Coal Gathering Opens With Dour Assessment, Political Vitriol

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Pittsburgh conference examining a possible resurgence of coal markets opened Monday with a dour view of the industry from one of its most controversial leaders.

“We have the absolute destruction of the American coal industry. If you think it’s coming back, you don’t understand the business. Or you’re smoking dope,” Robert E. Murray, CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy, told several hundred industry executives gathered for the Platts 37th Coal Marketing Days.

Murray, whose company has filed four lawsuits against the Obama administration over proposed environmental rules, mixed market predictions with political vitriol, mostly aimed at the White House and climate change.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6837696-74/coal-murray-industry#ixzz3E4M6Livu
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After Decades, Dirty Indiana County Power Plant To Get Clean

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Indiana County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Indiana County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(AP) Three years ago, the operators of one of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants warned of “immediate and devastating” consequences from the Obama administration’s push to clean up pollution from coal.

Faced with cutting sulfur dioxide pollution blowing into downwind states by 80 percent in less than a year, lawyers for EME Homer City Generation L.P. sued the Environmental Protection Agency to block the rule, saying it would cause it grave harm and bring a painful spike in electricity bills.

None of those dire predictions came to pass.

Instead, the massive western Pennsylvania power plant is expected in a few years to turn from one of the worst polluters in the country to a model for how coal-fired power plants can slash pollution.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/appanews/531925697423954165349272/After-decades-dirty-power-plant-to-get-clean

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Corbett: Coal Is Working

States and the energy industry should work together to improve carbon-capturing technology to save coal-burning power plants and coal-related jobs threatened by federal clean air regulations, Gov. Tom Corbett said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a coal industry conference at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County, the Shaler Republican joined a chorus of voices complaining that environmental regulations will push coal out as an electricity source.

“If you take one energy source out of the mix, you just know the cost of electricity will go up,” Corbett told about 100 people at the Nemacolin Energy Institute gathering.

He later announced he would work with Wyoming Gov. Matthew H. Mead and other coal-producing states on research and eventually build a joint testing center for affordable emission-control technology.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/5983934-74/coal-power-corbett#ixzz2zlWO7oig
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Titus Station Closing Moved Up To Sept. 1

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The closing date for Titus Station, the coal-powered electrical plant in Cumru Township, has been moved up to Sept. 1, David Gaier, spokesman for the East Region of NRG Energy Inc., Princeton, N.J., said Wednesday.

The plant’s previous owner, GenOn Energy Inc., announced in March 2012 that it would shutter the plant in 2015.

NRG Energy took over Titus Dec. 14 when it merged with GenOn Energy.

Gaier said the plant was initially going to be closed because of the millions of dollars it would cost to make the coal-powered plant comply with recent federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477493

Report: Air Gets Clearer In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metro Area

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Air quality in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region has showed marked improvement — to the point that a report card to be issued today will reveal the region’s best grades in the 14-year history of the annual survey.

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2013” report finds that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area has cut year-round and daily particle (soot) pollution levels since the 2012 report, in keeping with a trend seen across the nation. Along with improvements in particle pollution, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre experienced fewer unhealthy days of high ozone or smog.

Overall, the report shows the air quality in the region, and nationwide, continues the long-term trend to improving.

“The air in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is certainly cleaner than when we started the ‘State of the Air’ report 14 years ago,” said Deb Brown, president and chief executive officer of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. “Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has experienced a great year for air quality, all of the findings this year were in a positive direction.  But the work is not done, and we must set stronger health standards for pollutants and clean up sources of pollution in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to protect the health of our citizens.”

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/457076/Report:-Air-gets-clearer-in-area

Berks County Gets Failing Air-Quality Grade

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County has again flunked an air-quality test because of smog levels, but progress is being made, according to the American Lung Association.

In a “State of the Air 2013” report released Tuesday, the association gave Berks an F for smog, even after nearly halving the 23 days with unhealthy smog levels that earned it an F in last year’s report.

The 2013 report is a compilation of air monitoring data collected between 2009 and 2011, exempting 2012 because work on the report began before the year’s end.  It shows that during that period, Berks had a dozen days with smog levels that were unhealthy for sensitive populations, including those with asthma or cardiovascular disease.

“So that’s practically cutting that in half, which is excellent,” said Kevin M. Stewart, director of environmental health for the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic.  “At the same time, it’s kind of like, ‘Mom, I got a better F.’  It’s not the kind of news you want to bring home, but it is progress.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=471818

Pennsylvania Near Top In U.S. In Air Pollution

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montour County

Image via Wikipedia

Pennsylvania is second only to Texas in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and refineries, and two of the state’s top 10 polluters are facilities owned by PPL Corp. of Allentown, new federal data show.

Nationwide, the electric industry is responsible for the bulk of U.S. pollution blamed for global warming, according to the data, which were released Wednesday in the government’s first public catalog of individual polluters.  Power plants accounted for 72 percent of the greenhouse gases reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 2010.

Specifically, the main culprit is coal, which is as cheap as it is dirty.  Twenty mostly coal-fired power plants in 15 states were among the worst polluters.

Among the biggest offenders in Pennsylvania were PPL’s Brunner Island plant in York County and its Montour plant in Montour County.  Together, they spewed the equivalent of 18.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-allentown-greenhouse-gasses-20120112,0,6222628.story