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Kayford Mountain in West Virginia has been devastated by mountaintop removal mining.

(First published in the Huffington Post.)

If you listened only to President Obama's critics in the coal industry and public officials from coal states, you'd probably think that environmentalists and others concerned by the many harmful impacts of coal and other carbon fuels would be well pleased with the administration.

The devastating coal ash spill at Kingston, TN in December 2008.

Last night on 60 Minutes, journalist Leslie Stahl made Lynn Good, the CEO of Duke Energy, look bad during an episode about coal ash—a byproduct of coal burning that’s dumped into mostly unlined and unmonitored ponds across the country.  

As Good tried to smile and defend the decades of delay in cleaning up coal ash sites by arguing that more study is needed, the veteran newswoman blew right through her smokescreen.

“Studying is code for stalling,” said Stahl.

The E.W. Brown Generating Station in 2011.

At the foot of a dead-end street in Frankfort, the capital city of Kentucky, rests a red brick building that houses the Kentucky Public Service Commission. At first glance, the building seems somewhat insignificant. But a closer inspection reveals a site where critical decisions are made—decisions that will determine whether or not the commonwealth remains the second most coal-reliant state in the nation, or seizes the economic and public health opportunities presented by energy efficiency, wind and solar.

Think of food politics as an increasingly complex, layered and controversial arena where people make decisions about food or food production based not just on the food itself but its impact on the environment, health, the treatment of animals, working conditions and pay, just to name a few factors.

Celebrity chefs, food writers and even Hollywood actors are taking sides and sometime calling names.

Sometime after midnight, the White House made it official—its review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) coal ash rule has begun. The quiet posting of the rule by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sets in motion OMB’s official regulatory review pursuant to a 1993 executive order.

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