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Posts Tagged ‘coal’

King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 1: Facing the Facts

Coming from a coal mining family, I’m well aware of the seemingly vast coal resource underground and how extracting that resource has helped boost local economies, including the one where I grew up. As the reality of climate change sets in, however, and the impacts of burning fossil fuels become all too real, it’s clear that the status quo is not sustainable. Looking at the recent incredible growth in wind and solar, the boom in shale gas from fracking, and headline after headline full of bad news for the coal industry, I began wondering, How does it feel to be a coal miner right now? And more importantly, how do we ensure the future is hopeful for them as well? It’s a deeply personal question to me. Read More

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Lawyers for Coal

Laurence Tribe – popularly known as “President Obama’s old law professor” – is testifying today against the Clean Power Plan before the House Subcommittee on Energy & Power, on behalf of Peabody Energy. But here he’s not acting as a teacher- he’s a lawyer fiercely advocating for his paying client.  We have a full preview of how he will distort the case against CO2 regulation from the comments he co-wrote with Peabody Energy on December 1, 2014. Read More

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Risking Our Clean Energy Future by Gambling with an Overreliance on Natural Gas

Many U.S. electric utilities are doubling down on natural gas to generate power as they retire aging and polluting coal plants. While this unprecedented shift does provides some near-term benefits, dramatically expanding our use of natural gas to generate electricity is an ill-advised gamble that poses complex economic, public health, and climate risks. Read More

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Twenty Years of Open Records Attacks

University of Minnesota environmental scientist Deborah Swackhamer studied toxaphene, a chemical once considered a promising replacement for DDT but eventually found to be quite toxic. But when Swackhamer joined a group of researchers exploring why there might be unusual concentrations of the chemical in the Great Lakes, the university received the largest open records request ever made in Minnesota. Read More

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President’s Budget Helps Create New Opportunities for Coal Communities

Yesterday was a big day for policy geeks in Washington, DC—the annual release of the President’s proposed federal budget for next year. As reporters and analysts alike pore over the numbers and talking heads comment on the political headwinds, it’s clear that addressing climate change remains a major part of the President’s agenda. It’s also worth emphasizing that the president is making a coordinated and focused effort to invest in coal mining communities. Here’s how. Read More

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Seeking Stories of Abuse of Open Records Laws

Have you or your university or government colleagues been targeted with intrusive federal or state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests? If so, I’d like to hear from you. Read More

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The Proposed Bailout for Ohio’s Coal Plants: A Bad Idea Any Way You Look at It

Ohio’s three biggest electricity providers are asking the state to approve a bailout plan that would force Ohioans to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in extra charges to keep some of the nation’s oldest, dirtiest, and least efficient power plants operating. If the proposals are approved, electricity costs for Ohioans will rise as consumers are forced to pay extra to maintain the Buckeye State’s risky over-reliance on coal. Read More

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Carbon Capture, Water, and the U.S.-China Climate Agreement

The just-announced U.S.-China climate agreement is reason to celebrate—it’s a, as UCS’s Ken Kimmell puts it, “truly historic agreement” and “a welcome breakthrough.” For those with an interest in energy-water connections and collisions, the agreement commits both countries to a project focused on reducing the negative water implications of carbon capture and storage (CCS). Here’s why we’re even talking about water around CCS, and what this accord says about that the issue. Read More

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Coal, Carbon, and Compliance: Why Pennsylvania’s EPA Regulations Bill Isn’t the End of the Ballgame

Pennsylvania’s legislature finished off its fall session with a bill on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. At a time when climate leadership, not obstructionism, is called for, it’s no step forward. But it’s not the step backward that it might have been. Here’s why. Read More

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An Honest Conversation about Hardworking Coal Miners

I applaud David Roberts over at Grist for elevating a very interesting and timely conversation on worker transition for coal miners. On Monday he argued that the Democratic Party should simply cede Coal Country as collateral damage from the culture war, and instead focus on its base of environmentally minded liberals. And yesterday, in response to many tweets and comments, his blog asked the question, Should the Feds Bail Out Coal Miners? While I agree with many of his arguments, I’d have to disagree with his conclusion (in short, “no”) and offer some ideas about why protecting our coal workers is critical to successfully solving the climate problem. Read More

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