Coal strip mined in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming is the source of 13% of US carbon pollution
A new report from the Department of Interior’s Inspector General highlights several problems with the way DOI gives taxpayer-owned coal to companies like Peabody, Arch, and Cloud Peak Energy, including flaws in the way DOI calculates fair market value (FMV) and a failure to consider increasing coal exports. The report reinforces the need for a moratorium on federal coal leasing, as outlined in a letter to Secretary Jewell on her first day in office which noted these and other concerns. The New York Times reports: Continue reading →
There are only two days left in the first public comment period on a decision that determines whether 67 million tons of global warming pollution stays in the ground.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is about to let an Australian company called Ambre Energy dig up hundreds of acres of public lands to expand its West Decker Coal Mine in Montana. All for more of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on the planet.
The impact of this one mine is astonishing. Coal produced from the mine’s expansion would release as much carbon pollution as 14 million cars do in a year.
Ambre wants to keep these processes with the DOI quick, quiet and out of the public eye. But if we flood the DOI with public comments, we can shine a spotlight on this climate disaster to stop it from moving forward.
Greenpeace has dramatically stepped up its campaign to stop Australia’s biggest contribution to climate change from getting any bigger. This morning six volunteers boarded a bulk carrier filled with thermal coal, leaving Australia bound for Asia. Continue reading →
China’s air pollution crisis is more evident than ever. A new research report, conducted under the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease project, shows that over 1.2 million premature deaths were caused by PM2.5 pollution (fine particles like soot, mostly resulting from fossil fuel combustion). That accounts for 15 percent of the total deaths in China during 2010 and 40 percent of global air pollution-related deaths. The data also showed that Chinese people’s average exposure to PM2.5 increased 50 percent from 1990 to 2010, compared to 10 percent globally. Continue reading →
The federal coal program overseen by the Department of Interior is undermining President Obama’s climate commitment
The leaders of 21 organizations welcomed Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to her first day on the job today with a letter calling for “an immediate moratorium on new coal leasing in the Powder River Basin and a comprehensive review of the federal coal leasing program.” Continue reading →
As the new Secretary of the Interior, Secretary Sally Jewel has an important opportunity to end the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) giveaways to the coal industry, which are unlocking enormous amounts of carbon pollution, wasting taxpayer dollars, and subsidizing the coal industry’s efforts to export publicly-owned coal to Asia.
It’s hard to imagine living in a place where the air is so dirty, going outside to breathe could be the most dangerous thing you do all day. It’s even harder to imagine those conditions in a major metropolitan city. However, that is the reality in Beijing at the start of 2013. Earlier this year, the city’s smog hit record levels, with dangerous fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 reaching 886 micrograms per cubic meter – more than double the US EPA’s highest grading of “hazardous.” Continue reading →
Middle school students from Sunnyside Environmental School in Portland, Oregon are studying energy and environmental issues, climate change and civic engagement. The 11 and 12 year olds are very concerned about coal export proposals. So when they had a chance to visit the capitol yesterday for the state’s birthday celebration, more than 50 of the students brought Governor Kitzhaber hundreds of specially made Valentine’s Day cards calling on him to show his love for Oregon and for their future by rejecting coal export proposals. Take a look:
"Kids Against Coal Exports" in front of the capitol building in Salem, Oregon
Ambre Energy's losses dwarf its revenues. From Sightline Institute, "Ambre Energy, Caveat Investor"
It’s not a good time to be a coal industry executive in the US. Last year, wind power made up nearly half of all new installed electricity generation, and domestic coal use is on the decline year after year. With dimming prospects at home, companies are in a race to export US coal to foreign markets. Some of the coal companies pushing to export US coal are relatively well known, especially for their long history of environmental and labor abuses - think Peabody and Arch. But until now, little has been known about Ambre Energy, the Australian company pushing two of the controversial coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon. A new report from the Sightline Institute, “Ambre Energy: Caveat Investor” digs deep into the inner workings and shaky footing of this startup – and for the communities and investors weighing Ambre’s promises, the results are not pretty. The report details the many challenges facing Ambre in its aspirations of becoming a true planet-destroying coal titan.
To begin with, Ambre has accumulated $124 million in losses, while collecting only $6.6 million in revenues over the last 7 years. An earlier coal project in Australia collapsed in the face of opposition from farmers and the local government, and Ambre now admits it lost $10.9 million in the process. With the cancellation of that Australian project, the company barely qualifies as a coal company – only because of two failing coal mines in Montana and Wyoming they purchased from previous owners who were planning to close them. Now, the company is on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in liabilities for mine reclamation and cleanup, retirement benefits, and other costs at those mines. Meanwhile, Ambre recently announced layoffs of 75 people at one them, the Decker mine, amid a lawsuit from its former partner Cloud Peak Energy. Continue reading →