Displaced Coal Miners Turn To Beekeeping

Screenshot / PM Beers, YouTube

By Marlene Cimons for Nexus Media – Mark Lilly, 59, grew up and still lives in West Virginia. He spent three decades as an insurance adjuster, often talking to people struggling through the decline of coal. At the end of some very long days, he would escape to his bee hives. “It was therapeutic,” he said. Life in coal country may no longer be what it once was, but “the bees haven’t changed,” he said. Lilly has since retired from the insurance business, but he still tends to his honeybees. He now is using what he learned from these insects to help out-of-work miners and others hurt by coal’s demise. He’s turning them into beekeepers. Lilly sees beekeeping as a way for longtime Appalachians to preserve their connection to the land and to earn extra money during lean times. Some might even be able to support themselves and their families on income from bees. “Most of the people in these coal towns are very open to anything that involves the outdoors and nature,” Lilly said. “Many of those who lost jobs in the mines are now working lower paid jobs because they don’t want to leave. They are tied to the land. We have an opportunity to go back to those communities and provide them with a new skill and some additional income, so they can stay where they want.”

Rick Perry’s Plan To Subsidize Coal And Nuclear Plants Is Bonkers

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By David Roberts for Vox – The Trump administration has not typically put a premium on transparency or fealty to empirical fact. So it was somewhat puzzling when the Department of Energy released its long-awaited study of power grid reliability in August and it looked … mostly normal. By all accounts, DOE’s experts were allowed to work on it unimpeded. Its conclusions lined up with the broad consensus in the energy field: The loss of coal plants has not diminished grid reliability; in fact, the grid is more reliable than ever. Reliability can be improved further through smart planning and a portfolio of flexible resources. Regulators should work on ways to better compensate reliability in competitive energy markets. The summary bits of the report added a bit of political spin, but the analytic work and core conclusions were solid — and very much not in line with the administration’s position, which is that reliability is immediately threatened and coal and nuclear plants are necessary to preserve it. Where, wondered the more cynical observers [waves], was the hackery? Where was the political interference to prop up a favored industry, the blithe disregard of expert knowledge? This is not the Trump administration we’ve come to know and … know. Well, it turns out, we just needed a little patience. The hackery has landed. Repeat: The hackery has landed.

Court Orders New Climate Impact Analysis For 4 Gigantic Coal Leases

The court ruling involved new federal coal leases in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana that expanded projects holding some 2 billion tons of coal. Credit: Bureau of Land Management

By John H. Cushman JR. for Inside Climate News – A federal appeals court in Denver told the Bureau of Land Management on Friday that its analysis of the climate impacts of four gigantic coal leases was economically “irrational” and needs to be done over. When reviewing the environmental impacts of fossil fuel projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the judges said, the agency can’t assume the harmful effects away by claiming that dirty fuels left untouched in one location would automatically bubble up, greenhouse gas emissions and all, somewhere else. That was the basic logic employed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2010 when it approved the new leases in the Powder River Basin that stretches across Wyoming and Montana, expanding projects that hold some 2 billion tons of coal, big enough to supply at least a fifth of the nation’s needs. The leases were at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine and Peabody Energy’s North Antelope-Rochelle mine, among the biggest operations of two of the world’s biggest coal companies. If these would have no climate impact, as the BLM argued, then presumably no one could ever be told to leave coal in the ground to protect the climate. But that much coal, when it is burned, adds billions of tons of carbon dioxide to an already overburdened atmosphere, worsening global warming’s harm. Increasingly, environmentalists have been pressing the federal leasing agency to consider those cumulative impacts, and increasingly judges have been ruling that the 1970 NEPA statute, the foundation of modern environmental law, requires it.

World's Biggest Floating Solar Farm Goes Live On Top Of A Former Coal Mine


By Global Citizen for Eco Watch – Coal power is getting buried in China—both literally and figuratively. Earlier this week, a new floating solar farm went live in the Chinese city of Huainan above a retired coal mine, China Daily reported. The mine was flooded with groundwater after it went out of service, and, rather than simply losing an energy source, the city decided to get another form of power out of the space. Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals, one of which, Global Goal 13, encourages countries to adopt renewable energy sources. You can take action on these issues here. The new solar farm generates 40 megawatts, which can power 15,000 homes for a year. That’s more than six times the second biggest active floating farm, which has a capacity of 6.3MW. The project is part of China’s much broader strategy of investing in renewable energy. China has more solar capacity than any other country in the world and it intends to invest at least $361 billion in renewables by 2020. After the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate agreement earlier in the year, China doubled down on its commitments and made joint statements with other countries to encourage stronger climate action.

Company Turning Former Coal Mine To Solar Farm

This undated image provided by the Berkeley Energy Group shows a mountaintop removal site near Pikeville, Ky. The Berkeley Energy Group, EDF Renewable Energy and former state Auditor Adam Edelen announced Tuesday, April 18, 2017, they are looking at two mountaintop removal sites to turn one into a solar farm. (Kenny Stanley/Berkeley Energy Group via AP)

By Staff of The Intelligencer – FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A former strip mine would be converted into a solar farm under a proposal announced Tuesday by an Appalachian coal company that says it wants to place hundreds of thousands of panels in the Kentucky mountains. The Berkeley Energy Group, EDF Renewable Energy and former Democratic state Auditor Adam Edelen said they are looking at two mountaintop removal sites just outside of Pikeville in the heart of Kentucky’s coal country. It’s the latest example of efforts to diversify the energy output of the nation’s third-largest coal producing state, which has been hit hard by the economic impact of the declining coal industry. Last month, the state legislature voted to end the state’s decades-long moratorium on nuclear energy. And earlier this month, the Kentucky Coal Museum installed solar panels on its roof. “We can build solar on the foundation of coal,” Edelen said. “Kentucky has long been an energy producer that has powered the entire country. There’s no reason why we can’t continue to be that, but we have to adopt an all of the above energy strategy.”

Navajo Sues EPA For $160 Million Over Last Year’s Mining Waste Spill

People kayak in the Animas River near Durango, Colo., in water colored from an EPA mine waste spill. ( Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP)

By Whitney Webb for Mint Press News – Before Dakota Access, many Americans were unaware of the excessive damage and exploitation that Native Americans have endured and continue to suffer from massive corporations. However, last year, one of the worst environmental catastrophes was not caused by a corporation, but by the government itself. More specifically, the disaster was caused by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the very part of the federal government tasked with protecting the environment from such events. In August of 2015, a group of contractors hired by the EPA spilled massive amounts of waste from an abandoned gold mine into the Animas river and its tributaries.

Donald Trump Taps Billionaire Who Owned Deadly Coal Mine For Commerce Secretary

Wilbur Ross owned West Virginia’s Sago Mine in 2006 when an explosion led to the deaths of 12 men.

By Alexander C. Kaufman for The Huffington Post – Donald Trump promised during his campaign to bring back mining jobs to struggling workers in coal country. Now the president-elect has tapped for commerce secretary a Manhattan billionaire who owned a West Virginia coal mine where 12 workers died in 2006. On Wednesday morning, Trump announced the nomination of hedge fund titan Wilbur Ross, 78, to lead the Department of Commerce. “Wilbur Ross is a champion of American manufacturing and knows how to help companies succeed,” Trump said in a statement.

Dakota Access Pipeline Will Lock-In Emissions Of 30 Coal Plants

Happy American Horse attaching himself to an excavator at the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline on 31 August 2016. Photo by Rob Wilson for Bold Alliance

By Lorne Stockman for Oil Change International – The Dakota Access pipeline would carry oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota to Gulf Coast refineries and export terminals via Patoka, Illinois. With a maximum capacity of 570,000 barrels per day (bpd), it could carry over 50% of North Dakota’s current oil production. Ultimately, the net greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of the pipe would depend on what future actions we take to end our fossil fuel addiction and address climate change.

Coal Lobbying Groups Losing Members As Industry Tumbles

Membership in coal's leading U.S. lobbying groups has been sliding, a new report says, which coincides with the decline of the nation’s coal industry. Credit: Luke Sharrett/Getty Images

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – At least 18 major companies—and perhaps nearly twice that many—have ended their memberships in two of the nation’s top coal lobbying groups, the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity since 2009, according to research by the Climate Investigations Center (CIC), an environmental advocacy group. Volvo Construction Equipment North America publicly announced its departure from the NMA during the Paris climate talks last December, citing opposition to the group’s anti-climate action lobbying.

South Africans Protest Mining, Block Meeting

Commuity gathers outside Ocilwane village – photo by Rob Symons

By Sheila Berry for Save Our Wilderness – This morning an angry but well-behaved crowd of well over a thousand Fuleni residents forced the Regional Mining Development Environmental Committee (RMDEC) to abort their site visit to Fuleni for Ibutho Coal’s proposed open cast mine on the boundary of the iMfolozi Wilderness Area. The site visit would have familiarised RMDEC with the area before the meeting tomorrow, at 10h30, at Enseleni Nature Reserve, KZN, to hear submissions from I&APs and their lawyers to substantiate their comments and objections to the Fuleni mine.

Bangladesh Coal Plant Protests Continue After Demonstrators Killed

Around 500 villagers gathered in Gandamara, a remote coastal town in Chittagong district of Bangladesh, to protest against the construction of two China backed coal-fired power plants that they say will evict thousands from the area. Photograph: Courtesy 350 South Asia

By John Vidal for The Guardian – Bangladeshi villagers staged further protests on Tuesday after police opened fire and killed at least four people demonstrating against the planned construction of two large Chinese-financed coal-fired power stations. According to police and eyewitness reports, several thousand villagers gathered in the coastal town of Gandamara near Chittagong on Monday, to protest against the two power plants. These are expected to force the eviction of several thousand people in a fertile coastal farming areas and the demolition of temples and schools.

How Montanans Stopped Largest New Coal Mine In N. America

Protesters block a coal train from entering downtown Missoula in 2015. (Blue Skies Campaign)

By Nick Engelfried for Waging Nonviolence – Montana communities won a victory against one of the world’s biggest coal companies earlier this month, when Arch Coal abandoned the Otter Creek mine – the largest proposed new coal strip mine in North America. The story of how the project imploded is one of people power triumphing over a company once thought to be nearly invincible. To many observers, the Otter Creek project once seemed unstoppable.

Obama Admin About To Kneecap Own Efforts To Reform Coal Leasing

A Wyoming coal strip mine.(Wikipedia)

By David Roberts for Vox – Over the past year or so, the Obama administration has shown increasing sympathy toward the new climate activism mantra: “Keep it in the ground.” In November, Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, saying, “If we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground.”

How Montanans Stopped Largest New Coal Mine In N. America

Protesters block a coal train from entering downtown Missoula in 2015. (Blue Skies Campaign)

By Nick Engelfried for Waging Nonviolence – Montana communities won a victory against one of the world’s biggest coal companies earlier this month, when Arch Coal abandoned the Otter Creek mine – the largest proposed new coal strip mine in North America. The story of how the project imploded is one of people power triumphing over a company once thought to be nearly invincible. To many observers, the Otter Creek project once seemed unstoppable. It certainly appeared that way in 2011, the year I moved to Missoula, Montana for graduate school.

Thousands March Over 100 Miles Against Coal Projects

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By Cindy Carr for Sierra Club – DHAKA, BANGLADESH — Early this morning, thousands of activists from Bangladesh and India joined together in Dhaka to trek more than 100 miles in protest of the Indian-backed Rampal coal project and adjacent Orion Khulna power station. Rampal and Khulna, the proposed 1,320- and 660-megawatt coal projects, sit adjacent to the Sundarbans, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed mangrove forest. Sundarbans, which means “beautiful forest” in Bengali, is one of the largest continuous mangrove forests remaining in the world.