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Many power plants already have equipment to slash mercury

Cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress, and Stewart Boss, an intern with the Energy Team at American Progress. Coal-fired power plants shoot 772 million pounds of airborne toxic chemicals into the sky every year -- more than 2.5 pounds for every American man, woman, and child. In March, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to dramatically reduce mercury, lead, acid gases, and other toxics from more than 400 plants in 46 states. Some of the nation's largest utilities -- including the Southern …

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The small-c conservatism of U.S. power companies

Photo: Gerry BaldingLast week I put up a piece on "what the U.S. power industry thinks about the future of the U.S. power industry," reposting results from a survey of U.S. power utility managers and executives. Just in case you're not inclined to read through hundreds of words of survey results and charts (what's wrong with you?!), I thought I'd pull out a few take-home lessons. The main lesson -- the meta-lesson, if you will -- is that the U.S. power sector remains, on average, extremely conservative. I don't mean ideologically conservative, but small-c conservative: biased in favor of the …

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Critical List: Two nuclear plants in the path of Missouri River floods; sea levels are rising

Two nuclear power plants are in the path of the Missouri River floods, but DON'T WORRY EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A new study verifies that the sea has risen more quickly during the past 100 years than at any other time in the last millennium, and that climate change is definitely, absolutely, positively, no question to blame for that. Because the Obama administration likes tourist attractions that bring in gazillions of dollars to Arizona's economy, it's not going to let anyone mine for uranium on the 1 million acres of land surrounding the Grand …

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How close are you to the country's dirtiest coal plants?

If you live west of D.C. and east of Omaha, there's a good chance you're pretty close to one of the 25 dirtiest coal plants in the U.S. Twenty of them are 50 to 100 miles away from major urban areas, according to Climate Progress. What does "dirtiest" mean? Well, these 25 plants represent 4 percent of the country's coal plants, and provide about 8 percent of the country's electricity generation, but account for 30 percent of mercury emissions from the U.S. electricity sector.  Here's Climate Progress' list of the worst offenders in terms of overall mercury emissions:

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Memo to the White House: Closing coal plants is a good thing

As the Obama administration announced the latest in a series of delays on rules that would cut pollution from smokestacks and industrial facilities, the utility industry continues to tout a new study showing that planned EPA clean air regulations would cause the shutdown of several coal-fired power plants. Several politicians and the administration have responded by trying to deny the charge -- saying that most of the plants would have shut down anyway: Really, it's not our fault that these poison-spewing monsters are closing, they say. Rather than running away from the closure of a coal plant, the administration would …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Your tax dollars subsidize the sh*t out of coal

If you're a fan of a certain dried-leaves-boiled-in-water-related political party, you might believe that renewable energy is the recipient of huge amounts of government largesse, and that the first thing we should do once we get our guy or gal into office is slash all that wasteful spending. But wait! It turns out coal gets way, way more subsidies for electricity generation. The situation is almost as ugly as this graph, which looks like Claudia Kishi's sweater drawer.

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American Electric Power threatens firings to stop pollution controls

The Kammer Power Plant, which spewed 364 pounds of mercury in 2009, is one of the AEP's plants slated to be closed. Photo: OZinOHCross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress. On June 9, American Electric Power (AEP), a major utility company that owns plants from Texas to Virginia, announced that it plans to close 21 coal-fired electricity units rather than invest in reducing their toxic air pollution to comply with the forthcoming Environmental Protection Agency reduction requirements [PDF]. In reality, AEP is …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Rage of a dying dinosaur: Why is AEP really shutting down five coal plants?

Coal-fired energy is going extinct.Photo: MarkusramA huge animal, thrashing around in its death throes, threatens nearby smaller animals. Such is the case with coal-dependent American Electric Power (AEP). Thursday, it announced that it would be closing five coal plants in Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio, adding up to about 25 percent of its total capacity. And it attributed the closure to the cost of EPA regulations. Cue the noise machine on the "job-killing EPA." The Bluefield, W.Va. Daily Telegraph editorial could have been written by AEP executives: "One must look no further than last week's stunning announcement from American Electric Power …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Don’t you dare blow up this mountain: Defending a historic spot against Big Coal [VIDEO]

Hundreds of activists from around the country joined local unionized coal miners in standing up to the coal industry last week, marching for five days and 50 miles through West Virginia. Their protest culminated on Saturday at Blair Mountain, the site of a violent clash in 1921 between 15,000 striking coal miners and a hired army paid by Big Coal bosses. That battle was a major milestone in the fight for the right to unionize. Blair Mountain was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, but then removed in 2010; activists blame the reversal on pressure from …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Why does American Electric Power hate your children?

.bbpBox80268799235993601 {background:url(http://a0.twimg.com/images/themes/theme1/bg.png) #C0DEED;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block} AEP really is coordinating their PR today. WV, OK and IN media all have stories about costs of EPA compliance. http://t.co/Zgvsgkrless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplySean Casten SeanCasten This morning American Electric Power is waging a not-so-secret -- and not terribly subtle -- campaign to build sentiment against EPA regulations that would force it to shut down or clean up its oldest, filthiest coal-fired power plants. One of the …