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  • Why are American coal plants still so dirty?

    Yesterday I published a brief overview of the U.S. power sector. Aging coal plants are responsible for the vast bulk of the its pollution -- greenhouse gases, SOX and NOX, particulates (smog), mercury, combustion ash, you name it. The power sector's pollution problem is largely the problem of old coal plants. What's the deal with that? Why are those plants still so filthy?

  • 'Environmentalism' can never address climate change

    There's been a lot of talk lately about what went wrong on the climate bill, but it's always struck me that the original wrong turn was the introduction of climate change to American politics as an "environmental issue." It is the mother of all framing errors -- the one from which all others flow.

  • EPA takes center stage on climate action, gears up to battle Big Coal

    Cap-and-trade's death means any federal effort to limit emissions rests with the EPA. Not shockingly, EPA has become the whipping boy of politicians.

  • BP chairman ‘cares about the small people.’ WTF?

    BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg must still be learning the finer points of crisis relations — here’s his explanation (before the White House press corps) of why President Obama is so frustrated with his company: [He’s] frustrated because he cares about the small people. And we care about the small people. I hear comments sometimes that […]

  • Another reason why Elena Kagan might be a green Supreme Court justice

    Conventional thinking is that there’s not much exciting about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, either in her life story or in her legal area of expertise, administrative law. But there’s an interesting argument that Kagan’s drab-sounding expertise is precisely what environmental advocates need on the court. Climate-change overlaps quite a bit with administrative law — […]

  • Are developers making mis-LEED-ing claims?

    It seems more and more buildings boast LEED credentials these days -- but are they legit? Find out where and why the best known green-building certification term in the land is being excessively bandied about.

  • Coal River Mountain sit-in campaign blooms

    Coal River Mountain sit-in
    Cherry Pond Mountain, Coal River Mountain, West Virginia
    Photo: Nicole Motson.

    As the U.S. Supreme Court continues to hear the Brent Benjamin-Don Blankenship case on the compromise of judicial neutrality from special interest lobbies -- read: Massey Energy's Big Coal grip on West Virginia courts -- five more arrests took place today in a growing campaign to stop mountaintop removal in the Coal River Valley.

    If the local and nationwide momentum is any indication of a promised spring and summer campaign of civil disobedience, Coal River Mountain is destined for an extraordinary Appalachian Spring.

    Earlier this week, a student campaign at Santa Clara University, a Jesuit-related school in California, won a successful victory in getting their university administration to agree to divest from their stock in Massey Energy.

    Today's action took place at 1:30 p.m., at the Massey Energy Edwight mountaintop-removal site on Cherry Pond Mountain. Calling attention to the mine blasting taking place near the Shumate Dam, a mountain valley Class-C dam which holds 2.8 billion gallons of coal sludge that sits a few football fields above the Marsh Fork Elementary School, five activists unfurled a banner -- "Stop Blasting, Save the Kids" -- and were cited for trespassing and peacefully escorted by the state police to jail at Pettus, West Virginia. They were released.

  • Dirty water and clean transit in the Mountain State

    Sometimes the news is random, and sometimes it aligns itself into tidy patterns and themes. Today is West Virginia day!

    To wit:

    • A group of residents in Boone County, W. Va., has sued coal giant Massey Energy and several subsidiaries for polluting their groundwater. The suit asks for replacement water supplies and compensation for personal and property damages. Meanwhile, a sympathetic group has raised enough funds to begin delivering clean water to the residents. (See their lurid toilet tank photos.)

  • The ultimate directory of climate change cases

    The estimable Arnold & Porter law firm has released a comprehensive online directory of climate change cases. Don't be deceived by the simplicity of the opening page. Just click on "Case Index" at the bottom of the opening page, which opens up a 35-page directory. Fantastic!