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ESA Revisions Return Law to its Intended Purpose While Restoring Business Certainty

The National Mining Association (NMA) has welcomed the revisions to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) set forth by the Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries.

“These revisions are a step in the right direction to restore the law to its intended purpose: advancing species recovery and ultimately removing species from threatened or endangered status, a goal that deserves undisputed support,” said Hal Quinn, NMA president and CEO. “Unfortunately, for too long, the statute has been misused for reasons that have little to do with any endangered species. They have been a tool to facilitate perpetual listings as the justification for unwarranted land grabs and excessive land-use restrictions.”

Hal Quinn

The impact of the revisions will be to more effectively allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to past court rulings regarding the findings that federal agencies make with respect to listed species without unnecessarily restricting decision-making needed for projects to move forward.  The changes will also restore the law’s original distinction between species that are threatened and those that are facing greater threats and are listed as endangered under the ESA. This important distinction will allow the Service to dedicate valuable resources to those species most in need while avoiding application of the most severe land use restrictions for species that fall below that threshold. Finally, the revised regulations will better reflect that language of the ESA by mirroring the standards for delisting to those necessary for listing, and by prioritizing the designation of occupied habitat that is critical to species recovery over unoccupied habitat with undemonstrated recovery benefits.

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Organizers: September's Bluefield Coal Show Progressing to be 'Excellent'

Organizers are getting ready for next month’s Bluefield Coal Show, and say it’s progressing to be an “excellent” one.

The 23rd biennial coal show, which will be held at the Brushfork Armory Sept. 11-13, is hosted every other year and is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias.

Hundreds of participants turned out for the opening of the 22nd biennial Bluefield Coal Show at the Brushfork Armory in 2017.

Hundreds of participants turned out for the opening of the 22nd biennial Bluefield Coal Show at the Brushfork Armory in 2017.

Photo by David McNeil/Grubb Photo Service

For the first time in its long history, the show will have a new general chairman, Bob Ramsey, taking the place of one of the show’s founders and long-time chair, Charlie Peters, who passed away in May 2018 and had guided the show from its start in 1976 through 2017.

Ramsey is president of Peters Equipment and Ramsey Industrials and was named the new chair in October 2018.

“It is shaping up to be an excellent show,” he said. “We are very excited about the direction it is headed. There is a lot of enthusiasm for the show.”

Ramsey said everyone is also excited about this show’s keynote speaker, James A. Brock, the president of CONSOL Energy.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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Artists Create Coal Figurine for President Trump

Last month, President Donald Trump visited Wheeling, WV for a private fundraising event. During his visit, he was presented with a small statue made of coal, and that figurine was created by two artists who work for Coal Camp Creations, a business in Kimball, WV.

 

The artists, Johnathan Cox and Felicia Blevins, say it took them about two weeks from start to finish to create the 26 inch statue. They were contacted by Murray Energy Corporation to make the coal figure for President Trump.
“Mr. Murray actually received one of the same statues he had commissioned for the President, and he liked it so much that he wanted the same one made for the President,” said Cox. “it was a little bit of a shock getting that call.”

“I was very honored and this is a big deal for McDowell County,” said Blevins.

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Northern Appalachia Sees Highest Quarterly Coal Production Since 2014

Northern Appalachia coal production in the second quarter climbed to its highest level since 2014, as four of the top five producing mines saw a quarterly increase, according to data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The region produced roughly 29.05 million st of coal in Q2, up from 26.96 million st in the previous quarter and 27.16 million in the year-ago quarter. It was the highest quarterly output for Northern Appalachia since Q4 2014 when 29.46 million st was produced.

Of the 29.05 million st produced, 97.7%, or 28.39 million st, was bituminous coal, while the remaining 665,983 st was anthracite coal. In the previous quarter, 98.1%, or 26.45 million st was bituminous coal, and 513,868 st was anthracite, while the year-ago quarterly bituminous output was 26.69 million st, or 98.3%, and the remaining 472,579 st was anthracite.

Underground mine production was at 26.79 million st, up from 24.94 million st in Q1 and 25 million st in the year-ago quarter.

Murray Energy's Marshall County Mine produced a record-high 3.4 million st of coal in Q2, up from 2.65 million st in Q1 and 2.99 million st in the year-ago quarter. The underground mine, located in Marshall County, West Virginia, produced the most coal in Northern Appalachia for the first time since Q3 2018 and only the seventh time in the last seven years.

Consol Energy's Bailey mine had the second-largest output at 3.23 million st in Q2, up from 2.95 million st in Q1 but down from 3.45 million st in the year-ago quarter.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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When Down Is Up

The reduction in the price of electricity from solar and wind power over the last decade has made for a fantastic story. But it’s hiding a more complex and troubling truth. While the price of generating power from renewables has fallen, the cost, or burden, of integrating these intermittent sources of power onto the grid is growing and it’s already showing up in higher electricity bills.

What many fail to understand is that the cost of generating power is only a portion of what influences the cost of electricity – in fact, less than half. Non-fuel costs, such as transmission and distribution, have a greater influence on your electricity bill. And transmission is perhaps the most obvious example of where renewables are driving up the cost of power.

As Brian Murray, Director of the Duke University Energy Initiative, recently wrote in Forbes, “To cost-effectively scale up renewables, they must be sited where they are most productive – in places with plenty of sun, wind and land. That is typically not close to the population centers where users locate, so more transmission infrastructure is required to connect supply and demand. This may be having an effect on system costs. Between 2012 and 2017, when non-hydro renewables generation grew by 77 percent, transmission costs rose by 50 percent.”
While Murray cautions that we shouldn’t attribute all of this jump in transmission costs to renewables, their growth is the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Building new multi-state transmission projects – needed to, for example, move wind generation from the Great Plains to major cities – is a remarkably difficult and expensive undertaking. Projects of this variety regularly require 10 years or more for development, approval and construction. Many never make it across the finish line. Murray cites the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project in Texas as an example. That effort alone to connect wind generation in the Texas’ panhandle to population centers in the middle of the state cost $7 billion. And yet, that steep price tag barely hints at the costs to come.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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