Hearing on New Vogtle Nuclear Reactors Provides New Information on Mounting Risks and Costs

Below is a Georgia Utility Update first published on July 1, 2015 by Robert “Bobby” B. Baker, Jr. with Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP who serves as SACE’s legal counsel in the ongoing semi-annual Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) review before the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC). Mr. Baker served three terms as a Georgia PSC [...]

Supreme Court Mercury Decision Not a Real Game Changer

In a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States sent the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury Air Toxics Standard (MATS) rule back to a lower court for review. Justice Scalia wrote the majority opinion, which hinged on an interpretation of administrative law requirements and did not overturn EPA’s ability to regulate hazardous air pollutants from power plants.

While the Court did not overturn EPA’s analysis and conclusion that public health benefits of the MATS rule vastly outweigh the costs to the coal and oil industry, it did find that EPA should have first considered whether it was appropriate to regulate power plants under the Clean Air Act’s hazardous air pollution safeguards.

Study Proves Fossil Fuels Way Worse for Land Use than Renewables

A new, peer-reviewed article published in the scientific journal SCIENCE estimates that 3 million hectares of land (that’s 11,583 square miles, or 30,000 square kilometers) have been lost due to oil and gas well pads, storage tanks and associated roads developed in North America since the year 2000. Rangeland and cropland through the heartland have been particularly [...]

Google Announces New Data Center – Inside A Coal Plant!

Recently, Google announced its plans to open its 14th data center – this new one in Northern Alabama. The internet giant will be building the data center inside the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA’s) Widows Creek coal plant, which is set to retire . Google will begin construction in 2016 and is working with TVA to ensure that the data center is powered by renewable energy resources. The data center will take advantage of the existing transmission lines at the plant to bring in renewable energy.

TVA Advisory Board Meeting Gives Preview of Final 2015 IRP

Today, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Regional Energy Resource Council (RERC) ended two days of meetings in which they were given a preview of the recommendations in TVA’s forthcoming 2015 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). SACE staff have played an integral part in both the 2011 and 2015 IRP planning process, serving on each of the various [...]

First Legal Challenge to the Clean Power Plan Dismissed

Today, the DC Circuit dismissed the first legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The lawsuit, filed by the coal industry and several coal dependent states, claimed that EPA lacked the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. Ultimately, the DC Circuit found the legal challenge premature, given that EPA has yet to release the final version of the Clean Power Plan – which is expected to arrive in August.

Uniontown, AL: Community with civil rights legacy demanding justice

Uniontown, Alabama is located in Perry County, a part of the South with a vibrant civil rights history. Not only was Perry County the home of both civil rights martyr Jimmie Lee Jackson and Coretta Scott King, but local residents also report the town had some of the most peaceful race relations in Alabama during [...]

3 Ways to clean up the Asheville coal retirement

SACE staffers Toni Nelson and John D. Wilson contributed to this blog post. It’s always good news for public health when a utility announces a coal-fired power plant retirement, as Duke Energy did for its Asheville plant last week on May 19. Unfortunately, Duke did not fully heed the demands of local activists – including the [...]

As California Goes (with oil spills), So Goes the Nation?

Although desirable when speaking about solar energy deployment, or adoption of smart meters, the maxim “As California Goes, So Goes the Nation” is not the aspiration when it comes to offshore oil drilling and its inevitable spills and economic and ecological impacts. On Wednesday a state of emergency was declared in California as an oil [...]

Duke dealt largest federal criminal fine in NC history for coal ash crimes

On May 14, 2015, Duke Energy pled guilty to 9 criminal misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act. The charges stemmed from a widened investigation, after the Dan River disaster, that found violations at Duke-owned facilities in Buncombe, Chatham, Wayne and Gaston Counties in North Carolina. Duke negotiated a plea bargain that included $68 million [...]