Category Archives: Coal

Two log jail time to stop logging, strip mine expansion in Illinois

By James Anderson, April 2, 2014. Source: TruthOut

Police escort to their cars, two Ohio activists under arrest for a blockade intended to stop logging along Rocky Branch Road, a precursor to Peabody Energy's strip mining expansion and the closure of the road planned by the company. (Photo: James Anderson)

Police escort to their cars, two Ohio activists under arrest for a blockade intended to stop logging along Rocky Branch Road, a precursor to Peabody Energy’s strip mining expansion and the closure of the road planned by the company. (Photo: James Anderson)

Activists courted arrest recently in Harrisburg, Illinois, to stop Peabody Energy from continuing logging operations related to strip mine expansion.

Police arrested two activists at a blockade set up on Rocky Branch Road in Harrisburg, Illinois, early on March 28, 2014, to stop Peabody Energy from continuing logging operations as part of the company’s strip mine expansion.

Daniel Goering, 20, and Alice Fine, 19, laid down a tarp on the road to block the route to be used for logging that day. Along with other environmental activists and with the support of community residents directly impacted by Peabody’s operations, the two tried to forestall and possibly prevent further strip mining and the proposed closure of Rocky Branch Road.

Goering and Fine – a self-identifying “radical power couple” – are students at Oberlin College in Ohio who joined with other activists intent on stopping Peabody, the largest private-sector coal company in the world. It has been active in mining operations around Harrisburg since 1999. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Mining

Cleaning dirty gas enabling CO2 sales to dirtier oil producers

Note: This sentence pretty much sums it all up: “He’s betting hydrocarbon consumers will increasingly opt to trap emissions from natural gas, if not to help the environment then to duck potential government sanctions — or to sell CO2 at a profit.

Capturing carbon from gas used to extract tar sands–and using that gas to extract more tar sands!  We wish this one was for April Fools.

-The GJEP Team

By John Lippert, April 1, 2014. Source: Bloomberg

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Drillers burn off the natural gas that surfaces with oil on a farm in North Dakota. Photo: Spencer Lowell/Bloomberg Markets

Andre Boulet, chief executive officer of Inventys Thermal Technologies Inc. in Burnaby, British Columbia, holds up a 6-inch piece of charcoal, showing how light passes through toothpick-sized air shafts. He says the crevices in this filter offer a cheap way to capture carbon dioxide before it ascends into the atmosphere and haunts future generations.

Boulet, who has spent $12 million on his seven-year-old company, predicts Inventys’s sales may reach hundreds of millions of dollars in five years — driven in part by North America’s natural gas boom, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its May issue.

President Barack Obama calls gas a bridge fuel for the U.S. economy. Power plants, factories and refineries are jumping onboard, lured by a 73 percent plunge in U.S. prices from 2005 to March 31. The country generated 28 percent of electricity with gas in 2013, up from 22 percent six years earlier, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Buoyed by gas, the fossil-fuel industry is trying to bask in a newfound green image.
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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Tar Sands

World’s biggest coal company, world’s biggest PR firm pair up to promote coal for poor people

Note: Looks like Peabody coal is taking this one right out of the UN’s “Sustainable Energy For All” playbook.  Pushing for more coal plants under the guise of reducing “energy poverty.”

-The GJEP Team

By Kate Sheppard, March 27, 2014. Source: Huffington Post

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s largest private-sector coal company, launched a public relations and advertising campaign last month extolling the virtues of coal energy for poor people.

A Peabody press release announcing the campaign, called Advanced Energy for Life, argues that lack of access to energy is “the world’s number one human and environmental crisis.”

To enter the campaign website, readers encounter a drop-in screen that asks them to agree or disagree with the statement, “Access to low-cost energy improves our lives.” The site notes that there are 3.5 billion people in the world “without adequate energy” — 1.2 billion of them children. A video titled “Energy Poverty” features babies and small children, with text that implores, “We can solve this crisis.” It adds: “Affordable energy leads to better health.”

Peabody’s proposal to solve this crisis? Asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop setting pollution limits on coal-fired power plants. Those pollution rules are meant to address climate change caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, a global problem that has the greatest effect on poor countries. Burning coal generates carbon emissions as well as hazardous pollutants such as mercury, lead, and benzene, according to the American Lung Association.
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Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution, World Bank

Duke Energy shareholders want probe of coal ash spill

By Michael Biesecker and Mitch Weiss, March 27, 2014. Source: Citizen-Times

Photo: Rick Dove, AP

Photo: Rick Dove, AP

Duke Energy shareholders called on the company’s board on Thursday to launch an independent investigation into issues surrounding a massive coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of a North Carolina river in toxic sludge.

A letter sent to Duke’s board of directors by a coalition of more than 20 large institutional investors says their confidence has been shaken by the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River. The letter also expresses concern about an ongoing federal criminal probe and what the investors characterize as the company’s inadequate response to the environmental disaster.

The letter comes as North Carolina’s environmental agency was forced to admit state inspectors twice missed a large crack in an earthen dike holding back millions of tons of ash at a different Duke facility near the Cape Fear River.

Federal prosecutors have issued at least 23 subpoenas as part of a grand jury investigation into the spill and whether the company has received preferential treatment from state officials. Gov. Pat McCrory worked at Duke for more than 28 years, and the company and its executives have been generous political supporters of his campaign and Republican groups that support him.
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Filed under Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Pollution, Water

Can Kemper become the first US power plant to use ‘clean coal’?

Note: Another absurd detour on the road to a scorched and lifeless planet…

-The GJEP Team

Suzanne Goldenberg, March 12, 2014. Source: The Guardian

Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi. Photograph: Courtesy Mississippi power

Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi. Photograph: Courtesy Mississippi power

The massive block of steel towers and pipes rises out of the morning fog like a sci-fi fantasy. But this coal-fired power plant could help save the climate, or at least that’s the hope of the Obama administration.

The plant in east-central Mississippi was repeatedly invoked by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to justify sweeping new climate change rules. When it comes online later this year, Kemper will be the first power plant in the US capable of capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions.

The EPA says the Kemper County Energy Facility offers a real-life example that it is possible to go on burning the dirtiest of fossil fuels and still make the cuts in carbon dioxide emissions needed to avoid a climate catastrophe.

But with staggering costs – $5bn (£3bn) and rising – and pushback from industry and environmental groups who say carbon capture is an unproven technology, now even the company that built Kemper is having second thoughts about the future of “clean coal”. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Coal, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Pollution

The World Bank’s role in climate and energy finance

By Chris Lang, February 25, 2014. Source: REDD Monitor

Protest against the World Bank's involvement in the Green Climate Fund at 2011 UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa.  Source: Flickr/Friends of the Earth International

Protest against the World Bank’s involvement in the Green Climate Fund at 2011 UN climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Source: Flickr/Friends of the Earth International

Bruce Rich’s excellent new book about the World Bank, features two chapters about the Bank’s role in climate and energy finance. Rich describes this as “arguably the most critical and intractable development issue facing the Bank and the world at large as global warming accelerates”.

Foreclosing the Future: The World Bank and the Politics of Environmental Destruction builds on Rich’s 1994 book, Mortgaging the Earth. Unfortunately, in the intervening years, the Bank has learned few lessons and continues to finance socially and environmentally destructive projects. The Bank’s role on climate change has been to cook up carbon trading schemes which not only fail to address climate change, they actually make matters worse.

This post looks at Rich’s chapters: “The Carbon Caravan” and “A Market Like No Other”. A forthcoming post will focus on Rich’s analysis of the World Bank’s role in REDD.

The World Bank didn’t produce a climate strategy until 2008 – 16 years after the Rio Summit and the negotiation of the UNFCCC. Perhaps surprisingly the climate strategy did not recommend a stop to funding climate damaging projects. Instead, Bank management decided that, Continue reading

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Coal, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, World Bank

Coalgate: The Gateway Pacific terminal scandal

By Jay Taber, February 23, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Demonstrators outside the Gateway Pacific terminal public hearing on Oct 27, 2012.  Photo: The Northern Light

Demonstrators outside the Gateway Pacific terminal public hearing on Oct 27, 2012. Photo: The Northern Light

In April 2013, when Philip Brendale advised attendees at the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA)-sponsored conference to seek funding from coal companies for an attack on Lummi Nation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, he spoke from experience. As one of a handful of professional hate campaign entrepreneurs, who came from as far away as Wisconsin and California to teach anti-Indian organizers how to take on tribal governments, Brendale’s remarks at the Anti-Indian Conference were taken to heart. Urging Tea Party activists and other attendees to get organized, he offered his non-profit to serve as a conduit for coal company monies, which in turn could be used to, “take these tribes down.”

Sharing the stage with Brendale at the Bellingham Lakeway Inn on April 6 was Elaine Willman from Hobart, Wisconsin. Elaine is a board member of CERA, the national umbrella organization devoted to terminating tribal sovereignty in the United States. Presenting along side her were Lana Marcussen, CERA legal counsel from California, and Tom Williams, CERA board member from Lynden, Washington. Tom Williams, a member of the anti-immigrant Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, was the local conference organizer. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Indigenous Peoples

Second chemical spill in West Virginia river

February 11, 2014. Source: AllVoices

Another chemical spill in W. Virginia; Kanawha Eagle Plant leaks coal slurry into Fields Creek.  Photo courtesy Jeremy Edwards

Another chemical spill in W. Virginia; Kanawha Eagle Plant leaks coal slurry into Fields Creek. Photo courtesy Jeremy Edwards

Another coal company has spilled an undetermined amount of chemicals into a West Virginia river, reported The Huffington Post Tuesday.

According to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, crude MCHM, the same chemical that leaked into the Elk River from last month’s Freedom Industry’s spill, leaked from a broken slurry line into the Kanawha Eagle preparation plant near Winifrede, sometime between midnight Monday and 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

More than 300,000 residents’ water was contaminated from the Jan. 9 spill from Freedom Industries but West Virginia American Water Company is confident this spill will not affect the water supply of any county because there are no immediate public water intakes downstream to this plant.

West Virginia America Water released a statement assuring the public that their employees were working together with state officials to gather more information on the spill. Continue reading

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Filed under Coal, Mining, Pollution, Water

Judge halts April vote on energy company tax breaks

By Tim Logan, February 11, 2014. Source: St Louis Post-Dispatch

James Houston of Take Back St. Louis gets set to chant during a protest on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 of a TIF proposal package by Laclede Gas outside the company's headquarters in downtown St. Louis. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

James Houston of Take Back St. Louis gets set to chant during a protest on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 of a TIF proposal package by Laclede Gas outside the company’s headquarters in downtown St. Louis. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

A St. Louis judge Tuesday put the brakes on an April vote that could have upended the city’s economic development incentives regime.

Calling it “punitive and unconstitutional,” Judge Robert Dierker placed a temporary injunction on the “Take Back St. Louis” initiative, which would have barred companies that engage in “unsustainable energy” production, or that do $1 million a year in business with those companies, from receiving city tax incentives. The measure was set for a citywide vote April 8.

Because ballots must be sent to the printer this week to meet that deadline, Dierker’s ruling essentially blocks that vote, at least for now, by forbidding the Board of Elections from taking any measure to make that vote happen. He scheduled a full trial on a lawsuit challenging the measure for March 31.

The “Take Back” effort was launched by Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, which has protested Peabody Energy for several years and collected 22,000 signatures last year for the measure. A MORE spokeswoman, Arielle Klagsbrun, said Tuesday that her group planned to appeal the ruling. But, she said, Dierker’s decision was disturbing. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Coal, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy

Company responsible for West Virginia chemical spill skips congressional hearing

By Emily Atkin, February 10, 2014. Source: ClimateProgress

Gary Southern, president of Freedom Industries, takes a sip of water at a press conference on the chemical spill. Photo: ClimateProgress

Gary Southern, president of Freedom Industries, takes a sip of water at a press conference on the chemical spill. 

Exactly one month and a day after 10,000 gallons of chemicals spilled into West Virginia’s water, members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure committee on Monday traveled to the state’s capital city, ostensibly to ask state leaders the still-unanswered questions surrounding the leak. There are many.

Perhaps the most important party that could provide answers would have been Freedom Industries, the company whose chemical storage tanks leaked a coal-cleaning chemical called crude MCHM into the water. Company president Gary Southern had been invited to testify, but in the end, did not show up.

“I find that extremely telling,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). “Freedom Industries’ decision not to testify today compounds its gross misconduct, and is an absolute affront to every person impacted by its spill.”

Freedom Industries’ decision not to show up to a hearing that otherwise housed every party that should be held accountable for the spill (Representatives from West Virginia American Water, West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board showed up, to name a few) is depressingly typical, and a painful reminder of the company’s non-presence throughout the month-long ordeal. Continue reading

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Filed under Coal, Pollution, Water