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West Virginia Coal Industry Has Key Role in American's Energy Future

West Virginia has a long, proud history as one of our nation’s top coal-producing states. In recent years, the industry associated with this abundant resource has been challenged as the demand for coal by the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants has declined. However, a strong future remains for coal with growth markets for coal in manufactured products, the use of metallurgical coal for steelmaking, exports of high-quality West Virginia coal and coal-based products, and the use of coal in a next generation of coal-fired power plants.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent report, The Appalachian Energy and Petrochemical Renaissance, highlights these emerging market opportunities for coal and how DOE research and innovation, conducted in partnership with industry, will help create new economic opportunities for coal mining and utilization. That research is primarily driven by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Morgantown and Pittsburgh. There are three major areas where DOE is investing to help secure a place for Appalachian coal in America’s energy future.

Dan Brouillette

The first is DOE’s Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, and Transformative) Initiative, which is aimed at advancing the next generation of coal-fueled power plants to provide secure, stable, and reliable electricity. DOE-led research and development will enable coal power plants of the future to produce zero, or even net-negative, in carbon emissions, while operating more reliably and enabling quick and flexible delivery of electricity during extreme weather events when intermittent sources of electricity are not available.

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U.S. Department of Energy Invests $2 Million to Find Beneficial Uses for Coal Combustion Residuals

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected two projects to receive approximately $2 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development. The projects will improve coal combustion residuals management under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002190, Research for Innovative Emission Reduction Technologies Related to Coal Combustion Residuals.

The selected projects represent the first round of selections for this FOA. Applications are still being accepted for the second round of the FOA, which closes on September 30, 2020.

Coal combustion residuals (CCRs) consist primarily of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum, and other FGD-solid by-products, from coal-fired power plants. Research and development efforts under this FOA aim to economically increase the beneficial use and management of CCRs, reducing the volume needed to be disposed of in impoundments while protecting the environment and the health and safety of the public.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects, both of which were selected from one area of interest (AOI) within the FOA to increase the beneficial use of CCR:

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During this Election, Energy Affordability is a Crisis

A “tidal wave” of power shut-offs is looming over the nation as families struggle with mid-summer heat and the devastating financial effects of the pandemic. That is how NPR recently described a heartbreaking situation where millions of families are choosing between paying power bills and putting food on the table or buying essential medication.

New polling conducted by Morning Consult confirms the scale of the problem. Nearly half of Americans say that the pandemic has increased their concern about paying household bills, like electricity bills. Concern about being able to afford to keep the lights on or a house cool isn’t new for far too many families but it has jumped since the arrival of the pandemic. The Department of Energy found in 2015 that one in three U.S. households struggled paying energy bills, with minorities most affected. The surge in concern seen in the past few months should be setting off alarms.

Affordability is a crisis. And it’s a crisis grown more acute in the face of the pandemic and rising energy prices driven by a pivot away from baseload power.

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WRDA Investments in Maritime Infrastructure Underpin Essential Commerce

The following statement was released by National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Rich Nolan in support of the Water Resources Development Act:

“The mining industry strongly supports the enactment of a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and appreciates the bipartisan work to pass WRDA through the House this week. The House’s WRDA Act and the Senate’s American Water Infrastructure Act make strong investments in our nation’s water infrastructure, ports and navigation systems. Through increased funding for dredging and port maintenance through the crucial Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and additional system funding for the Inland Waterway Trust Fund, we can strengthen the transportation of and support for American goods – including domestically-mined materials that are the heart of our manufacturing, energy, medical and defense supply chains – for use here at home and export abroad. We look forward to Congress conferencing these important infrastructure bills and enactment this year.”

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 CO2 to Get Tobacco Treatment from the Plaintiff Bar

By Fred Palmer, J.D. Senior Fellow-CO2 Policy, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and Head of Saving Us Coal

A June 29 Grist News story details lawsuits seeking money damages filed against oil majors for selling products, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, that when combusted put CO2 in the air. Among the companies sued are Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell and Conoco Phillips. These are fabulous companies with a combined stock market capitalization of over $500 billion. Every day they operate in the public interest and create products that when used facilitate Modernity itself. These companies should be applauded for the good they do for all people, everywhere, all the time; nonetheless the companies are being sued in Washington DC court and the courts of many States, including New York.

 

Fred Palmer

The basis for each CO2 lawsuit is a reversal of the public interest reality and the theory is simple: allegations are made that each company is selling a product that is adverse to human health and welfare, the companies know or should know that the products are an existential threat to humanity itself and each company must pay damages for climate change now and into the future. If successful, the lawsuits will become endless against endless defendants and the financial burden associated with the damages they will claim could put US fossil fuel chain industry companies into bankruptcy. One unstated goal of the lawsuits is just that, of course, as the concept is driven by the people that brought us the Green New Deal and are determined to eliminate the use of fossil fuels including coal altogether.

The great oil companies sued, are vilified in the litigation as demonic for being in the fossil fuel business. The “scientific” legitimacy for the universal defamation of all in the fossil fuel business, including the oil company defendants, is the Obama 2009 EPA CO2 Endangerment Finding. Such finding says more CO2 emissions from humans living their lives, by definition breathing along with driving a car, is a “current threat” to our health and welfare every day we engage in such activity. EPA has primary jurisdiction over US air quality and content control: absent the CO2 Endangerment Finding there would be no legal basis for the lawsuits. Certainly, there is no objective data that establishes a causal effect from CO2 in the atmosphere to catastrophic global warming. To the contrary, over a century of fossil fuel use and growing atmospheric CO2 content establish just the opposite by showing more people living longer and living better since fossil fuel use began. CO2 benefits to people and the Human Environment are a clear, undeniable and dispositive metric.

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