Thanks to the Colorado Springs Gazette for carrying my op-ed in which I encourage U.S. leadership in technology development through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Coal FIRST initiative.
Happy Valentines Day!
In the news today…
- Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly reports it is the most minerals-intensive time in history, which calls for faster permitting processes.
- E&E Greenwire reports the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources appealed the ruling that rejected permits for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine.
- Argus reports legislation in Virginia threatens to force the retirement of nearly all its coal plants in the next five years.
- Argus reports more U.S. coal plants are likely to close in the coming years according to Wood Mackenzie.
- Axios reports Delta Airlines is spending $1 billion over the next decade to go carbon neutral.
- S&P Global reports a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would expand tax credit for carbon capture projects.
- The Casper Star Tribune reports Wyoming lawmakers have proposed a bill that would penalize utilities that rely on renewable sources of energy.
- Politico Pro reports the Southern Environmental Law Center asked a federal court to block CEQ from advancing its proposed changes to NEPA.
Missed this interesting article in Morning Consult first published on December 9 of last year. It provides a summary of the Global CCS Institute’s annual global status report on carbon capture technologies. Some highlights:
- Nineteen operating, large-scale CCS projects currently dot the globe, 10 of which are in the United States;
- More than 25 million metric tons of CO2 were stored over the year through CCS;
- The year also marked the launch of the Gorgon project off Australia’s coast which, once fully operational, is expected to store 3.4 to 4 million metric tons of carbon annually, making it the largest dedicated geological storage facility to date;
- In terms of capture and storage capacity, the pipeline for CCS projects worldwide ticked up again in 2019 by 37 percent from 2017, continuing a growth trend since that date after seven years of decline that the report attributes to the global financial crisis, which resulted in market uncertainty and reduced CCS investments;
- To date, there are at least 42 CCS facilities in the United States have been completed or are in operation, construction or advanced development, including pilots and test centers, according to the institute. Those projects span enhanced oil recovery, enhanced coal bed methane recovery, dedicated geological storage and other projects.
This is good news because fossil fuels continue to be a major provider of energy worldwide. We need these advanced technologies to allow fossil fuels to provide reliable and affordable energy into the future.
In the news today…
- The Salt Lake Tribune reports the U.S. uranium industry would benefit from the proposed uranium reserves in the White House budget.
- The Associated Press reports Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon advocated for stopping the closure of coal plants during his State of the State address.
- E&E Greenwire reports mines Murray Energy had originally separated from its bankruptcy have now filed for Chapter 11 relief.
- Inside Climate News reports a push to revive coal mining in Tennessee, particularly on land designated as unfit to mine by the Obama administration.
- Argus reports wind generation outpaced coal-fired power in ERCOT for the fourth straight month in January.
- The Grand Forks Herald carries an op-ed by Michael D. Mann, executive director of the Institute for Energy Studies at UND’s College of Engineering and Mines, in which he advocates for the value of coal-fired generation and the necessity of more efficient, cleaner coal power plants through the Coal FIRST initiative.
- E&E Daily reports Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the guidance for utilizing a carbon capture and sequestration tax credit will be issued within weeks.
- The Wall Street Journal reports growing popularity for carbon capture and efforts by oil corporations to cut the costs and energy requirements of carbon capture.
- Inside EPA reports EPA’s latest analysis of TRI data shows that total disposal fell by 9 percent between 2007 and 2018; EPA’s new interactive graphic on metal mines and TRI is referenced.
The Tennessean carries an interesting op-ed by Michael Stumo, in which he argues that the NEPA reforms to streamline the regulatory review process for mining permits will lead to increased availability of renewable energy.
Thanks to LifeZette for publishing my new piece on China’s continued use of ozone-depleting chemicals – in violation of international agreements – is often overlooked in the conversation about global warming.
The problem is that these ozone-depleting chemicals affect the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects us from ultraviolet radiation. Increasing the amount of ultraviolet rays getting through the atmosphere ultimately leads to increased surface temperatures. This should receive greater global scrutiny, particularly from those who focus on climate issues.
Real Clear Energy carries an article by Samuel Davis, Jr. (Chairman of the APGA Board of Directors), in which he argues that Natural gas bans leading to forced electrification are bad public policy. This new energy monopoly will force homeowners and businesses to forgo their preferred energy source and settle for costlier, less reliable electricity.
Happy Lincoln’s Birthday!
In the news today…
- WBOI reports the Indiana NAACP is calling on lawmakers to reject a bill which keeps coal plants open longer due to the negative health impacts on low-income and minority communities.
- FOX9 reports many coal plants are left to run while in the red, passing costs onto consumers.
- Axios reports Dominion Energy vowed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 through moving away from coal and investing in technology like carbon capture.
- S&P Global reports EIA expects U.S. coal output to fall 13.7% in 2020.
- The Associated Press reports Virginia lawmakers passed sweeping legislation to bring Virginia to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
- E&E Greenwire reports a federal judge ruled the Fish and Wildlife Service must redo an endangered species analysis to approve the Rosemont Copper project in Arizona.
- E&E Greenwire reports Twin Pines Minerals has withdrawn a request to mine near the Okefenokee Swamp, but plans to reapply with a proposal for a smaller project.
- E&E News PM reports the Army Corps of Engineers circulated a preliminary final environmental impact statement for the Pebble mine project which suggests the mine will be able to move forward.
- E&E Daily reports Rep. McCollum asked USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong to help press the Forest Service to respond to her request for documents in her case to ban mining near Boundary Waters.
- E&E News PM reports House Democrats introduced a resolution opposing proposed changes to NEPA.
- E&E Greenwire reports five environmental groups are suing EPA, alleging that it hasn’t met Clean Air Act requirements under Good Neighbor plans.
In the news today…
- Argus reports the Indiana House of Representatives approved a bill that would require the state’s utility commission to review any proposed coal-fired power plant retirements.
- Utility Dive carries an op-ed in which the author argues that Indiana’s new law, which requires review before a coal-fired power plant can be retired, benefits no one.
- Utility Dive reports Xcel Energy is changing the operations of its coal fleet, with a goal of reaching 100 percent carbon-free power by 2050.
- Argus reports a U.S. court order to review the protection status of a bat species could affect surface coal mining projects in the eastern part of the country.
- E&E Energywire reports the closure of a North Carolina coal plant last week is fueling a debate about the benefits of natural gas as a replacement.
- Wisconsin State Journal reports lawmakers have introduced a state bill that would require utility regulators to consider the social costs of carbon emissions when evaluating new power plants and transmission lines.
- Inside EPA reports industry groups are warning EPA that provisions in its proposed Clean Air Act new source review rule are unclear and could have unintended harmful consequences.
In the news today…
- NPR Illinois: Springfield utility officials claim keeping the city’s coal plant running will require millions of dollars.
- Utility Dive: Dairyland Power Cooperative will retire its 345MW coal plant in 2021 following approval of a new natural gas plant.
- Navajo Times: The Navajo Transitional Energy Company has denied news reports stating the company is behind on federal and county taxes.
- NPR: Hopi tribal members face a lack of coal fuel since the mine they had relied on closed last fall.
- Argus: Alliance Resource Partners expects production to fall by 9 percent this year in response to weak domestic and international demand.
- E&E Daily: House Democrats are insisting the Forest Service reverse a decision allowing Midas Gold Corp. to self-review a proposed gold project in Idaho.
- Associated Press: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating habitat areas for two protected crayfish species in the coalfields of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.
- Appalachian News Express: Kentucky Division of Mine Safety has revoked permits from and ordered the closure of four of American Resources Corporation mines, citing permit violations.
- Argus: A U.S. bankruptcy court will hear an update next month on the dispute over compensation of mining shovels between FM Coal and Komatsu Mining.
- E&E Greenwire: Environmental groups and congressional Democrats are asking for the comment period for proposed changes to NEPA to be extended six more months.
- Inside EPA: EPA staff’s ISA that examines the health effects of PM is making few changes from the proposed version criticized by agency science advisers.
- Inside EPA: The Science Advisory Board has dropped the consideration of ‘co-benefits’ from the MATS rollback report.
- Detroit Free Press: GM commits to $2.2 billion investment and 2,200 jobs at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant to make it a state-of-the-art facility building electric and self-driving cars.
- InsideClimate News: The U.S. Supreme Court may be the final stop for state and local lawsuits seeking climate damages from oil and gas companies.
In the news today and from the weekend…
- Energy News Network reports a utility in Michigan is running coal plants even when cheaper resources are available, costing customers tens of millions of dollars a year.
- E&E Greenwire reports many coal companies, notably the Navajo Transitional Energy Co., owe massive royalties, which could leave taxpayers footing the bill for reclamation activity.
- S&P Global reports the finance world is increasingly considering environmental, social and governance factors in its investments, making it difficult for coal to find its place.
- Juneau Empire reports Gov. Mike Dunleavy told the mining industry Alaska is open for business during an annual mining conference in British Columbia.
- Mining.com reports Newmont Goldcorp has earned a ‘B’ in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s climate change assessment.
- Argus reports Bernard McNamee plans to step down from FERC later this year but has expressed willingness to stay in order to maintain the commission’s three-member voting quorum.
- E&E Energywire reports DOE and the U.S. Energy Association will tour the U.S. this spring and summer on a carbon capture “roadshow” to bring together relevant parties to “hammer out solutions.”
- E&E Energywire reports Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon acknowledged that climate change is a man-made problem and suggests carbon capture technology as a possible solution.
- Forbes reports the inconvenient facts surrounding the Australian bush fires-namely, according to the latest research looking at the issue, the role of human-caused climate change in Australian bush fires has not yet been detected.
In the news today…
- The Lansing State Journal (MI) carries an op-ed by Matthew Kandrach, president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE), in which he supports FERC’s recent action on MOPR to level the playing field in electricity markets.
- The Milwaukee Independent reports Milwaukee’s solar group-buying program had its most successful year yet in 2019 with 48 homeowners adding installations.
- AdVantage reports a southern Illinois school district is moving forward with solar installations at multiple schools that are expected to cut electricity costs.
- Park Hills Daily Journal reports a solar project installed two years ago in eastern Missouri is working as city officials expected.
- Mining Technology reports major mining companies are moving away from coal.
- Energy News Network reports Ohio nuclear and coal subsidies could cost ratepayers more than $1 billion per year.
- The Terre Haute Tribune-Star reports Hoosier Energy announced plans to close the Merom Generating Station, a coal-fired plant, by 2023.
- Gillette News Record reports the University of Wyoming includes funds in their budget to build a coal-fired power plant which only emits water and carbon dioxide.
- E&E Energywire reports Arizona Public Service Co. announced it will generate all its power from carbon-free sources by 2050 and could be coal-free by 2035.
- E&E Daily reports EDA, which supports struggling coal communities, is one of the federal agencies the White House is trying to kill.
- The Associated Press reports a proposal to make it more difficult to close Indiana coal-fired power plants advances, but faces objections from consumer and environmental groups.
- Politico Pro reports USA Rare Earth is seeking to restart a domestic supply chain for rare earths.
- The Washington Times (DC) carries an op-ed from William Shughart, the research director at the Independent Institute, that takes the environmental movement to task for opposing the mining that produces the essential materials for green energy technology.
Over at Real Clear Energy, Jude Clemente has this post discussing the decision in the court case that ExxonMobil did not deceive or mislead investors over climate change impacts. There, the New York Attorney General had sued the oil and gas giant, alleging the company had misled investors over the true cost of climate change.
“The Office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor,” Judge Barry Ostrager of the trial-level state Supreme Court wrote in his ruling.
“The office of the Attorney General produced no testimony from any investor who claimed to have been misled by any disclosure, even though the Office of the Attorney General had previously represented it would call such individuals as trial witnesses,” he added.
One of Clemente’s themes is that all of these climate change cases are frivolous and a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars. Agreed. But even more importantly, he reminds us just how important oil and gas are to us:
The hollowness of these climate cases is really as obvious as it seems. ExxonMobil and the other producers aren’t the oil and gas users: we are. Oil, for instance, is literally the basis of globalization, the sine qua non of our increasingly connected world. Oil and its petrochemicals are ingrained in basically everything that we do, the foundation of over 6,000 products that we use everyday. Most ironically, oil is an essential component of the manufacturing processes to create, transport, and install renewable energy systems.
Gas will supply 40% of U.S. electricity this year, up from 20% a decade ago. And not just the backup for intermittent wind and solar power, gas is expected to easily add the most new generation in the years ahead. “10 ‘Reality Check’ Problems That Must Be Addressed By Opponents Of Coal, Oil And Natural Gas.” As a cleaner fuel with less CO2 and criteria emissions, our shift to gas is specifically cited by the International Energy Agency as the reason why the U.S. is lowering emissions faster than any other nation ever – “in the history of energy.”
Our love affair with their indispensable products will continue to give oil and gas companies the ultimate “social license to operate:”
- Every day, Americans use 410 million gallons of oil-based gasoline
- Every day, Americans use 170 million gallons of oil-based diesel fuel
- Every day, Americans use 75 million gallons of oil-based jet fuel
- Every day, Americans use 90 billion cubic feet of natural gas
Looking forward, the U.S. Department of Energy couldn’t be clearer: oil and gas will still supply the bulk of all U.S. energy supply through 2050 – as far out as it currently models. Further, just looking through the 2020s, the International Energy Agency has the U.S. accounting for 85% of new oil and 35% of new gas globally. Already the largest oil and gas producer, we are set to become the largest exporter of these essential fuels within a few years. Those seeking expansionism and oil and gas hegemony know this of course, and they are doing all that they can to derail the age of U.S. Energy Dominance: “Intelligence: Putin is Funding the Anti-Fracking Campaign.”
Indeed, those seeking to damage the U.S. oil and gas industry with frivolous lawsuits aren’t just hurting Americans they’re doing the bidding of our adversaries.
In the news today and from the weekend…
- Inside EPA, Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly and North of 60 Mining News report hardrock mining and land revitalization projects have been added to the list of sectors that are automatically eligible for FPISC’s fast-track process under FAST-41.
- The Salt Lake Tribune reports the White Mesa uranium mill in Utah has laid off a third of its workforce.
- Mining.com reports Lithium Americas Corp’s Nevada mine has moved closer to receiving the necessary permits and could get final permits to build by 2021.
- Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Xcel Energy is proposing to run two of its four coal generators just part time to save ratepayers money and reduce carbon emissions.
- The Salt Lake Tribune and US News and World Report report coal mining, while important to the local economy, can have detrimental effects on the environment, specifically water quality.
- Utility Dive reports Indiana has introduced a bill that would restrict utilities from reducing their coal plants’ generation unless mandated by the federal government.
- The Associated Press reports Illinois approved the first of three permits for a coal company’s plan to discharge waste water from its mine into the Big Muddy River.
- Business Insider reports on the life of Supreme Court Justice John Roberts Jr.
- Axios reports Microsoft has pledged to become carbon negative in 10 years by creating a $1 billion fund to accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture and removal technologies.
In the news today and from the weekend…
- E&E Greenwire reports the Trump administration’s rollback on NEPA is a solid win for the mining industry.
- E&E Energywire reports and CONSOL Energy issues a press release announcing its investment in the coal-to-products industry through acquisition.
- WSAZ reports Ramaco Carbon is opening a facility in West Virginia to research how to use coal to create advanced carbon products and materials.
- Argus reports a federal bankruptcy judge has approved the bidding procedures in Murray Energy’s Chapter 11 case, setting final deadlines for the company’s auction.
- E&E Energywire reports Kansas needs better tools to help beat back rising electric rates, including a mechanism to ease the transition away from coal.
- Reuters reports coal-fired power plants are closing fast in the U.S. despite President Trump’s pledge of support for the industry.
- Associated Press reports Blackjewel alleges former CEO Jeff Hoops took millions of dollars from the company for personal gain.
- The Texas Observer reports President Trump’s changes to NEPA could invite more uranium mining to south Texas, which would invite pollution risks.
- Mining.com reports Apple Inc is trying to become a “closed-loop” manufacturer that relies on recycling, not the mining industry, for necessary minerals, which some industry analysts have said is impossible.
In the news today…
- The Powell Tribune carries an op-ed by Sen. John Barrasso in which he argues that stopping coal export terminals will only create increased pollution as Russia will fill the gap left by American coal.
- Argus reports U.S. coal production likely ended 2019 at a 41-year low.
- Argus reports Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association will close its last two coal-fired power plants over the next 10 years.
- E&E Climatewire reports Colorado Gov. Jared Polis applauds the decision to shut down Tristate’s two coal-fired power plants.
- Argus reports the Dolet Hills coal-fired power plant in Louisiana has been approved for retirement, scheduled for no later than the end of 2026.
- Argus reports the Asbury coal plant in Missouri will retire on March 1.
- S&P Global reports the Oak Grove coking coal mine in Alabama has been idled with no information on a restart available.
- E&E News PM reports the U.S. and Canada will jointly work to curb their dependence on overseas minerals.
- North of 60 Mining News reports mining and other trade organizations welcome the White House’s proposed revisions to NEPA.
- Inside EPA and E&E Greenwire report White House officials announced a sweeping overhaul of NEPA implementing rules.
- E&E Daily reports Democrats are eyeing a legislative response to the Trump administration’s proposed NEPA overhaul.
In the news today…
- Capital Research Center carries a four-part series on Federal Land Withdrawals, arguing in favor of mining on federal lands to decrease U.S. import reliance.
- E&E Climatewire reports states face difficulties in lowering emissions from cars.
- E&E Energywire reports a recent study found that more than 26,000 lives were saved by shuttering coal-fired units across the U.S. between 2005 and 2016.
- The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the coal company that laid off dozens of employees last month without pay had failed to post a performance bond with the state, possibly in violation of state law.
- Charleston Gazette-Mail and E&E Greenwire report Panther Creek Mining of West Virginia will lay off 65 workers in March.
- Arizona Republic reports one of three generators at the Cholla coal-fired power plant in Arizona will close this year.
- E&E Greenwire reports The Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Navajo Transitional Energy Co. have agreed to a 65-day extension of an earlier interim waiver of sovereign immunity, keeping the Navajo Nation coal mine open possibly another two months.
- Utility Dive reports Xcel Minnesota claims running coal seasonally will save customers money and reduce emissions.
- The Farmington Daily Times reports a group of mine workers asked the PRC to allow Enchant Energy to take over and retrofit the San Juan Generating Plant with carbon capture technology.
- Politico Pro reports Sen. Kevin Cramer plans to vote against the nomination of James Danly because he worries the nominee is unwilling to save coal and nuclear plants from closure.
In the news today…
- The Northwest Indiana Times (IN) carries an op-ed by Matthew Kandrach, president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE), in which he supports FERC’s recent action on PJM’s Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) to level the playing field in electricity markets.
- The Atlantic reports coal consumption fell 18 percent last year, its largest drop ever recorded.
- Argus reports US coal exports recovered slightly in November after reaching a three-year low the previous month.
- Argus reports Arizona utility Salt River Project decided to retire both units of its 773MW Coronado plant in 2032 rather than retire one unit seven years earlier.
- Mining.com reports Hecla Mining has produced the highest amount of gold in the company’s history and has also ratified a collective bargaining agreement which ends the 34-month strike at the Lucky Friday mine.
- Mining.com reports USGS scientists mapped a rare earth element deposit located in the Mountain Pass region of the eastern Mojave Desert near Las Vegas, Nevada.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA):
- E&E Climatewire reports any changes to NEPA would be implemented after the election, and the impact to NEPA will change heavily based on who wins the election.
In the news today…
- Power Magazine reports transformative coal technologies will be necessary for future industry success.
- The Gillette News Record reports coal bankruptcies dominated headlines in 2019.
- E&E Climatewire reports legislation to ease the closing of the San Juan Generating Station has led to new challenges in implementation.
- The Wheeling Intelligencer reports new legislation to change the authority of who determines property owner compensation in mine subsidence cases.
- GreentechMedia reports the mining industry is increasingly turning to clean energy for its operations.
- The Arizona Daily Star reports the U.S. federal government will appeal a judge’s ruling against the Rosemont Mine.
- The Salt Lake Tribune reports a copper mine in Utah is seeking permits for an experimental method of extraction.
- Mining.com reports prices for precious metals are likely to rise further in 2020.
- The Casper Star-Tribune reports on carbon capture technology’s prospects for the coal industry.
Happy new year!
In the news today…
- The Washington Examiner and Mining.com report Joe Biden said miners, particularly coal miners, need to find jobs of the future by transitioning to jobs such as those which involve programming.
- E&E Greenwire reports a permitting decision for the Pebble mine will be delayed, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
- E&E Climatewire reports the Navajo Nation has suffered setbacks with the retirement of the Navajo Generating Station.
- The Hartford Courant reports Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. is limiting its insurance coverage of companies tied with coal and other fossil fuels.
- Power Magazine carries an op-ed which argues, despite setbacks over the past decade, nuclear and coal power continue to provide reliable baseload generation to billions of customers around the globe.