User: flenvcenter Topic: Energy-Independent
Category: Fossil Fuels :: Coal
Last updated: Jul 25 2015 02:49 IST RSS 2.0
 
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Great News for Latinos: 200 Closed Coal-Burning Plants in the U.S. 24.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Fifteen years ago, the Bush administration formed an Energy Task Force led by Vice President Cheney, who surrounded it with hermetic secrecy to dictate the new US energy policy. Its final conclusions turned out to be a windfall for the fossil fuel industry, including the construction of 200 new coal-burning plants. It also spelled doom for the planet's atmosphere, which back then was already showing alarming levels of warming that endangered the future viability of our biosphere. It was that emergency that started what today is considered one of the most successful grassroots initiatives ever, the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign . First, the campaign designed a strategy to fight the construction of any new plant, no matter where in the country, by marshaling a small army of volunteers and activists who achieved an extraordinary streak of victories. By 2008, this translated into the cancellation of the construction of almost all new proposed plants in the country. Also by then, the campaign had started ...
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Recession, not fracking, responsible for drop in U.S. emissions 23.7.2015 TreeHugger
A new study finds a lower GDP per capita explains the reduction of carbon emissions better than the switch to natural gas.
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John Kasich Actually Believes in Climate Change. But He Doesn't Want to Fix It. 21.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
This story  was originally published by Mother Jones  and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk  collaboration. John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, is announcing his bid for the presidency Tuesday. Unlike most of his GOP opponents, Kasich actually believes that climate change is real. "I happen to believe there is a problem with climate change," he told the Hill 2012. "I don't want to overreact to it, I can't measure it all, but I respect the creation that the Lord has given us and I want to make sure we protect it." He made a similar statement in the video above, taken at a conference last month, but he added that the environment shouldn't be "worshipped," because that would be "pantheism." Despite his comparatively reasonable views on climate science, Kasich has been pretty noncommittal about actually addressing global warming. And over the last few months, he has stepped up his opposition to President Barack Obama's climate agenda. He's rolled back Ohio's clean energy goals and has ...
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Recession, Not Fracking, Behind Drop in US Carbon Dioxide Emissions 21.7.2015 Truthout - All Articles
It's been a talking point for boosters of the shale gas rush for years: as fracking spread across the country and the supply glut drove prices down, utilities have been shuttering dirty coal plants and burning natural gas instead – meaning that America's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions dropped sharply. Fracking, the argument went, is actually good for the environment because it's good for the climate. "The boom in American natural-gas production is doing what international negotiations and legislation couldn't: reducing U.S. carbon-dioxide pollution," Bloomberg  reported  in 2012. "While other factors, including a sluggish U.S. economy and increasing energy efficiency, have contributed to the decline in carbon emissions from factories, automobiles and power plants, many experts believe the switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation has been the biggest factor,"  said  the Wall Street Journal in April 2013. "In these last years, the natural gas revolution, shall we say, has been a major ...
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Coal Miners, Extractive Industries, and a Sustainable Economy 20.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
The transition to a renewable economy may be a painful one, particularly in this era of aversion to active government. When New York City endured the difficult transition from a commercial and small manufacturing city to today's post-industrial megacity, we nearly went broke. One of the reasons for our financial distress was the need to pay for a highly stressed social welfare system which, while far from perfect, provided more help for poor people than the system we see in many states today. This past weekend, Clifford Krauss wrote an excellent report on the hurt and dislocation being caused by the declining coal industry. According to Krauss: There is pain across the nation's coal fields, but here in West Virginia, the disruption is particularly acute. Mines are closing almost every month. Sawmills that provide wooden support beams for the tunnels are lying off workers, and diners are putting up signs asking their customers to pray for the miners. The coal industry, long the heart that pumped the ...
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Myanmar Villagers Stand United Against Coal Plant 18.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
After a 10 hour overnight drive from Yangon, we finally arrive in Andin Village. It is starting to rain, turning the red dirt roads into mud, but we can't miss the large "No Coal" sign in Burmese, English, and Mon. Last May, the now empty football field hosted the latest in a series of protests against a proposed 1,280 MW coal-fired power plant from a Thailand-based Japanese company, Toyo-Thai Corporation (TTCL). The proposal also includes a massive new deep sea port to bring in coal from Indonesia and Australia to fuel the boilers. Nearly every house in the village has a "No Coal" sticker in the three languages-distributed as part of a survey of local opinions about the project. Out of 1300 households, we are told only one refused to place a sticker on their home. The rest display their opposition on their homes, cars and motorbikes. Andin is part of Ye Township in Mon State, which sits in the narrow southern strip of Myanmar, bordered by Thailand on the east and the Bay of Bengal on the west. Peace in ...
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200 coal plants announced to retire since 2010 in U.S.! That's almost 40% of the country's coal plants 17.7.2015 TreeHugger
Only 300 to go...
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Kentucky Coal Country's Clean Tech Makeover 17.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
When most people think about Kentucky, clean tech and climate change aren't the first words that come to mind. Most of the chatter about this coal state is that it's recalcitrant when it comes to acting on climate change. And while some of that skepticism is certainly valid, there's lots happening in Bluegrass Country when it comes to green energy. There's good reason for Kentucky to clean up its act when it comes to carbon emissions. The health of the state is at stake. Many of the state's counties are suffering from pollution, with 16 of them struggling with unhealthy smog levels. Nor is Kentucky immune to the myriad cases of West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease , both of which do very well in warming climates (and Kentucky, like the rest of the American southeast , is most definitely getting hotter). More deadly, however, is all the extreme weather that Kentucky is witnessing, which is worsening with a rapidly changing climate. Without question this state is getting hotter. Kentucky is now seeing ...
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After Six Years Of Talk, Interior Department Finally Releases New Coal Mining Rules 17.7.2015 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
WASHINGTON -- The Department of the Interior  issued long-awaited regulations  on Thursday for protecting streams from the adverse effects of surface coal mining. The proposed rules , issued by the department's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, mark the first major update to the surface mining regulations in 32 years. They will require coal companies to do before and after environmental analysis at mining sites, mandate that companies invest in restoration work like replanting trees, and increase requirements for monitoring of impacts during mining operations. The rules have been in the works for six years. "A lot has changed since rules were written in the early 1980s," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a call with reporters on Thursday. The new regulations, she said, prioritize "protecting and restoring the environment while helping meet the nation's energy needs." Janice Schneider, the assistant secretary for land and minerals management, described the proposed regulations as ...
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Blue Skies 16.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
The skies are looking bluer. Today the Sierra Club announced the 200th coal plant to be retired since the Beyond Coal campaign began working with local communities to shut down old and outdated power plants. Since the current goal of the campaign is to retire half of the nation's more than 500 coal plants, you can see that we're making significant headway. That success is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of Sierra Club legal and conservation staff, the support of far-sighted donors and, last but not least, the thousands of ordinary people from every walk and stage of life who've worked to kick coal out of their own communities. But although tallying coal plants retired is a useful gauge of progress, it doesn't capture the full impact of this campaign. The story doesn't end once the coal plants are gone. What happens next is at least as important. Right away, of course, we see a better life for those whose air and water were affected by coal. After all, in 2010, when we were just getting ...
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Iowa Utility Will Phase Out Coal At 5 Plants, In Milestone For Sierra Club 15.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
An Iowa utility will phase out coal at five plants in the state under a settlement announced Wednesday by the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Sierra Club and the state of Iowa were also co-plaintiffs in the case, which dealt with alleged violations of the Clean Air Act by Alliant Energy subsidiary Interstate Power and Light.  Under the agreement , Alliant has agreed to install pollution controls on two plants, while five plants will either switch from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas or shut down entirely. The company also agreed to spend $6 million on environmental mitigation projects and to pay $1.1 million to resolve the complaints regarding Clean Air Act violations.  "This settlement will eliminate thousands of tons of harmful air pollution each year significantly improving air quality in Iowa and throughout the Midwest," Kevin W. Techau, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, said in a statement. "The agreement demonstrates the Department of Justice’s ...
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Beyond Coal Milestone - Coal Plant #200 Announced to Retire 15.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Today we reached another big milestone in our push to move beyond coal - the 200th coal plant to announce retirement in the United States since 2010. This is the latest major crossroads in what Politico recently called "the most extensive, expensive and effective campaign in the [Sierra] Club's 123-year history, and maybe the history of the environmental movement." At the heart of this momentum is the unyielding drive and commitment of thousands of grassroots leaders and activists, some of whom are featured in a new video we're releasing today to mark the occasion. I'd like to introduce you to one of those volunteers who helped us reach #200. Patricia Fuller is a retired nurse in Council Bluffs, Iowa, who is celebrating with us this week as we reach this milestone in the march toward a safer and more equitable environment. Here's why: "You haven't seen fear until you've seen a patient fighting to breathe, and their loved ones powerless to help. After the coal plant in my own community retired, I became ...
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Why Environmentalists Aren’t Winning the War with Natural Gas 10.7.2015 Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories

Despite a recent victory, environmental groups have had little luck slowing the boom in new natural-gas power plants.

Environmental groups won a major victory in California in late June when the group proposing a 600-megawatt natural-gas-fired power plant near Avenal said it would abandon the project. Slated to cost nearly $2 billion, the Avenal plant was the subject of a dozen years of controversy and legal wrangling, and last year a federal appeals court vacated environmental approvals for the project.

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'Kiss My Ass, Bob': A Miner Challenged Coal Magnate Bob Murray. Now He's Fighting For His Job. 9.7.2015 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
Robert "Bob" Murray is the owner of Murray Energy Corp., the third-largest U.S. coal producer . He is one of the most powerful men in Appalachia and a major player in U.S. politics . In short, he's not the sort of guy you tell to kiss your ass, especially if he signs your paychecks. But that's exactly what one of Murray's own miners did earlier this year -- in all-caps, no less, and on the back of a bonus check he voided on principle. After being fired, the miner, Richard Harrison, appealed to federal regulators to win back his job. Last week, Harrison cleared his first legal hurdle, winning temporary reinstatement . At the center of the case is a bonus program implemented by management at Harrison's mine, known as Loveridge #22, owned by Murray Energy. The program gives miners extra pay if they avoid safety citations and accidents, and hit certain production marks. Such programs are common in the coal industry, even though safety hawks say they discourage miners from reporting hazards and ultimately put ...
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Greece's economic problems linked to its coal-based energy policies 4.7.2015 Environmental News Network
As Greece prepares for its referendum, Takis Grigoriou takes Greece to task for its highly polluting lignite power sector, its ditching of a successful solar program in favour of more coal, the minimal insulation in its buildings that locks in high fuel bills, and Syriza's failure to tackle these issues. The good news? Greece's latest €1.4bn coal project looks like going unfunded.Instead of phasing out lignite Greece opted to engage in a long battle to preserve the ailing industry while putting an abrupt end to solar energy development by blocking new applications.
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Court sides with industry on power plant emissions 1.7.2015 High Country News Most Recent
Supreme Court decision is a setback to one of the biggest environmental actions of the Obama administration.
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You, Too, Can Buy a Congressman! 1.7.2015 Truthout.com
Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke introduced a rider to the House budget bill blocking a rule that would have cost fossil-fuel companies millions - after receiving at least $43,000 from those companies in campaign contributions. (Photo: US Congress )Ever wonder what the best investment you can make is? I'm not in the business of giving financial advice - but I wanted to share with you this secret that every billionaire and large corporation in this country knows. The best investment you can make isn't gold or some revolutionary technology. The best investment you can make is to buy a politician! Investing in a politician can yield more returns than any stock or other commodity ever could. See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here. Take the case of what Montana's fossil-fuel companies invested in Representative Ryan Zinke. If the Obama administration closes a massive tax loophole that allows the companies to rip off the state, Montana's coal companies would be looking at a $19 million hit to ...
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World Leaders Moving Away from Coal, Fossil Fuels 1.7.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
June has proved to be a great month for the climate, as countries around the world tackle the dangers of fossil fuels head on. Perhaps the action getting the most attention was the announcement earlier this month from G7 leaders that they will phase out fossil fuels by the end of the century. While the details remain unclear, the commitment from the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, the UK, Japan, and Italy is an important sign that the G7 countries are prepared to take responsibility as we move toward the climate negotiations in Paris later this year. While all fossil fuels are feeling the pressure of a carbon constrained world, coal is most clearly feeling the heat. A recent POLITICO article highlighted coal's demise in the United States, drawing particular attention to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign which has led to the retirement of 195 coal plants in the United States. The market value of publicly traded coal companies fell by 50 percent in less than a year. The industry is facing pressure from ...
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The Aesthetics of Environmental Equity 30.6.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Which is more "visually awful"? The Aussies don't like the look of wind energy, it seems. A few weeks ago, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called wind farms "visually awful," and last year the country's Treasurer described them as "appalling" and "utterly offensive." Over the past year, Australian investment in renewable energy reportedly has dropped by 90 percent , and Abbot says his government is working hard both to reduce the number of wind farms and increase the number of coal mines . What's going on Down Under? An island country with enormous amounts of open space, Australia is perfect for wind energy. The benefits are clear, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE): it's clean, inexhaustible, and affordable (equivalent to natural gas), and unlike most electric power plants, it doesn't require water. Converting the U.S. to 20 percent wind power would save 4 trillion gallons of water a year. Finally, it can help create both jobs and energy security. Opponents say that wind farms harm the ...
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Meet the Lawyers Who Pushed the Supreme Court to Block Toxic Power Plant Rules 30.6.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
In the last announced decision of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court today, by a 5-4 vote and an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, struck down the Environmental Protection Agency's carefully crafted rules to limit the emission of mercury and other toxic pollutants from oil and coal power plants. Justice Scalia concluded that the EPA failed to meet its duty to consider the financial costs of the regulations. But as Justice Elana Kagan documented in her dissent for four justices, Scalia's opinion failed to acknowledge that the agency did in fact repeatedly consider costs and essentially substituted five justices' expertise for that of the agency, in violation of long-standing precedents. Kagan noted that the EPA found that benefits of the rule included 11,000 fewer premature deaths per year, along with many more avoided illnesses. A brief filed by a group of nonprofit organizations that intervened in the case -- including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Lung Association, the NAACP, the ...
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