Thanks to the Northwest Indiana Times (IN) for carrying my op-ed on what Texas is learning from the consequences of switching from baseload to intermittent energy sources, which is driving up electricity prices and drastically affecting reliability.
In the news today…
- WVPB reports the downturn in the coal industry has affected the riverboat industry as well, which made much of its money towing coal barges.
- The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports experts disagree on whether coal’s decline will level out or become a steeper drop.
- Argus reports southeastern US ports closed in preparation for Hurricane Dorian as the storm is predicted to turn largely away from Florida and head north.
- Mining.com reports copper fell to its lowest since 2017 as investors faced fresh evidence of a global slowdown and fading prospects for a de-escalation in the US-China trade war.
- Politico Pro reports Sen. Cory Booker’s plan to combat climate change aims to have a carbon neutral economy by 2045 and would bar all new fossil fuel leases on federal land.
- Politico Pro reports Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s plan to combat climate change would focus on reinstating Obama-era policies such as the Clean Power Plan.
- Politico Pro reports Julian Castro’s plan to combat climate change which would aim for a 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2030.
- Politico Pro reports Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to address climate change which would target eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, vehicles and the electric grid while creating millions of new jobs in manufacturing and clean energy.
- Politico Pro reports Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s three-pronged plan to tackle climate change by calling for an economy-wide carbon price and by targeting a “thriving” carbon removal industry by 2040.
- Politico Pro reports Sen. Kamala Harris’ plan to address climate change, calling for $10 trillion in public and private funding to create a carbon-neutral economy and invoking her past as a prosecutor to target companies that are driving greenhouse gas emissions.
In the news today…
- Politico Pro reports Texas was brought to the brink of widespread power outages but narrowly managed to keep the lights on.
- Earthjustice reports on the status and background of Hawai’I Wildflife Fund v. County of Maui.
- WFAE reports North Carolina regulators approved Duke Energy’s latest 15-year energy plan but want the company to show why it still makes economic sense to keep old coal plants open for next year.
- Energy News Network reports an Iowa utility could save $16 million annually by shutting down three coal-fired power plants according to a new study commissioned by two clean energy nonprofits.
- Utility Dive reports new data from EIA shows a rapid decline for coal, which is expected to make up less than a quarter of U.S. generation this year.
- S&P Global reports Illinois Basin coal production was flat in the second quarter from the year ago period despite low export thermal coal prices and logistical issues that plagued exporters in the region.
- S&P Global reports coal is susceptible to severe weather that is the product of climate change.
- Bloomberg reports hydrogen can do everything coal does in the steel-making process and can reduce steel’s climate emissions.
Thanks to the Pennsylvania newspapers Mainline Media News, Pottstown Mercury, and Exton Daily Local for publishing my new op-ed in which I describe that Texas’ growing reliance on wind power is increasing the risk of blackouts, even as traditional sources of energy such as coal and nuclear are prematurely retired.
In the news today…
- E&E Greenwire reports the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General did not review allegations against Scott Pruitt for failing to keep track of records or properly respond to Freedom of Information Act requests.
- Politico Pro reports EPA asked a federal court to put legal challenges to its ACE rule on a fast track, a move that could see the case receive a ruling by the end of 2020.
- Politico Pro and E&E Greenwire report a federal court upheld EPA’s delay of compliance deadlines for parts of an Obama administration rule that limited discharged water pollution from coal-fired power plants.
- E&E Greenwire reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended the permit it issued to the Rosemont Copper project in Arizona.
- E&E Greenwire and Mining.com report BLM has approved a mining project allowing Crystal Peak Minerals to extract potash in Utah.
- Mining.com reports Excelsior Mining completed a pipeline corridor at its copper project in Arizona, which means the company is on track to deliver its first copper production in Q4 2019.
- Mining.com reports cobalt and lithium prices have dropped to the lowest point in more than two years, driven by short-term oversupply and negatively affecting investments.
- Energy News Network reports FirstEnergy Solutions retained the law firm arguing that HB6, the bill providing subsidies for nuclear and coal plants in Ohio, is exempt from state referendum procedures.
- The Columbus Dispatch reports there is little to no evidence of a connection between China and attempts to repeal HB6 in Ohio, despite a TV ad which suggests otherwise.
- S&P Global reports many insurers hold significant investments in companies that depend on coal as a source of revenue.
- WMBD reports plans to close four of Vistra Energy’s coal power plants in Illinois will cost local governments millions of dollars in tax revenue.
- The State reports Santee Cooper plans to shut down one of its two remaining coal-fired power stations in the next decade and cut about 200 jobs as the state-owned utility moves to eliminate coal as an energy source altogether.
- The Gillette News Record reports Blackjewel says negotiations between Contura Energy and the federal government continue and that wording from Tuesday afternoon that the deal “is dead” was “unfortunate.”
- Bloomberg Businessweek reports Greenland’s mineral wealth makes it a treasure trove which full independence might open up to the economy of Greenland.
Thanks to Lifezette for carrying my new piece discussing the importance of coal for reliable and affordable electricity.
Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker exposes the fake news about fires in the Amazon Rain Forest. Turns out that these routinely occur during the dry season there, and farmers take advantage of the conditions to burn their fields to get ready for the next growing season.
In the news today…
- E&E Greenwire reports the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ mine lands and safety chief is joining OSMRE as a political appointee.
- The Washington Post reports President Trump has instructed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to exempt Alaska’s 16.7-million-acre Tongass National Forest from logging restrictions, opening it to potential logging, energy and mining projects.
- WHAS reports the Kentucky Senate is considering legislation to close the loophole which allowed Blackjewel to operate without a bond for workers in case of bankruptcy.
- The Casper Star Tribune reports Blackjewel called the sale of its two idling Wyoming coal mines “dead.”
- Argus reports coal-fired generation in the U.S. fell by 22.6 percent in June amid lower power demand and a greater preference for natural gas power.
- The Associated Press reports Montana environmental officials proposed approval of a major expansion of the state’s largest coal mine.
- The Charlotte Observer reports Santee Cooper plans to shut down one of its two remaining coal-fired power stations in the next decade and cut about 200 jobs.
- E&E Greenwire reports a Forest Service proposal to accelerate environmental reviews of forest management projects generated thousands of public comments.
- The Washington Examiner reports Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposed plan to combat climate change centers on an aggressive transition away from fossil fuels such as coal, relying on federal power agencies to promote wind and solar.
In the news today…
- The Associated Press reports a new U.S. government management plan unveiled Friday clears the way for coal mining and oil and gas drilling on federal land in Utah.
- Alaska Public Media reports Gov. Mike Dunleavy sent an encouraging letter to a potential investor in the Pebble mine project.
- The Billings Gazette reports a $2 million grant for retraining displaced Montana coal workers has gone untouched since 2017.
- The Casper Star Tribune reports months of upheaval have left great uncertainty for the coal industry in Wyoming.
- The Hill reports Democratic Kentucky Senate candidate Amy McGrath released a new campaign ad accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of leaving the state’s coal miners behind.
- Cronkite News reports the last 265 workers at Kayenta Coal Mine are being laid off this month.
- MIT Technology Review reports California’s program to curb climate emissions could extend the life of coal mines, according to new research.
- EIA reports more than 40 percent of coal produced in the U.S. comes from 16 mines in the Powder River Basin.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports a new group backing the nuclear and coal subsidies launched a $1 million advertising campaign attempting to thwart a referendum on the bill that the group claims is backed by the Chinese government.
- Axios reports Asia’s newer coal plants are a “blind spot” for carbon emissions since they will be emitting for decades longer.
- Metal Miner reports carbon capture technology may not be the boon coal-fired power plants are hoping for.
In the news today and from the weekend…
- AZ Big Media reports a federal judge vacated the permit for Hudbay Minerals to begin construction on its Rosemont copper mine in Arizona.
- The Ohio Valley ReSource reports mines which change ownership have worse safety records than mines where ownership did not change according to a new federal report.
- The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports Gov. Mark Gordon and the Trump administration say roadblocks to coal export terminals must be removed for coal’s future.
- WFPL reports Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Kentucky and West Virginia just days after releasing his plan to address climate change, which prioritizes help for those who worked in the fossil fuel industries.
- The Associated Press reports Sen. Bernie Sanders has argued in Kentucky both on the severity of climate change and the need to stand by workers in the fossil fuel industry, particularly coal miners.
- Argus reports the U.S. Labor Department filed a second civil suit against Blackjewel seeking back pay for the company’s miners.
- Mining.com reports the owner of the only U.S. rare earths mine is looking to significantly boost production and be the first U.S. company to refine rare earths since 2015.
- Greentech Media reports renewable energy prices in China will undercut coal by 2026.
In the news today…
- Reuters reports a hearing has been set so that the Labor Department can argue some of Blackjewel’s coal was produced illegally and should be prevented from being transported across state lines.
- The Messenger-Inquirer reports judge-executives from Kentucky’s coal-producing counties are lobbying state legislators into backing a proposal that would allow coal counties to receive 100% of their coal severance money.
- S&P Global reports Contura Energy signed a three-year deal to supply Appalachian coal to Kentucky utilities.
- The Albuquerque Journal reports state regulators declined on Wednesday to say whether they will apply New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act in proceedings to shut down the San Juan Generating Station.
- Wyoming Public Media reports Virginia businessman Tom Clarke appears to be the back-up bidder in Cloud Peak Energy’s asset sale.
- Crain’s Chicago Business reports Vistra’s closure of four power plants will take away 300 jobs.
- E&E Climatewire reports many of the nation’s largest coal plants remain without retirement dates, with plans to run for decades.
- The Associated Press reports U.S. Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg believes it is not too late for new technology to help the coal industry.
- E&E Energywire reports Texas is able to keep its power on due to its size and large production of natural gas.
Clean Water Rule:
- E&E Greenwire reports a federal judge found that the WOTUS rule was adopted on an overly broad interpretation of the federal statute.
- E&E News PM reports EPA is backing off its 2016 decision to declare the area around a massive East Texas power plant out of compliance with its sulfur dioxide air quality standard.
In the news today…
- E&E Greenwire reports the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear environmental groups’ challenge for additional review of the PolyMet copper-nickel mine.
- Mining.com reports lithium prices will remain low due to an onslaught of lithium supply, largely out of Australia.
- E&E Greenwire reports a trio of Washington judges upheld the state’s decision to deny the lease of state-owned lands for the Millennium Bulk Terminal, which would have shipped Western coal to Asia.
- The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the number of coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky dropped significantly in the second quarter of 2019.
- InDepthNH reports climate activists took around 500 pounds of coal from the Merrimack Generating Station and dumped it in protest on the State House steps of New Hampshire.
- Utility Dive reports a New Mexico utility remains skeptical of the city of Farmington’s efforts to save a coal plant by installing carbon capture.
- The San Jose Mercury News reports California has five times more clean energy jobs than fossil fuel jobs.
- S&P Global and E&E Energywire report Vistra Energy will shut down four Illinois coal plants by the end of the year.
- Mining.com and Argus report Moody’s has lowered its 12-18 month outlook for North America’s coal industry to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’ amid declining profitability, weak export prices and diminishing demand from utilities.
- Mining.com reports BHP Group may consider selling off its thermal coal assets, according to an earnings call with CEO Andrew Mackenzie.
- Politico Pro reports the storage industry is downplaying its role with renewable energy sources to obtain tax breaks, stating the storage industry is there to support all forms of energy on the grid.
Department of the Interior:
In the news today…
- E&E Energywire reports 538 gigawatts of coal capacity is either proposed or under construction worldwide.
- Politico Pro reports a split panel of judges from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review an EPA memo reversing the longstanding “Once In, Always In’ air permitting policy, saying it lacks jurisdiction on the issue.
- Politico Pro reports Sen. Mitt Romney is ‘looking at’ a legislative proposal that would impose a carbon tax on major emitters and direct the proceeds to taxpayers and coal communities.
- Argus reports EPA released guidance to assist states in developing plans for the second phase of the agency’s Regional Haze Rule.
- Argus reports Illinois basin coal production fell in the second quarter as mine operators adjusted to limited domestic and international demand.
- NBC News reports individual coal workers are seeing their benefits and prospects dwindle while the mining companies reap the benefits of industry rollbacks from the Trump administration.
- The Hill reports presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders sent 18 pizzas to the Kentucky coal miners protesting unpaid wages.
- Argus reports Blackjewel will continue to halt coal sales from its Virginia assets until it resolves issues around unpaid wages.
- Taos News reports the residents of Pecos, New Mexico are uniting against the proposed mine by New World Cobalt.
- The Arizona Public Media reports on the understanding behind the legal decision blocking the Rosemont Mine.
- E&E Greenwire reports the four most cited cases for the action changing states’ ability to veto federal permits under the CWA are not indicative of most CWA veto cases.
- Politico Pro and E&E News PM report monetary penalties issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration fail to reduce the risk of worker injury and death, according to a new Labor Department inspector general report.
- The Roanoke Times (VA) carries an op-ed by Conor Bernstein in which he argues that costs for renewable energy is higher than expected due to high transmission costs and that America’s power grid is not currently equipped to handle large amounts of renewable energy.
- Politico Pro reports the Bavarian Association for Landscape Conservation and Species Protection is fighting wind power and supports efficient coal plants to ensure security of power supply in Germany.
Real Clear Energy carries a piece by one of my favorite energy authors, Robert Bryce. In the piece, he explains that new wind energy projects – both onshore and offshore – are facing increasing opposition and that, in turn, could cause the all-renewable goals (enacted by many cities and states) to be missed.
In the news today…
- E&E Greenwire reports the Abandoned Mine Land fund is running out of money before old mines can be cleaned up.
- The Arizona Daily Star reports a former Coronado National Forest chief says her boss forced her a decade ago to stop questioning the legality of the proposed Rosemont Mine.
- E&E Greenwire reports Twin Pines Minerals’ president has said he is confident his firm can mine land just east of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge without polluting the water or soil, despite concerns from a federal agency.
- The Associated Press reports county officials in Georgia are supporting a mining proposal near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
- E&E News PM reports Elizabeth Warren has pledged to stop all mining on federal lands, including the proposal from Twin Metals near the Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
- E&E Greenwire reports federal officials have approved two open-pit phosphate mines in eastern Idaho with increased environmental protections.
- The Associated Press reports Sen. Mitt Romney recognizes climate change and proposes that portions of climate tax revenue could go to coal workers in rural communities that would suffer from a transition to clean energy.
- Inside EPA reports a new analysis shows that while the capacity of coal-fired power plants slated for closure is falling, the resulting greenhouse gas and other emissions cuts are expected to grow, underscoring Trump administration assessments that most GHG reductions will come from market-driven, business-as-usual scenarios.
- WRAL reports North Carolina would cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and accelerate the closure of coal-fired power plants under a draft plan released Friday by Gov. Roy Cooper.
- The Mining Journal reports the last coal combustion residual landfill at the Presque Isle Power Plant is being covered and shut down.
- Politico Pro reports EPA has sent a new proposal potentially weakening portions of a water pollution rule for coal-fired power plants to OMB.
- Argus reports BLM will auction a federal coal lease for land adjacent to CCU Coal and Construction’s Buckingham No. 6 mine in Ohio next month.
- E&E Energywire reports, by looking at utilities’ IRPs, estimates for future coal use and the speed of coal plant retirements can be made.
- The Houston Chronicle reports coal production in Texas fell sharply last year as coal plants were replaced with natural gas.
Direct CO2 Removal:
- Axios reports the payment tech company Stripe plans to fund direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and its long-term storage.
- E&E Climatewire reports Australia’s booming coal industry has made it the third-largest export of potential carbon dioxide emissions locked in fossil fuels.
In the news today and from the weekend…
- WOSU reports an Ohio bill subsidizing nuclear and coal power plants cannot be overturned by a referendum as it is a tax increase, according to a Columbus law firm.
- E&E Energywire and the Farmington Daily Times reports Enchant Energy aims to retrofit the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture technology and Friday signed a deal to try to keep the plant open beyond 2022.
- Bloomberg reports Navajo Transitional Energy Co. has won a bid to buy “substantially all” of Cloud Peak Energy Inc.’s assets.
- The New York Times reports the miners’ protests in Harlan County over unpaid wages have continued for three weeks.
- E&E Greenwire reports EPA scientists wanted their agency to ask for a new environmental review of the proposed Pebble mine project but were overridden by political staffers.
- Argus reports the EPA has finalized 42 deregulatory actions since President Trump took office, about half of the agenda; rollbacks have saved industry an estimated $3.7 billion so far.
- E&E Climatewire reports the governor of Wisconsin has issued an executive order to create an office to achieve his goal of 100% carbon free electricity by 2050.
- E&E Energywire reports many in West Virginia coal country remain loyal to President Trump even though he hasn’t been able to save coal in the area.
- The New York Times reports efforts by Gautam Adani, founder of Adani Group, is helping to keep India and Australia mining and using coal.
In the news today…
- Inside Sources reports that several businesses and utility groups are siding with EPA in a lawsuit to defend the ACE rule.
- E&E Energywire reports the multi-state challenge to the ACE rule this week highlighted key shifts in state views of federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Argus reports Texas’ main power grid operator issued an energy emergency for the second time this week.
- Bloomberg reports after the recent price surges in Texas, the state might need to invest in more traditional power plants.
- RTO Insider reports ERCOT declared an energy emergency alert Thursday afternoon, its second in three days after five years without calling one.
- Politico Pro reports EPA held a hearing on Thursday on its proposed regulation formally reversing the so-called “once in, always in” policy.
- Mining.com reports prices for met coal, which has sustained miners as exports decline and power plants forsake the fuel, are down 22 percent since May as concerns about the global economy weigh on demand for steel.
- Argus reports Asian thermal coal markets are likely to remain oversupplied, potentially causing trouble for western U.S. exports.
- E&E Climatewire reports America’s largest emitters, such as the Navajo Generating Station, are closing in rapid succession.
- The Courier Journal reports Kentucky state lawmakers are sponsoring a bill to strengthen requirements for coal companies to hold bonds to cover a month of payroll.
- Mining Magazine reports Rio Tinto has led the first paperless trade deal of iron ore.
- Harrisburg Patriot-News carries an op-ed by Forrest Remick, emeritus nuclear engineering professor at Penn State and former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who argues that reliance on imported uranium is a national security threat.
In the news today…
- Mining.com reports Northern Dynasty Minerals has raised $11.5 million for its Pebble copper-gold project in Alaska.
- Politico Pro reports ten environmental groups sued EPA over its ACE rule, joining the states, cities, and public health organizations who have already filed suits.
- The Associated Press reports Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa blocked the state from suing the Trump administration over the ACE rule along with other states and cities.
- Wyoming Public Media reports the West Virginia court overseeing Blackjewel’s bankruptcy has authorized the end of 401(k) plans for all the company’s miners.
- The Casper Star Tribune reports Contura Energy has yet to complete its purchase of two Wyoming mines, and consequently has not yet reinstated the 500 jobs there.
- Utility Dive carries an op-ed by Harshit Chatur, director of finance at NRG Energy, entitled, “Why 100% renewables isn’t feasible by 2050,” in which he asks about the tipping point that reflects efficient utilization of renewables and fossil-based power in the U.S., while keeping the costs and pollution low and ensuring reliable power.
- S&P Global reports, despite the price surges in Texas, ERCOT is unlikely to increase conventional generation capacity.
Clean Water Act:
- Inside EPA reports the Army Corps of Engineers is outlining a narrow range of situations where it would allow states to take more than 60 days to review whether a Corps-issued permit would be protective of water quality standards, further curtailing states’ reviews under the Clean Water Act (CWA) after EPA issued a plan that significantly limits what issues states can weigh.
- Politico reports China is becoming the world’s largest investor in solar and wind technology and is boasting more jobs in solar energy than in coal-mining.