#coal
Coal Ash Barges in India Continue to Capsize, Jeopardizing Public Health, Mangroves, Fishers

Coal Ash Barges in India Continue to Capsize, Jeopardizing Public Health, Mangroves, Fishers

Since March, five barges filled with toxic fly ash have capsized en route from India to Bangladesh, according to Rishika Pardikar last week in The Third Pole.  The fly ash, which is used to make cement in Bangladesh, is particularly harmful in river systems such as those of the Sundarbans, an area that contains a highly endangered Bengal tiger reserve and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why This Matters: Rivers are often touted as an environmentally friendly and cheap mode of transportation – even here in the U.S. (e.g., the Mississippi River). But there are many other users who rely on these waterways in India for fishing and other livelihoods.

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Dept. of Energy Announces $122M In Funding For “Coal Innovation” Centers

Dept. of Energy Announces $122M In Funding For “Coal Innovation” Centers

On Friday, the Energy Department announced it will provide more than $120m in funding to create “coal products innovation centers… [that] …will focus on manufacturing value-added, carbon-based products from coal, as well as developing new methods to extract and process rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal.” 

Why This Matters: Coal innovation is an oxymoron or maybe just moronic – and certainly a dubious investment.

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Renewable Energy Passes Coal, Treasury Dept. Extends Renewable Tax Credits

Renewable Energy Passes Coal, Treasury Dept. Extends Renewable Tax Credits

The Energy Department (DOE) reported yesterday that for the first time since basically the industrial revolution began in the late nineteenth century, in 2019 renewable energy consumption surpassed the consumption of energy generated by coal.  Coal power generation declined by 15% last year, while renewables increased by 1%.

Why This Matters:  Ten years ago coal dominated the power sector, but the trend toward wind and solar is unlikely to reverse — coal is now on its way out completely here.

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Oil and Gas Companies Continue to Lead on Getting Government Handouts

Oil and Gas Companies Continue to Lead on Getting Government Handouts

Oil and gas companies continue to pump the government for cash.  Bloomberg Law News reported that the Administration has granted 76 royalty waivers to oil and gas companies who are drilling for oil on federal land in Utah — lowering the rates from 12.5% to as low as 2.5%. 

Why This Matters:  The giveaways to oil and gas companies in the name of saving jobs just keep coming.

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Renewables Top Coal, Oil Markets “Officially Broken” According to Industry Analysts

Renewables Top Coal, Oil Markets “Officially Broken” According to Industry Analysts

The winds are shifting — literally and figuratively — in U.S. energy, as the oil industry is declared “officially broken” due to a historic glut in supply, while renewable energy output continues to grow as coal power shrinks. 

Why This Matters:  Happy Earth Day.  We don’t mean this acclamation to denigrate the industry that gave our country affordable energy or to say the pandemic has been a good thing.  Hardly.  But it seems that the times are now changing.

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The EPA Relaxes Rule on Mercury Pollution By Greatly Tipping Scales to Favor Polluters

The EPA Relaxes Rule on Mercury Pollution By Greatly Tipping Scales to Favor Polluters

On Thursday, the Trump Administration continued its environmental armageddon by changing the way costs and benefits of rules are calculated in favor of polluters and thus fundamentally weakening current regulatory protections from mercury and other toxic metals emitted by oil and coal-fired power plants.

Why This Matters:  The polluters win again – President Trump continues to deliver for his big donors.

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Indiana Votes in Favor of a Coal Bailout Bill

Indiana Votes in Favor of a Coal Bailout Bill

This week the Indiana House narrowly endorsed a proposal aimed at making it more difficult for Indiana electric companies to close more coal-fired power plants. As Inside Climate News explained this is the latest effort by coal-heavy states to beat back the market forces making coal-fired power more expensive than wind, solar and natural gas. […]

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Southeast As A Region Lags In Coming To Grips With Climate Change

Southeast As A Region Lags In Coming To Grips With Climate Change

Inside Climate News published over the weekend, in collaboration with 9 newspapers across 7 Southeastern states a series of stories called “Caught Off Guard” describing how and why the region lags behind others in renewable electricity and faces some of the biggest global warming threats in the nation.  

Why This Matters:  The Southeast is particularly vulnerable on its coast due to increasingly severe storms and flooding, but the region’s problems extend far inland too.

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Utilities Promising to Get to Net Zero Need Gas To Get There

Utilities Promising to Get to Net Zero Need Gas To Get There

Numerous progressive utilities such as Xcel, which have pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050, are struggling to get there without expanding the use of natural gas and this is fueling a broader and divisive debate around gas’s future, according to Inside Climate News.  The plan drawn up by Xcel, which serves 3.6 million customers […]

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For the Conservation Movement, It’s Almost Heaven, West Virginia

For the Conservation Movement, It’s Almost Heaven, West Virginia

By Monica Medina, Founder and CEO of Our Daily Planet And now, for those of you who need a break from a long week of impeachmentpalooza, take a trip with us to Shepherdstown, West Virginia — a small town, nestled at the northeastern edge of the Shenandoah Valley, practically an exurb of Washington, D.C. It […]

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KY Lawmakers Allow Big Coal Hurt Their Poorest Constituents

KY Lawmakers Allow Big Coal Hurt Their Poorest Constituents

The Stats: 9 of the 10 states that emit the most heat-trapping CO2 pollution per person helped block the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have been the largest effort by the U.S. government to limit climate change.

People in those states are facing some of the worst climate-driven extreme weather in the US. 

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Coal Giant Murray Energy Declares Bankruptcy, Miners and Taxpayers May Get the Shaft

Coal Giant Murray Energy Declares Bankruptcy, Miners and Taxpayers May Get the Shaft

For the fifth time this year, a major coal company — this time Murray Energy — declared bankruptcy, despite all the President’s efforts to buoy the dying industry.  The company will get to continue to operate even as it restructures is 2.7 billion in operating debt.  But The Washington Post reported that according to its bankruptcy court filings, Murray Energy may seek relief from its $8 billion in pension debt and future payments into a federal fund for miners’ pensions and that relief for Murray would result in the depletion of the retirement fund for all 90,000 miners (most of whom are retired) across the country by 2020.

Why This Matters:  The bottom line is that the coal industry’s success in getting Trump to lift environmental rules did not result in enough savings to make these coal companies solvent.  So everyone (other than coal company executives) loses — the workers, the people who are stuck living near the denuded mess after these mines shut down, and taxpayers who will ultimately pay for both. 

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