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Coal Ash Ponds: How Power Companies Get a 'Bypass' on Regulations Against Pollution

Accidental pollution? Sure, stuff happens. But what about intentional pollution?When we think of electric power plants and pollution, we often think of air pollution and climate change, and especially when it comes to coal-fired power plants. ...

Posted March 26, 2014    

Obama's Climate Legacy May Come Down to Coal and 'No'

The Obama administration gave environmentalists little to cheer about last week, but the game is hardly over.When it comes to climate change, Obama’s rhetoric has been striking and unequivocal (for example here), but with congressional deadlock, his...

Posted February 8, 2014    

Americans Driving Down Their Driving Miles

We may be witnessing a historic change in our driving habits.Americans love their cars and love to drive their cars. With each American traveling on average less than 10,000 miles a year and the country as a whole nearly three trillion...

Posted January 17, 2014    

Electric Power Conundrum at the Crossroads of Energy, Climate, and Water

Which is more important: Meeting energy demand, lowering carbon emissions, or conserving water? How about all three?The Three Big Challenges Facing the Electric Power IndustryThe U.S. electric power industry has huge challenges to meet in the coming...

Posted November 11, 2013    

Environmental Risk: The Oil Boom Produces Another Spill

In late September more than 865,000 gallons of Bakken oil (see map [pdf]) spewed from a pipeline onto a North Dakota farmer’s wheat fields.Oil Boom, Pipeline BustThe oil boom is alive and kicking in North Dakota where fracking — the technique of...

Posted October 18, 2013    

Energy Efficiency Bill Goes from No-Brainer to Life Support to Plan B

OK, with the government shutdown that kicked in yesterday at midnight, it should come as no surprise that we have a highly dysfunctional Congress. Still, when Congressional gridlock derails a good, sensible, popular bill on...

Posted October 2, 2013    

Natural Gas Study: Allays Fears for Some, Inspires Hot Air From Others

Long-awaited research results suggest methane leakage small.The rise of two particular techniques — horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing or fracking — to extract natural gas from layers of shale buried deep beneath the earth has engendered...

Posted September 20, 2013    

Climate Change: China Puts Kibosh on New Coal Plants

… in three regions.When it comes to climate change, coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, is a definite baddie — BTU for BTU, burning it puts out almost 30 percent more carbon dioxide (CO2) than burning petroleum and about 78 percent more CO2 than...

Posted September 17, 2013    

Fracking Waste Wells Linked to Ohio Earthquakes

Was lack of government regulation at fault?It’s a common complaint these days: government regulations have gotten out of hand (see here and here), they’re stifling the American economy, “killing economic growth.” Generalities like those are hard to...

Posted September 2, 2013    

Public Health: Fossil Fuel Collateral Damage

Could your neighborhood be next?Neighborhoods can be turned upside down by shale oil and shale gas drilling (see here and here), by pipelines dug through backyards, and by pipeline spills that send crude oil across entire neighborhoods....

Posted August 22, 2013    

On Carbon Taxes and Competition

The United States and China are talking different languages when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.In the U.S. case, the Obama administration is the name of the game when it comes to federal action on climate change. (See here and here.)...

Posted August 20, 2013    

Update on Coal Ash Pollution: In Words and on Film

The story of coal ash keeps going nowhere. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about coal ash.A Whole Lot of AshCoal is the dirtiest fossil fuel we’ve got. BTU to BTU, we get more pollution from coal than from petroleum and way more than from...

Posted August 5, 2013