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The Latest On: coal

May 21, 2009 | Blog Post

Sad Day for Appalachia: Mountaintop Removal Approved

Appalachia's mountains never seem to get a break. First, back in 2007, a district court judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit we brought on behalf of some West Virginia groups that stopped five mountaintop removal mining permits from going forward because of the permanent destruction they would have done to Appalachian streams and headwaters.

May 1, 2009 | Blog Post

Love Letters to the Coal Industry

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a must-read LA Times articlethat explores the dramatic effects of climate disruption on Australia. In response to these worsening conditions, seven Australian climate scientists sent a letter to the owners of every coal-fired power plant in Australia. The letter carries a blunt message: no new coal-fired power plants, unless they are zero-emissions…and operated by unicorns (ok, I added the unicorn part).

But an outright ban on new coal-fired power plants isn't enough, as the authors of the letter indicate:

Genuine action on climate change will mean that coal-fired power stations cease to operate in the near future. [Read the whole letter]

As noted in both the letter and the aforementioned LA Times article, coal-fired power plants supply more than 80% of Australia’s electricity (compared to around 50% in the United States). Replacing coal-fired power in Australia and here at home with clean and safe energy sources will require a massive, coordinated (and very necessary) effort. But abandoning the dirty fuels of the past will help us ensure that our future is filled with opportunities.

April 28, 2009 | Blog Post

Navajos Cheer EPA Reversal on Desert Rock

(Update: check out the excellent editorial in the Durango Herald)

A significant number of Navajos were thrilled this week at the EPA’s decision to take back the permit it issued last year—under the Bush administration--for the massive coal-fired Desert Rock power plant.

The EPA said sufficient analysis had not been done to ensure protection of health and the environment.

April 27, 2009 | Blog Post

A Global Warming Story You Haven't Heard

John Kerry and Barbara Boxer are two of the greenest members of the Senate. Jim Inhofe is the Senate's chief global warming denier. But last week—on Earth Day, no less—they came together to introduce a bill requiring the EPA to look at ways to control a dangerous pollutant that kills millions worldwide and accelerates global warming, particularly in the Arctic.

April 22, 2009 | Blog Post

Oil Shale Proponents Going Nuclear?

One of the many dirty little secrets about oil shale is that it will take huge amounts of energy to turn rock into a product we can put in our cars and trucks.  That's because the currently proposed technology for producing oil shale involves using what amounts to glorified curling irons underground, heating them up to hundreds of degrees and melting the "kerogen" into something that can be sucked out of the ground and could be refined into a useable product.

April 21, 2009 | Blog Post

Senate Vote Heats Up Kansas Coal Fight

It’s hard to know who’s happy and sad over the prospects of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius being plucked to become President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. Timing is the big issue.

A Senate committee voted in favor of her today. The full Senate is expected to also vote in her favor – but when?

April 21, 2009 | Blog Post

Ecopornography Revisited

When the going gets tough, call the PR department, and ask it to come up with a spiffy new acronym. It's a recognized ploy with a long history.

Here we go again.

The bold, ambitious plans to push solar power plants, windmill farms, and other green facilities is causing a major backlash among industries used to having their way with government policy -- coal companies, oil companies, the usual suspects.

April 3, 2009 | Blog Post

Kansas Legislature Passes Coal Plant Bill

The Kansas state legislature today gave final passage to a bill authorizing massive expansion of the Sunflower coal-fired power plant -- but there is unexpected good news in the vote ... it's 10 votes short of being veto-proof in the House.

This means that the promised veto from Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is more likely than ever to survive. An earlier vote in the state House had a margin of only five votes. She is expected to veto the bill next week.

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