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Coal dependent: Pacific Northwest activists fight new export terminals

If big coal companies get their way, the Pacific Northwest will soon become a major hub for exporting dirty coal to Asia.

In Oregon and Washington, proposals to construct several coal export terminals are on the table. If they move forward, about 150 million tons of coal each year would travel by train from Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to ports in Oregon and Washington, where it would be shipped to China, India, South Korea, and Japan.

Grist’s David Roberts published an excellent primer on the topic earlier this week, concluding as follows:

Read more: Coal

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Mitt stakes: Romney botches 9 energy facts

Mitt Romney released his much-hyped jobs plan [PDF] yesterday. Looking at the energy section alone, I identified nine inconsistencies and factually incorrect statements. 1. Cites projected job losses associated with a regulation Obama has already scrapped Page 94: But as anyone who follows environmental issues closely likely knows by now, President Obama announced on Friday that he was scrapping plans to update the ozone rule. Obama's announcement came on Friday morning, a full 100 hours before Romney released his jobs plan. 2. Claims President Obama has "stifled the domestic energy sector" Page 86: Unfortunately, the first three years of the …

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Reducing air pollution is well worth the cost

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to protect states from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide pollution emitted from coal plants in other states. After dragging its feet for a while, the Bush administration introduced the Clean Air Interstate Rule in 2005. Due to its over-reliance on emissions trading, the Clean Air Interstate Rule was shot down (PDF) in December 2008 by the U.S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia. One year ago today, the Obama administration proposed a plan -- the Clean Air Transport Rule -- to replace the Bush administration's flawed Clean Air Interstate …

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Voters Strongly Oppose Michele Bachmann's Proposal to Abolish the EPA

Building on an idea that seems to have originated with Newt Gingrich, Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has spent the past few weeks calling for the Environmental Protection Agency to be abolished. In the June 13th GOP debate, Bachmann said she would pass the "mother of all repeal bills" to target "job-killing regulations." She indicated that she'd start with the EPA, and added that it "should really be renamed the job-killing organization of America." But a new poll from the conservative-leaning Rasmussen** finds that an overwhelming majority of likely voters, including more than two-thirds of independents, disagree with Rep. Bachmann. When …

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Three prominent Republicans care about climate change, sort of

In recent weeks, three prominent Republicans -- Mitt Romney, Chris Christie and Jon Huntsman -- have publicly affirmed their belief in climate change and the need to reduce pollution. This is good news! But as far as I can tell, they don't have a plan to address the issue between the three of them. The most recent was Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor with a tendency to play both sides of every issue. At a town hall style campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday, Romney said: I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, …

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Rick Santorum, the Only Consistently Anti-Environmental Candidate

Rick Santorum announced yesterday that next week, in a Western Pennsylvania coal field, he'll announce he is running for President. The leaked announcement seems to have heavily emphasized the coal field angle, since several major outlets mentioned it prominently. On Twitter, Bill Scher asked a compelling question: "Can he win by tarring Mitt, Newt, Tim, Jon w/past cap-trade support?" I don't think it will win him the nomination, but there is a segment of the Republican electorate that could be convinced to oppose Mitt/Newt/Tim/Jon solely because of their past support of cap and trade. Anti-environmentalism has become a matter of …

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Will Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s new mayor, deal with the city’s coal pollution problem?

Will new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel get tough on coal?Photo: Daniel X. O'NeillChicago has a major coal problem. The city's Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants, which have been operating for nearly 100 years and were rebuilt more than 40 years ago, were grandfathered in under the 1970 Clean Air Act amendments. The assumption at the time was that these plants would be shutting down within a few years since they were already so old. Needless to say, that hasn't happened -- yet. Some key facts about the Fisk and Crawford plants: These are the only large coal plants in …

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Memo to Fox News: Science and Politics Don’t Mix

Former oil and energy trader Eric Bolling, a financial news personality on Fox News, often gets on television to talk about climate change. On Tuesday, Media Matters published research on Bolling’s program and uncovered a history of claims that are demonstrably false: Bolling Hosted Skeptic To Claim "There Is No Global Warming." Bolling hosted Brian Sussman, radio host and author of Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam, who asserted that "there is no global warming." Sussman claimed that the "hottest decade in history was the 1930s." Bolling: "I think We Warm And We Cool. It's The Globe." …

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Helping Chinese consumers buy sustainable cars

"The fever of buying cars in China is so strong," Dr. An said.Photo: JuergenAs I wrote the other day, it’s absolutely critical for China’s government to make a commitment to clean energy and sustainability. But the country’s massive population -- as well as its status as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases -- makes the behavior of its consumers extremely important as well. Recognizing this, the Innovation Center for Energy and Technology (iCET) -- a nonprofit think tank with offices in Beijing, Los Angeles, and New York -- launched a new website Monday that aims to empower Chinese consumers …

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States and cities are already preparing for climate change

Many states aren’t waiting for the federal government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- they’re taking matters into their own hands. And according to the speakers at a COP16 side event I attended on Wednesday, the same is true for climate-change adaptation efforts. The event -- "Moving Forward with Climate Change Adaptation in the United States" -- highlighted several examples of state and local governments taking innovative approaches to adapting to climate change, including shore protection efforts (e.g. bulkheads and beach nourishment), modifying crop-planting schedules, and implementing “no build” zones in locations especially vulnerable to climate impacts. The discussion was …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy