dump it willy-nilly.

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Wed, Aug 19, 2009
from Associated Press:
New gov't study shows mercury in fish widespread
No fish can escape mercury pollution. That's the take-home message from a federal study of mercury contamination released Wednesday that tested fish from nearly 300 streams across the country. The toxic substance was found in every fish sampled, a finding that underscores how widespread mercury pollution has become.... Mercury consumed by eating fish can damage the nervous system and cause learning disabilities in developing fetuses and young children. The main source of mercury to most of the streams tested, according to the researchers, is emissions from coal-fired power plants. The mercury released from smokestacks here and abroad rains down into waterways, where natural processes convert it into methylmercury a form that allows the toxin to wind its way up the food chain into fish. ...


...and keep on winding its way up to us!

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Tue, Aug 18, 2009
from DOE, via EurekAlert:
New process removes sulfur components, CO2 from power plant emissions
The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a reusable organic liquid that can pull harmful gases such as carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide out of industrial emissions from power plants. The process could directly replace current methods and allow power plants to capture double the amount of harmful gases in a way that uses no water, less energy and saves money. "Power plants could easily retrofit to use our process as a direct replacement for existing technology," said David Heldebrant, PNNL's lead research scientist for the project.... Harmful gases such as carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide are called "acid gases". The new scrubbing process uses acid gas-binding organic liquids that contain no water and appear similar to oily compounds. These liquids capture the acid gases near room temperature. Scientists then heat the liquid to recover and dispose of the acid gases properly. ...


Double survival, double it now, with doublegood, doublefun, monoethanolamine.

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Mon, Aug 17, 2009
from Wall Street Journal:
New Priorities For Our Energy Future
By T. BOONE PICKENS AND TED TURNER Renewable energy and clean-burning natural gas are the basis of a new strategy the world needs to create a cleaner and more secure future. And the global transformation to a clean-energy economy may be the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. According to the authoritative Potential Gas Committee (administered by the Colorado School of Mines), the U.S. sits on top of massive reservoirs of natural gasan estimated 2,000 trillion cubic feetthat contain more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia... natural gas is already cheap, available and ready to meet the nation's power needs while improving climate security. It emits about half the carbon dioxide per British thermal unit of energy, and far fewer of the heavy metals than does coal. ...


The coal industry is going to crap a coal brick when they read this editorial.

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Thu, Jul 23, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Meet Belchatow, Europe's biggest carbon polluter
The biggest single producer of carbon emissions in the European Union has been named -- and it is about to get even bigger. The appropriately titled Elektrownia Belchatow -- a massive coal-fired power station -- belched out 30,862,792 tonnes of CO2 last year and by 2010 the whole generating facility will have grown by 20 percent.... Elektrownia Belchatow is raising coal-fired capacity from 4,400 megawatts to 5,258 from next year. The facility, which burns the most polluting lignite "brown" coal from its own mine next door, is earmarked for a full carbon capture and storage prototype, but only by 2015 at the earliest.... New coal stations are being planned in big numbers in the US and China but the EU has been arguing that all countries should proceed only if they use CCS to turn them into "clean" coal projects. ...


What's Polish for "you are building our future hell," I wonder?

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Mon, Jul 20, 2009
from London Financial Times:
How to end America's deadly coal addiction
Converting rapidly from coal-generated energy to gas is President Barack Obama's most obvious first step towards saving our planet and jump-starting our economy. A revolution in natural gas production over the past two years has left America awash with natural gas and has made it possible to eliminate most of our dependence on deadly, destructive coal practically overnight -- and without the expense of building new power plants... By changing the dispatch rule nationally to require that whenever coal and gas plants are competing head-to-head, gas generation must be utilised first, we could quickly reduce coal generation and achieve massive emissions reductions. In an instant, this simple change could eliminate three-quarters of America's coal-burning generators and save a fortune in energy costs. Around 920 US coal plants -- 78 per cent of the total -- are small (generating less than half a gigawatt), antiquated and horrendously inefficient. Their average age is 45 years, with many over 75. They tend to be located amidst dense populations and in poor neighbourhoods to lethal effect. ...


Something tells me this idea is gonna get the coal industry steaming.

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Sun, Jul 19, 2009
from Newsweek:
Toxic Tsunami
...the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant had experienced a catastrophic failure... The largest industrial spill in U.S. history, it has created an environmental and engineering nightmare. The cleanup effort, which the Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing, could cost as much as $1 billion (though estimates continue to climb) and take years to complete. Meanwhile, the released ash -- which is packed with toxins like arsenic, lead, and selenium -- threatens to poison the air and water. Congressional committees are investigating the failure, some lawmakers are calling for greater regulation of utilities, and the EPA is probing about 400 other facilities across the country that store ash in similar ways. Yet the debacle has had another, potentially more far-reaching, impact: it has displayed in the most graphic manner imaginable just how dirty coal is. At a time when seemingly everyone from President Barack Obama on down is talking about "clean coal," the spill showed it's anything but. "Kingston opened people's eyes," says Lisa Evans of Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental-law firm. "Clean coal is an impossibility." ...


You had me... at "tsunami"...

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Tue, Jun 16, 2009
from University of Alberta, via EurekAlert:
Mercury in Mackenzie River delta dramatically higher than previously believed
... dramatically higher delivery of mercury from the Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean than determined in previous studies. She collected samples for three months and discovered the total amount of mercury exported from the river during that three-month period was equal to an entire year's worth of mercury calculated in previous studies.... "Methyl mercury is a neurotoxin and it's primarily passed on to humans through contaminated fish muscle," Graydon said. "This leaves northern communities vulnerable, because a large part of their diet is Arctic fish species and Beluga whales."... "There are very few point sources for mercury in the Arctic," ... Graydon says the biggest contributor of man-made mercury pollution is coal-fired power production. ...


Maybe all that mercury will make the melting Arctic reflective.

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Mon, Jun 15, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
Is Obama caving in to coal?
...The administration last week announced a number of new restrictions on mountaintop coal mining in the six Appalachian states where it occurs. They are minimal steps that, among other things, will make it harder for mining companies to escape environmental review when seeking permits to blow up mountains. For this, Obama merits polite applause. That's in contrast to the much-deserved boos he received last month from environmentalists after his administration quietly sent a letter to coal industry loyalist Rep. Nick Rahall II (D-W.Va.) saying the Environmental Protection Agency wouldn't stand in the way of at least two dozen new mountaintop-removal projects... Obama is clearly intimidated by coal's powerful lobby. ...


Yes we coal!

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Sat, Jun 13, 2009
from Associated Press:
Locations of high-risk coal ash sites kept secret
The Obama administration has decided to keep secret the locations of nearly four dozen coal ash storage sites that pose a threat to people living nearby. The Environmental Protection Agency classified the 44 sites as potential hazards to communities while investigating storage of coal ash waste after a spill at a Tennessee power plant in December. The classification means the waste sites could cause death and significant property damage if an event such as a storm, a terrorist attack or a structural failure caused them to spill into surrounding communities. The sites have existed for years with little or no federal regulation. The Army Corps of Engineers in a letter dated June 4 told the EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency that the public should not be alerted to the whereabouts of the sites because it would compromise national security. ...


Apparently the health and safety of citizens has nothing to do with national security.

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Mon, May 25, 2009
from Associated Press:
Renowned climber warns Everest facing climate damage
A Sherpa from Nepal who holds the world's record for scaling Mount Everest said Monday the planet's highest peak was littered with trash and warned that its glaciers were melting because of global warming. Appa, who like most Sherpas goes by only one name, scaled the peak last week not to draw attention to his own amazing feat -- he has now climbed Everest a record 19 times -- but to the impact that global warming is having on the majestic site. Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating lakes whose walls could burst and flood villages below. Melting ice and snow also make the routes for mountaineers less stable and more difficult to follow. "We have only one Everest, we need to clean it, protect it," said Appa, who flew back to Katmandu on Monday after reached the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) summit last Thursday for the 19th time. ...


Everest, the poster child for beleaguered peaks.

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Mon, May 25, 2009
from Sandusky Register:
Latta: Energy bill could destroy Ohio jobs
Global warming is billed as one of the most dire problems facing the Earth. But will the burden of fixing it fall unfairly upon residents and businesses in Ohio? U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, is trying to sound the alarm. He warns a new bill making its way through the House will destroy jobs in Ohio and increase the costs of energy for almost everyone -- all in the name of reducing greenhouse gases. "If you use coal, you're whacked," said Latta, whose district includes Huron County. He notes in Ohio, unlike states such as California where "green" legislation is popular, everyone depends on electricity produced by coal plants. ...


Poor widdle buckeyes...

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Tue, May 19, 2009
from London Guardian:
Peru army moves into Amazon after tribes blockade rivers and roads
Peru's army is poised to deploy in the Amazon rainforest to lift blockades across rivers and roads by indigenous people opposed to oil, gas, logging and mining projects. The government has authorised the military to move into remote provinces where a state of emergency has been declared in the wake of a month-long stand-off between indigenous people and police... Indigenous groups, backed by environmentalists and Catholic bishops, have protested that the developments will devastate the area's ecology and their culture. About 65 tribes have mobilised 30,000 people to disrupt roads, waterways and pipelines, leading to skirmishes with police. Up to 41 vessels serving energy companies are stuck along jungle rivers, paralysed by the protests, one private sector source told Reuters. ...


If this was a movie, the rainforest animals would join forces with the environmentalists.

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Sat, May 16, 2009
from Charleston Gazette:
Obama's EPA clears 42 of 48 new mountaintop removal mining permits
The Obama administration has cleared more than three-dozen new mountaintop removal permits for issuance by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, drawing quick criticism from environmental groups who had hoped the new president would halt the controversial practice. In a surprise announcement Friday, Rep. Nick J. Rahall said 42 of the 48 permits already examined by the U.S. Environmental Protection had been approved by EPA for issuance by the corps. "It is unfortunate that, when EPA once again began reviewing proposed coal mining permits earlier this year, alarmists claimed that a moratorium on permit issuance was being proposed," Rahall said in a telephone news conference. "That was not that case then, and it is not the case now." The West Virginia Democrat is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the federal strip mining law, and represents a district that includes most of the state's southern coal counties. ...


Sometimes "hope" can cut both ways.

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Mon, May 11, 2009
from Associated Press:
Former coal lobbyist takes state post
A former coal industry lobbyist has been named to a top post with Indiana's environmental agency, an appointment that environmental activists say raises questions about whether he can be objective in his new job. David Joest, a former registered lobbyist for Peabody Coal Co., became the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's assistant commissioner for the Office of Legal Counsel in April. That post puts him in charge of civil enforcement and criminal investigations of the state's biggest polluters. IDEM spokesman Barry Sneed said the agency "is fortunate to have someone of his caliber and experience." But environmentalists say they're baffled by his appointment, which comes as his former employer, Peabody Energy, seeks to start new mines in Indiana. ...


That's kind of like the fox watching the fox house.

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Fri, May 8, 2009
from Charleston Gazette:
Bush EPA hid data on coal-ash risks, study shows
The Bush administration kept secret for nearly five years data that showed increased cancer risks from drinking water polluted by coal-ash impoundments, according to a new report issued Thursday. Under President Bush, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials never made public an October 2002 study that outlined increased risks of as high as 1 in 50 additional cancer cases. EPA later published some of the data in an August 2007 study. But even then, the agency report left out some key information about additional dangers to aquatic ecosystems and wildlife from toxic metals leaching out of unlined or inadequately lined coal-ash dumps. The Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice on Thursday issued a report that tries to explain in simple language the findings in both EPA documents, which examined more than 200 coal-ash landfills and surface impoundments. ...


Bush and company... nothing but a bunch of ashholes!

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Tue, May 5, 2009
from Kansas City Star:
New governor approves one coal-fired power plant for Kansas
In a stunning reversal from his predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday signed an agreement ending a two-year fight over plans to build coal-fired power plants in western Kansas. The compromise allows Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build one 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, instead of two 700-megawatt plants that were repeatedly blocked by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor. In exchange for the go-ahead, Sunflower will build more wind turbines and agree to more pollution controls and a greater investment in energy efficiency. "We have been at an energy impasse for the past couple of years," said Parkinson, a Democrat. "I thought it was time to bring an end to that impasse." ...


With Dorothy gone to Washington, looks like the Wicked Witch is taking over.

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Sat, May 2, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Big increase in ocean mercury found; study predicts more human threat from fish
Mercury levels in the Pacific Ocean will rise by 50 percent within the next few decades as emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources increase, scientists reported Friday. The researchers, led by scientists from Harvard University and the U.S. Geological Survey, found that the ocean's mercury levels have already risen about 30 percent over the last 20 years. Combined, the findings mean the Pacific Ocean will be twice as contaminated with mercury in 2050 as it was in 1995 if the emission rates continue. As a result, people around the globe will be increasingly exposed to mercury from eating fish and other seafood. Methylmercury, a neurotoxin, can alter brain development of fetuses and has been linked with learning problems and reduced IQs in some children. ...


The stupider these kids, the less chance they'll figure out we're to blame for ruining their earth.

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Thu, Apr 30, 2009
from BBC (UK):
'Safe' climate means 'no to coal'
About three-quarters of the world's fossil fuel reserves must be left unused if society is to avoid dangerous climate change, scientists warn.... [T]his group of scientists says that the cumulative total provides a better measure of the likely temperature rise, and may present an easier target for policymakers. "To avoid dangerous climate change, we will have to limit the total amount of carbon we inject into the atmosphere, not just the emission rate in any given year," said Myles Allen from the physics department at Oxford University. "Climate policy needs an exit strategy; as well as reducing carbon emissions now, we need a plan for phasing out net emissions entirely." ...


But what about "clean coal"? What about carbon-sequestering unicorns?

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Sat, Apr 25, 2009
from Greenwire:
Dust from coal trucks poses Appalachian health threat -- study
Coal trucks rumbling through neighborhoods in southwest Virginia are trailing dust clouds that violate federal pollution standards, according to a report that advocacy groups released yesterday. The study (pdf) conducted by North Carolina State University for the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and the Sierra Club analyzed airborne dust along the roads of Roda in Wise County, where trucks haul coal from several mining operations. The trucks track coal, mud and debris from the mines to the road, where it dries and turns to dust that is stirred up by other vehicles. That dust coats houses and is thought to cause respiratory and other health ailments, researchers found. ...


To me... it's all part of the Apo-coal-ypse!

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Wed, Apr 22, 2009
from Indianapolis Star:
Indiana ranks near bottom in environmental issues
Environmental comparisons can be difficult because of oceans of complex data generated and evaluated in different ways. But it seems that no matter who is compiling the survey -- or what aspect of the environment is being measured -- Indiana consistently ranks near the bottom. Some examples: Forbes.com ranked Indiana 49th out of 50 states in its 2007 "America's Greenest States" survey. Only West Virginia fared worse. Indianapolis ranked 99th out of 100 metropolitan areas per capita in a 2008 Brookings Institution report on environmentally harmful carbon emissions from transportation and energy. Only Lexington, Ky., was worse. ...


Beloved Hoosier pastimes include: racing, basketball, and death by environmental contamination.

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Tue, Apr 14, 2009
from Lawrence Journal-World & 6News:
New battle expected after Gov. Sebelius vetoes coal-burning power plant bill
It's a showdown over coal-burning power plants again. On Monday, as expected, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed legislation that would allow construction of the two 700-megawatt plants in southwest Kansas. She vetoed three similar bills last year. In her newest veto message Monday, Sebelius said of the legislation, "What was a bad idea last year, is an even worse idea today." President Barack Obama is moving toward regulating carbon dioxide emissions, and Kansas doesn't need the plants for its own energy needs, she said. ...


You go, Gov!

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Fri, Apr 3, 2009
from The Nation:
Tennessee's Dirty Data
The Tennessee Valley Authority manipulated science methods to downplay water contamination caused by a massive coal ash disaster, according to independent technical experts and critics of the federally funded electrical company. The TVA is the largest public provider of electricity in the nation, providing power to 670,000 homes and burning through some 14,000 tons of coal per day. On December 22 the authority made headlines when one of its retention ponds collapsed, letting loose an avalanche of coal ash--the toxic residue left over when coal is burned. More than 5 million cubic yards of ashy mud pushed its way through a neighborhood and into Tennessee's Emory River, knocked houses off foundations and blanketed river water with plumes of gray scum that flowed downstream. New evidence indicates that in the wake of the disaster, the TVA may have intentionally collected water samples from clean spots in the Emory River, a major supplier of drinking water for nearby cities and a popular site for recreational activities such as swimming and fishing. Third-party tests have found high levels of toxins in the river water and in private wells, while the TVA has assured residents that tap water, well water and river water are safe. ...


Isn't it just soooo human nature to want to cover up mistakes.

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Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from Washington Times:
Coal is winner even in 'green' Congress
After two years of campaign rhetoric and months of hearings, Congress is set this week to begin testing whether it can turn the push for renewable energy sought by President Obama into reality. But the result is likely to fall short of Mr. Obama's goals and, ironically, preserve the primacy of the most abundant and dirtiest fossil fuel: coal. Lawmakers this spring plan to keep their distance from the president's most ambitious and controversial proposals, including a mandate for utilities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and the creation of a system to reduce such emissions called "cap and trade." Yet they appear eager to appropriate billions of dollars for a little-tested technology that would prevent carbon dioxide from polluting the air by burying it underground, a process called "sequestration." Coal - and the many parts of the country that rely on coal for power generation - would be the prime beneficiaries of such funding. ...


Coal... it is still king.

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Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from The Washington Independent:
Tensions High as EPA Reasserts Mining Authority
For environmentalists in the Appalachians, it was a roller-coaster week. Just one day after the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to reassert its powers to protect mountain streams from the ravages of mountaintop coal mining, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the broad expansion of such a project without EPA input... The recent saga began last Monday, when the EPA sent letters to the Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington, W.Va., recommending that the Corps either deny or alter proposed projects in West Virginia and Kentucky because agency studies show that the two mountaintop mines would have serious water-quality consequences. A day later, the EPA vowed to review hundreds more backlogged permit requests to assess their effect on streams... On Wednesday, however, the Corps’ Louisville district approved a 1.5-square-mile expansion of a mountaintop mine in Southeast Kentucky with no input from the EPA. ...


In the battle betwixt the two my money's on the Army!

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Mon, Mar 30, 2009
from Cleantech Blog:
Carbon Capture and Storage: To Be or Not To Be? Or, To Partially Be?
One of the more contentious questions in the cleantech community is the role of coal in the energy sector of the future. There's a lot of coal in the world -- many decades of supply left -- including here in the U.S. It's pretty darned cheap to mine. So, it would be great to figure out a way to use it in non-harmful ways. And there's the rub: it's a pretty nasty fuel. Putting aside the issue of how to mine coal in an environmentally-acceptable manner, coal is one of the most highly carbonaceous of hydrocarbons, meaning that it generates a lot of carbon dioxide per unit of energy released when burned -- much more so than oil or natural gas. As a result, the worldwide use of coal -- primarily for power generation -- is the largest component of global carbon dioxide emissions, which in turn is the most important of the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. In the arena of climate change, coal is therefore the main culprit. Not the only culprit, to be sure, but the main one.... ...


Hey, it all smells like the same air to me.

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Fri, Mar 27, 2009
from The Nation:
The Dirt on Clean Coal
...the American coal industry, which pumps 2 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year and contributes more than one-third of the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions, is nothing if not resilient. Despite rising public concern about global warming and a growing awareness that coal is an irrevocably dirty business, the industry is spending millions of dollars on a slick messaging campaign stressing its "commitment to clean." Critics argue that "clean coal" means anything the industry wants it to, pointing out that of the country's 616 coal plants, none are carbon-free or close to it. The viability of an environmentally sustainable future for coal is questionable, and so is the industry's commitment to cleaning itself up. The Center for American Progress recently released a report showing that the country's biggest coal companies have spent only a fraction of their multibillion-dollar profits developing technologies to curb carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. "The ads and other public clean coal activities are merely designed to delay global warming solutions without suffering a public relations black eye," the CAP report stated. ...


Public Relations = Public Ruination!

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Sat, Mar 21, 2009
from AP News:
Critics question safety of storing coal slurry in mines
Regulators in a handful of Appalachian states that let coal companies inject slurry into abandoned mines say they're confident the practice is safe, but an Associated Press survey shows they lack scientific data to answer citizens who believe aquifers, water wells and their own health are at risk. None of the five states contacted by AP has studied the chemical composition of slurry, a byproduct left when clay, sulfur and other impurities are removed from coal to make it burn more efficiently. For decades, slurry has been injected into abandoned, underground mines in Appalachia as a cheap alternative to building massive dams or filtration and drying systems. But hundreds of West Virginians are suing coal companies in two cases, claiming chemicals and metals in the slurry have leaked into aquifers, contaminated well water and caused health problems ranging from kidney disease to cancer. ...


Seems like maybe we should just burn it instead. I'm confident that's safe.

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Tue, Mar 17, 2009
from Associated Press:
8 Dems oppose quick debate on global warming bill
Eight Senate Democrats are opposing speedy action on President Barack Obama's bill to combat global warming, complicating prospects for the legislation and creating problems for their party's leaders. The eight Democrats disapprove of using the annual budget debate to pass Obama's "cap and trade" bill to fight greenhouse gas emissions, a measure that divides lawmakers, environmentalists and businesses. The lawmakers' opposition makes it more difficult for Democratic leaders to move the bill without a threat of a Republican filibuster. The budget debate is the only way to circumvent Senate rules that allow a unified GOP to stop a bill through filibusters. ...


By all means let's fiddle around while the earth burns!

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Mon, Feb 23, 2009
from The Louisville Courier-Journal:
Indiana ash ponds pollute bird habitat, drinking water
The ash ponds at the nation's third-largest coal plant near here have contaminated a new wildlife sanctuary for endangered birds and the drinking water of a neighboring community. And while a federal agency and the company that owns the Gibson plant, Duke Energy, have taken steps to alleviate both problems, advocates say the situation underscores the need for a fresh look at the hazards of coal combustion waste. Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promised such a review following the 1.1billion-gallon ash slide in Tennessee in December that smothered several hundred acres. The House Natural Resources Committee is weighing national standards for ash impoundments, and the new EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, has promised to study whether national standards are needed to prevent toxic contaminants in ash from polluting water. ...


They are nothing but a bunch of ash-holes!

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Sun, Feb 22, 2009
from The Center for Public Integrity:
Coal Ash: The Hidden Story
...For decades, the dangers of coal ash had largely been hidden from public view. That all changed in December 2008, when an earthen dam holding a billion gallons of coal ash in a pond collapsed in eastern Tennessee, deluging 300 acres in gray muck, destroying houses and water supplies, and dirtying a river. But what happened in the Volunteer State represents just a small slice of the potential threat from coal ash. In many states -- at ponds, landfills, and pits where coal ash gets dumped -- a slow seepage of the ash's metals has poisoned water supplies, damaged ecosystems, and jeopardized citizens' health. In July 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified 63 "proven or potential damage cases" in 23 states where coal ash has tarnished groundwater and harmed ecology. Additional cases of contamination have since surfaced in states as far-flung as Maryland, New Mexico, Indiana, and Virginia. And in some locations, like Colstrip, the contamination has resulted in multimillion-dollar payouts to residents enduring the devastation. Despite the litany of damage, there's no meaningful federal regulation of coal ash on the books; indeed, oversight of ash disposal -- much of it stunningly casual -- is largely left to the states. ...


Looks like we all got coal ash in our Christmas stockings.

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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
from Times Online (UK):
Windmills flap helplessly as coal remains king
If you flick a switch today, the light goes on because of coal. Almost half the power generated in Britain on Tuesday came from coal and a bit more than a third from natural gas. Nuclear power stations were contributing 17 per cent and windmills provided 0.6 per cent.... After all the politics, we are breathless as our bright new whirligigs stand motionless on a beach horizon. The wind has failed, as it does during periods of intense heat and cold, and although we have built, with enormous subsidy, enough wind turbines to generate 5 per cent of our electricity, no more than 1 per cent is operational when we need it.... The reason why we are still stuffing black lumps of carbon into furnaces is simple: it makes economic sense and the financial markets are shouting this message louder than ever before. ...


And if the financial markets say it makes sense, then it must be so!

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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
from New Scientist:
Ban on mountaintop mining overturned
Even as public opinion in the US turns against coal, judges have overturned a ban on blasting away mountaintops to get at seams. In the central Appalachians, including West Virginia, mining companies have lopped up to 300 metres off hundreds of mountains, destroying biologically diverse hardwood forest. The debris is often dumped into valleys, sometimes burying streams in the process. A lawsuit filed by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) based in Huntington, West Virginia, argued that such valley fills violate the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, and a US district court ruled in their favour in March 2007. But on 13 February, a Court of Appeals panel voted 2:1 to reverse the decision. ...


Mountaintop soccer, anyone?

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
from Associated Press:
DEP uncertain if coal slurry injection is safe
Two years after it was charged to do so, and 13 months after its original deadline, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection remains unable to answer a question that worries thousands in the southern coalfields: Are water supplies and human health at risk when a chemical soup from the cleaning of coal is pumped into worked-out underground mines? "We have some concerns, to be quite honest with you," DEP Director Randy Huffman told The Associated Press about coal slurry injection. "We have questions we're trying to get some answers to, to make sure it's safe." Yet coal operators are still permitted to inject slurry at 15 locations. The DEP cannot say precisely what's in that waste, how much is injected annually, or whether and where it migrates. Nor is it under any pressure to do so: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn't studied the practice in a decade and said in 2002 its existing rules were adequate to protect groundwater. ...


Something tells me ... I dunno... a "chemical soup" might -- just might -- not be so good for ya...

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Mon, Jan 12, 2009
from Chicago Tribune:
Studies show SE. Ind. site high in mercury levels
INDIANAPOLIS - Rain and snow that fall near a cluster of coal-burning power plants in southeastern Indiana are laced with some of the highest concentrations of atmospheric mercury in the nation, a new federal study has found. The U.S. Geological Survey research found the elevated levels of the toxic metal near Madison, Ind., adding to evidence that mercury spewed by power plants can end up in high concentrations in rain and snow that falls nearby. The findings, along with a study that found the most toxic form of the metal in more than 80 percent of samples taken from streams statewide, document the legacy of one pollutant from modern industry, the researchers say. "Everywhere we looked in Indiana we found mercury, and it's not the same everywhere, nor is it the same year to year or season to season," said Martin Risch, a USGS scientist who authored both papers. ...


Turns out it's not just yellow snow that's off limits for eating...

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Tue, Dec 30, 2008
from New York Times:
At Plant in Coal Ash Spill, Toxic Deposits by the Ton
In a single year, a coal-fired electric plant deposited more than 2.2 million pounds of toxic materials in a holding pond that failed last week, flooding 300 acres in East Tennessee, according to a 2007 inventory filed with the Environmental Protection Agency. The inventory, disclosed by the Tennessee Valley Authority on Monday at the request of The New York Times, showed that in just one year, the plant's byproducts included 45,000 pounds of arsenic, 49,000 pounds of lead, 1.4 million pounds of barium, 91,000 pounds of chromium and 140,000 pounds of manganese. Those metals can cause cancer, liver damage and neurological complications, among other health problems. And the holding pond, at the Kingston Fossil Plant, a T.V.A. plant 40 miles west of Knoxville, contained many decades' worth of these deposits. ...


If this is "clean coal" I'd sure hate to know what's in dirty coal!

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Sat, Dec 27, 2008
from New York Times:
Tennessee Ash Flood Larger Than Initial Estimate
A coal ash spill in eastern Tennessee that experts were already calling the largest environmental disaster of its kind in the United States is more than three times as large as initially estimated, according to an updated survey by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Officials at the authority initially said that about 1.7 million cubic yards of wet coal ash had spilled when the earthen retaining wall of an ash pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant, about 40 miles west of Knoxville, gave way on Monday. But on Thursday they released the results of an aerial survey that showed the actual amount was 5.4 million cubic yards, or enough to flood more than 3,000 acres one foot deep. ...


Somebody made an awfully big boo-boo!

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Fri, Dec 26, 2008
from Discovery Channel:
Tenn. Sludge Spill Challenges 'Clean Coal' Future
When an earthen wall holding back 525 million gallons of ash slurry gave way at the coal-fired Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee in the wee hours of Monday morning, the resultant flood ruined a picturesque rural landscape, inundated more than a dozen houses, and blanketed as much as 400 acres of land with potentially toxic muck.... But the mud has done much more than just sully a countryside. Americans' energy consumption habits are a top-tier political issue, and as we look for new ways to curtail global warming, wean ourselves from oil, and find sources of clean energy, coal's role is still unclear. So the accident raises a serious question: Is there such a thing as "clean coal"? ...


Now this is what I call a shovel-ready project!

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Thu, Dec 18, 2008
from The Charleston Gazette:
Energy secretary nominee sees coal as 'nightmare'
... Carbon capture and storage research is still in its early stages, said Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist announced by Obama this week as his nominee to run the U.S. Department of Energy. Real-world projects to pump millions of tons of carbon dioxide might also be rejected unless scientists show it can be done safely, Chu said during an April speech. "Coal is my worst nightmare," said Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Stanford University professor. ...


All I can say to Dr. Chu is gesundheit!

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Fri, Dec 5, 2008
from New York Times:
Mountaintop Mining Rule Approved
The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. The rule is one of the most contentious of all the regulations emerging from the White House in President Bush's last weeks in office.... "This is unmistakably a fire sale of epic size for coal and the entire fossil fuel industry, with flagrant disregard for human health, the environment or the rule of law," said Vickie Patton, deputy general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund. ...


Coming soon: the great West Virginia plateau.

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Tue, Oct 21, 2008
from Science News:
Clean coal for cars has a dirty side
If the United States tried to achieve independence from foreign oil by making gasoline from vast reserves of domestic coal, the country would probably end up increasing its carbon emissions, a new study concludes. Researchers found that in realistic scenarios, the mass production of fuel from coal or natural gas would lead to the emission of more climate-changing greenhouse gases than the current oil-based economy. But even in the most optimistic scenarios, which assumed that breakthroughs in technology could be achieved, coal and gas would not help reduce emissions from transportation, the researchers report in the Oct. 15 Environmental Science & Technology. ...


Senator Obama.... are you listening?

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Tue, Oct 7, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
End use of fossil fuels in 20 years, UK warned
Britain must abandon using almost all fossil fuels to produce power in 20 years' time, the government's climate change watchdog will warn today. The independent Climate Change Committee will publish its advice to the government that the UK should set a 2050 target of cutting all greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent -- including the emissions from aviation and transport, which were previously excluded.... "We have to almost totally decarbonise the power sector by 2030, well before 2050," he said. ...


Leave the coals in Newcastle.

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Tue, Sep 9, 2008
from London Times:
How carbon capture and storage (CCS) could make coal the fuel of the future
It has been condemned as one of the main causes of global warming but is coal about to enjoy an extraordinary rebirth as the fuel of the future? The first power plant in the world that will take the toxic emissions from coal and bury them deep in the ground opens today, carrying with it the hopes of scientists and environmentalists around the world. If the power station in Spremberg, eastern Germany, is able to produce affordable electricity without polluting the atmosphere, it could mark the start of a new era for a fossil fuel whose days appeared numbered. ...


Surely, putting toxic emissions deep in the ground will never come back to haunt us.

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Wed, Sep 3, 2008
from London Guardian:
Coal plans go up in smoke
One day, historians might speculate that it was the ambition of the companies that sought to profit by building coal-fired power stations that triggered the beginning of the end for humans' most polluting habit. Four years ago, campaigners in the US raised concerns over plans to build 150 coal-fired power stations nationwide. Today, nearly half those plans have been defeated in the courts or abandoned, while half of the remaining proposals are being actively opposed. Just 14 of the 150 plants are being developed, and environmental lawyers are all still pursuing them. ...


And here we thought there were no successes in the U.S. environmental movement!

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Tue, Sep 2, 2008
from Public Campaign Action Fund:
Oil, Coal Industries Already Have Spent $427 Million On Politics, Policy, and Marketing in 2008
Today Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving Americas campaign finance laws, released a new analysis finding that the oil and coal industries spent $427.2 million so far this year of the year to shift public opinion and to capture the eyes, ears, and support of Congress on critical energy issues.... "With spending like this, its clear that these polluting industries see much at stake in Congress," continued Nyhart. ...


You mean this isn't the voice of the people?

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Wed, Aug 27, 2008
from Citizens Voice (PA):
Federal agency: Cancer cluster exists between Tamaqua, McAdoo
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on Monday confirmed something that residents of an area at the intersections of Schuylkill, Carbon and Luzerne counties have felt sure of for many years -- that an unusually high number of people there are suffering from a rare blood cancer.... The report found three environmental similarities in common in the cluster areas: hazardous waste sites, air pollution and coal mining operations. ...


Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, eye of newt and hazardous brew.

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Tue, Aug 12, 2008
from PittsburghLive via Bloomberg News:
World Bank, promising to go green, lends to massive coal-fired power plant
"Once the new Tata Ultra Mega power plant in western India is fired up in 2012 and fully operational, it will become one of the world's 50 largest greenhouse-gas emitters. And the World Bank is helping make it possible. A year after World Bank President Robert Zoellick pledged to "significantly step up our assistance" in fighting climate change, the development institution is increasing its financing of fossil-fuel projects around the globe." ...


Just one more coal-fired power plant, please ... just ONE more...?

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Sun, Aug 10, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Wicks: All is lost on global warming without clean coal
A dramatic warning that "all is lost on global warming" unless the world finds a new clean coal technology in the next few years has been made by the UK energy minister, Malcolm Wicks. He insists in a Guardian interview that "the stakes are that high", as he seeks to justify pressing ahead with a new generation of coal-fired power stations starting at Kingsnorth in Kent, currently the site of a major protest.... He also argued India and China were due to increase coal-fired electricity "ginormously" over the next 20 years, so it was vital to develop the technology that would, in the medium term, clean their electricity. ...


When the UK energy minister uses the word "ginormously," you know something's up.

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Mon, Aug 4, 2008
from London Guardian:
Anger at police raid on green camp ahead of coal protest
"Environmental campaigners and politicians criticised the police last night after around 200 officers raided a climate camp, seizing hundreds of items that they claimed could be used to break the law. Activists at the camp, which starts today with a series of workshops on sustainable energy and social justice, said the raid aimed to disrupt legitimate protest.... officers ... found bolt cutters, superglue and climbing ropes in the raid at the end of last week." ...


So these activists are into a little arts & crafts. What's so wrong about that?

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Tue, Jul 15, 2008
from Columbia University, via EurekAlert:
Closing a coal-burning power plant leads to improved cognitive development in children
Closing coal-fired power plants can have a direct, positive impact on children's cognitive development and health... The study allowed researchers to track and compare the development of two groups of children born in Tongliang, a city in China's Chongqing Municipality -- one in utero while a coal-fired power plant was operating in the city and one in utero after the Chinese government had closed the plant. Among the first group of children, prenatal exposure to coal-burning emissions was associated with significantly lower average developmental scores and reduced motor development at age two. In the second unexposed group, these adverse effects were no longer observed; and the frequency of delayed motor developmental was significantly reduced. ...


That might explain why we all
seem to be getting stupider and stupider.

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Sun, May 11, 2008
from Lawrence Journal:
Kansas group appointed to look at climate change
A new group will soon tackle the politically charged issue of reducing climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions in Kansas. "Experts agree that Congress will institute a carbon tax in the coming years," Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said. "By taking steps to prepare now, we better position our state for potential costs in the future." Sebelius has appointed 20 members to the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, including industry and scientific leaders. The group will have its first meeting May 20 in Wichita. The Kansas Legislature has just ended its session after a bruising battle over a proposal to build two 700-megawatt coal-fired power plants in western Kansas. Sebelius opposes the project because of the plants' annual emission of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide. ...


Imagine! A governor more concerned about the environment than the coal industry. We ApocoDocs say: keep an eye on Gov. Sebelius!

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