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CO2 Watch - A President Biden Will Shut Down Coal Plants

By Fred Palmer, Senior Fellow – Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change and Head of Saving US Coal

Former Vice President Joe Biden, presumptive Democratic candidate for President, is no friend of coal and other fossil fuels. In the 2016 election effort for re-election by President Obama, Biden was asked for his view on using coal for electricity generation. His answer: he supports coal in China but not the United States: “No coal plants here in America. Build them (in China)..over there”. The culprit in Biden’s view is CO2 emissions from coal combustion, full stop.

In his current efforts for President, Biden again said no to coal with Bernie Sanders during a debate. After in a later meeting with Sanders on energy policy, he made the commitment again in soliciting support for his nomination and election. In other debates Biden also committed to a long-term effort to eliminate oil and natural gas use with an immediate federal ban on fracking. And just last week Biden once again reiterated “no more coal”.

Fred Palmer

Biden is joined in his antipathy to CO2 emissions from coal, oil and natural gas, 100% by each of the women and men that were candidates for President in the Democratic Party. Current Congressional leadership for the Democrats, Speaker Pelosi and Minority leader Schumer, are on board with the idea of eliminating CO2 emissions through no more coal use as well as the ultimate elimination of all fossil fuels.

Of course, success by Biden in his presidential campaign does not guarantee a President Biden will have a pliant Senate and House both controlled by Democrats in lock-step to eliminate coal, oil and natural gas. Even assuming control of both House and Senate, Washington being Washington, passage of firmly stated policy goals in any Presidential campaign are not guaranteed success after election. Arguably, efforts to legislate such a coal ban and institution of policies to eliminate oil and natural gas would have difficulties in Congress given that Democrats will be from diverse parts of the country, including rural states and energy states.

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Coronado to Restart US Operations

ASX-listed Coronado Global Resources has taken the decision to restart its Buchanan and Logan mining operations, in the US, on June 1.

The company noted that as a result of substantial inventory reduction over the past two months, the idled mines would resume production to jointly provide more than 90% of Coronado’s US saleable coal production.

The mines will operate at production levels sufficient to satisfy domestic metallurgical contracts and to limit exposure to the volatility of European and Brazilian markets.

While the export of hard coking coal to the Asian markets will continue from the Buchanan operation, neither Buchanan nor Logan will be producing thermal coal.

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Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Attempting to Halt Federal Coal Leases

A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit attempting to reinstate a moratorium on leasing federal land to coal producers.

The administration first attempted to end an Obama-era ban on new coal leasing on public lands in 2017, although Judge Brian Morris ruled last year that the Trump administration did not take the required steps to comply with environmental laws.

Morris ruled Friday that the administration has since “remedied the violation” after completing an assessment this year which found no significant impacts of resuming coal leases.

He added those attempting to pause the leasing, including several states, tribes and environmental groups, “remain free to file a complaint to challenge the sufficiency” of the assessment.

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Tug Valley Mining Institute Awards Annual $20,000 in Scholarships

Tug Valley Mining Institute (TVMI) has announced the six 2020 scholarship recipients.  The $8,000 David B. Akers Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Kelli Kirk, Tug Valley High; the $8,000 Raymond J. Scites Honorary Scholarship Award was awarded to Jaley Adkins, Belfry High.  Four $1,000 scholarships were awarded to Timothy Gavin Fields, Belfry High; Anna Henson, Belfry High; Heather Tiana Hinkle, Phelps High; and Kenzie Scott, Logan High.

Tug Valley Mining Institute (TVMI) recently announced its six 2020 scholarship recipients. From left are Jaley Adkins, Timothy Gavin Fields, Anna Henson, Kenzie Scott, Heather Tiana Tinkle and Kelli Kirk.

Photo courtesy of TVMI

Over the last twenty-four years, TVMI has awarded 142 (one hundred forty-two) students $353,250 in scholarship monies.  The TVMI scholarship is open to students from Mingo, Logan, Wayne, Pike, and Martin counties.  The applications are available in November of each year and may be obtained from Marsha Williams at the First National Bank of Williamson or from a TVMI board member.

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 As the Pandemic Unfolds, Voter Concern Over the Affordability of Electricity is Surging

U.S. unemployment is flirting with 25 percent. As the country tries to weather the COVID-19 storm and look forward to reopening and recovery, economic pain is front and center for millions of families. It’s no surprise then that a new poll conducted by Morning Consult found that nearly half of all registered voters (47 percent) reported that the pandemic has increased their concerns about paying their household bills, including electricity bills.

That surge in concern should frame the way lawmakers, utilities and public service commissions think about energy in the months, and perhaps years, ahead. Voters want affordable and reliable power. Hard stop.

They don’t want new rate cases stemming from the premature retirement of well operating plants and the costs of paying for replacements. They don’t want surcharges for new infrastructure and they certainly don’t want spiking electricity prices during summer and winter months when staying cool or warm isn’t a luxury but a necessity.

This building concern over paying the bills also comes in what is likely still the early innings of the pandemic and recovery. The economic shock from the crisis may reverberate for some time, and as it continues, the concern over expenses could grow as well.

Rising electricity prices could not only derail any effort to bring vital industries and supply chains back home – an emerging policy priority – but handicap recovery for average Americans and small businesses alike. If Germany’s Energiewende is any preview for what to expect, perhaps it will be USA Today instead of Der Spiegel warning that electricity is becoming a luxury good.

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