Pruitt EPA Should Deny New Utility Move to Weaken Federal Coal Ash Rule

Like last month’s stay on the water discharge rule, a potential stay on the Coal Ash Rule extends unconscionable risk for the people who live near coal ash pits, which can rupture or leak toxics into drinking water, while pandering to corporate utilities that have gotten away with dangerous waste handling for decades.

Pruitt EPA’s Water Pollution Delay Extends Uncertainty for Southeast Coal Plants

Since 1982, little has changed about the toxic pollution coal-fired power plants are allowed to dump in water, although change was on its way. Unfortunately, if EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has his way, our waterways and our health will remain threatened by our nation’s leading source of toxic water pollution – coal fired power plants. We will have to keep on waiting for modern, updated protections and coal plant operators face continued uncertainty over their compliance obligations – uncertainty that may actually accelerate coal’s decline. In early May, Environmental groups challenged the legality Administrator Pruitt’s stay.

In the Southeast, many power plants’ operators were already preparing to meet new 2015 standards, which would go into effect in 2018, updating pollution control technology at their plants and working with state agencies to update state water discharge permits. The 2015 Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs), which represents the first update to these regulations since 1982, nearly eliminates dumping of ash-contaminated wastewater, and for the first time, limits the discharge of toxic heavy metals that come from removing toxics from the air pollution stream and trapping them in sludge as part of the wastewater stream.

New Executive Order Threatens US Progress on Climate Action

Given his appointment of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – a man with a long history of challenging health-based environmental regulations in court – President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order, released today, is not unexpected.

Cloaked in a patriotic narrative, President Trump’s executive order does more to threaten our nation’s energy independence than support it. Renewable energy has a critical role to play in strengthening our country’s energy independence, yet this executive order is aimed at weakening our ability to incorporate more clean energy resources into our national energy portfolio.

It also doubles down on the false claim that the coal industry can be saved by dialing back public health regulations. In truth, coal is being beaten in the free market by cheaper natural gas and cheap renewable energy.

Today’s executive order – coupled with the President’s recently proposed large budget cuts to the EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) clean energy, smart grid and storage technology research programs – makes it clear that this Administration is not serious about protecting our health, our climate or our national security.

First Government-Owned Plant “Off the Island:” Florida’s Coal Plant Reality Show Heats Up

Who will be voted off the island next? Florida’s dwindling cast of coal plant survivors just lost two stalwart characters, government-owned St. Johns River Power Park Units 1 and 2. While this definitely refutes the new administration’s hopes for a coal revival, we are optimistic that JEA is the first of several Florida government agencies to finally give up on wasteful coal plants.

How Solar Could Help Replace Coal in Central Florida

Lakeland, FL leaders now acknowledge that retiring the McIntosh 3 coal-fired power generator is a question of when, not if. Lakeland Electric, which operates the 364MW plant and co-owns it with Orlando Utilities Commission, is poised to lead Florida utilities away from coal and toward cleaner energy choices, but thus far is hesitating. Solar energy, combined with gas or with cutting edge batteries, could shift the balance for this forward-thinking utility.

Alabama PSC limits public words on energy mix… draw them a picture instead

As in years past, the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) severely limited discussion of Alabama Power’s choices about its mix of energy sources at the one and only opportunity for public discussion it holds each year. Now you can show and tell the people who make decisions about our energy future what sources of energy you would like to see with a new online tool. PicMyEnergyMix Alabama will send a picture of the energy mix you want straight to the Alabama PSC.

“Dirty Dozen” 2016 presents yet another strike against coal-fired Plant Hammond

A new report, released on November 16, explains the concerning weaknesses of Georgia’s water pollution permits. When these permits are inevitably strengthened to limit mercury, arsenic, lead, and other toxic discharges from Georgia Power’s power plants, it will make even less economic sense to run Plant Hammond – and Georgia’s water will be safer. The [...]

Public window into Florida utility planning opens, shuts

While Floridians await a Public Service Commission (PSC) ruling later this year on a 24% rate hike for Florida Power & Light, the Commission is also considering another matter: acceptance of Ten Year Site Plans from the largest state utilities. The Ten Year Site Plan is a summary of Florida’s largest power companies’ resource plans for the next ten years. This year’s Site Plans rely on continuing to run old coal plants and building more natural gas fired power.

Coal’s Decline and New Possibilities

With Peabody Energy’s bankruptcy, it’s important to remind ourselves why coal’s decline and our transition to renewable energy is so important for our health and environment and also to start the conversation about what happens next.

Guest Post: Peabody Coal’s Unprecedented Support for Climate Denial

Guest Blog: Researchers recently confirmed that Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, has been funding dozens of climate denial groups, including the “Dr. Evil” mastermind behind a number of vicious, over-the-top attacks against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Power Plan. The latest revelations from Peabody’s bankruptcy court documents show the unprecedented extent to which big polluters like Peabody went to subvert climate action.