Government proposes first carbon limits on power plants

I wonder if Southern Company was the company singing the praises of the new EPA regulations.  Southern Company through Mississippi Power’s new demonstration lignite coal plant in Kemper County, Mississippi will be voluntarily participating in the proposed EPA CO2 regulations and plays an pro-active roll in helping the EPA gain the numbers needed to implement the new regulations.

 

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON | Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:19pm EDT

(Reuters) – The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday the first rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new U.S. power plants, a move hotly contested by Republicans and industry in an election year.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal would effectively stop the building of most new coal-fired plants in an industry that is moving rapidly to more natural gas. But the rules will not regulate existing power plants, the source of one third of U.S. emissions, and will not apply to any plants that start construction over the next 12 months.

The watering down of the proposal led some ardent environmentalists to criticize its loopholes, but a power company that has taken steps to cut emissions praised the rules.

While the proposal does not dictate which fuels a plant can burn, it requires any new coal plants to use costly technology to capture and store the emissions underground. Any new coal-fired plants would have to halve carbon dioxide emissions to match those of gas plants.

“We’re putting in place a standard that relies on the use of clean, American made technology to tackle a challenge that we can’t leave to our kids and grandkids,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters in a teleconference.

Jackson could not say whether the standards, which will go through a public comment period, would be finalized before the November 6 election. If they are not, they could be more easily overturned if Obama lost.

Republicans say a slew of EPA clean air measures will drive up power costs but have had little success in trying to stop them in Congress. Industries have turned to the courts to slow down the EPA’s program.

Some Democrats from energy-intensive states also complained. “The overreaching that EPA continues to do is going to create a tremendous burden and hardship on the families and people of America,” said Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.

REGULATORY CERTAINTY

The EPA’s overall clean-air efforts have divided the power industry between companies that have moved toward cleaner energy, such as Exelon and NextEra, and those that generate most of their power from coal, such as Southern Co and American Electric Power.

Ralph Izzo, the chairman and CEO of PSEG, a utility that has invested in cleaner burning energy, said the rules provide a logical framework to confront the emissions. The rules provide the industry with “much needed regulatory certainty,” that is needed to help guide future multi-billion dollar investments in the U.S. power grid, he added.

Under the new standards, coal plants could add equipment to capture and bury underground for permanent storage their carbon emissions. The rules give utilities time to get those systems running, by requiring they average the emissions cuts over 30 years. Still, the coal-burning industry says that carbon capture and storage, known as CCS, is not yet commercially available.

Jackson said the EPA believes the technology will be ready soon. “Every model that we’ve seen shows that technology as it develops will become commercially available certainly within the next 10 years”.

The National Mining Association said the rules can only hurt industry. “This proposal is the latest convoy in EPA’s regulatory train wreck that is rolling across America, crushing jobs and arresting our economic recovery at every stop

The portion of U.S. electricity fired by coal has slipped from about 50 percent to 45 percent in the last few years as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other drilling techniques have allowed access to vast new U.S. natural gas supplies.

NO PLAN FOR EXISTING PLANTS

The EPA is the main tool President Barack Obama has left to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which he pledged at an international climate meeting to cut by about 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

But the agency’s moves are also met by challenges by industry in the courts and have been under withering criticism from Republicans, who have made environmental regulations a big campaign theme ahead of the November 6 elections.

Environmentalists are part of Obama’s base and the administration has tried to walk a tightrope with its “all of the above” energy strategy that includes tougher energy regulations and support for renewable energy, while also supporting drilling for oil and gas.

Greens who were stung by Obama’s decision last September to delay a major smog rule, mostly cheered the EPA on Tuesday.

“The bottom line for our country is that cleaner power will cut harmful carbon dioxide pollution, protect our children and help secure a safe prosperous future,” said Vickie Patton, the general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund.

But others bemoaned a concession to industry that left existing plants without limits. The EPA’s Jackson said the agency has no current plans to issue rules on those plants, which backers of climate action say are essential to tackle climate change.

Obama “should stand by EPA Administrator Jackson and her team as they push corporate polluters to reduce the CO2 spewing from smokestacks today,” said Kyle Ash of Greenpeace.

An industry analyst said the proposal gives power companies a break as the rules would not regulate the existing plants subject to other EPA rules on mercury and other emissions. “We think this is very reassuring news to an industry on the cusp of investing billions to meet,” those other limits, said Christine Tezak, an energy policy analyst at R.W. Baird & Co.

“Moving forward, it will be important for EPA to address carbon emissions for existing power plants as well,” said Kevin Kennedy, the U.S. climate director at the research group World Resources Institute. “Existing plants represent a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

Original post Here

EPA Lawsuits Question Basis, Procedures Behind EPA’s “Endangerment Finding”

EPA’s Global Warming Juggernaut Challenged in Court

Lawsuits Question Basis, Procedures Behind EPA’s “Endangerment Finding
February 27, 2012

Washington, D.C., February 27, 2012 – EPA’s economically ruinous plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions are being challenged in federal court this week by a broad array of states and private parties, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Science and Environmental Policy Project, and FreedomWorks.  A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday in a set of cases challenging EPA’s decision to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.  The court will also review a series of major EPA regulations based on that decision.

The petitioners argue that EPA acted arbitrarily and illegally in a number of respects:  it ignored the severe shortcomings of climate models; it illegally adopted the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and it refused to reopen its proceedings in the wake of Climategate.  The agency also ignored the fact that its incredibly costly regulations will have no detectable impact on global temperature.  Despite their extraordinary economic impacts, their much-ballyhooed benefits will in fact amount to zero.

“The fact that the court is devoting two days to hearing these cases demonstrates the importance of these legal questions.  But from a political standpoint, there’s even more at stake,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis.   “In 2010, after two decades of global warming advocacy, Congress declined to give EPA explicit authority to regulate greenhouse gases when Senate leaders pulled the plug on cap-and-trade legislation.  EPA’s insistence on going forward with its command-and-control agenda despite this defies both history and logic.”

Last year, EPA’s own Inspector General found that the agency based its 2009 “Endangerment Finding” (that emissions from greenhouse gases endanger the public health and welfare) on a flawed and inadequate assessment of climate science, and that EPA’s peer review methodology did not meet OMB requirements for highly influential scientific assessments.  (See EPA IG Report)

HERE for More

Cap and Trade by Stealth: U.S. States Partner With Foreign Governments

By Alex Newman   The New American

While Americans were battling cap-and-trade legislation at the national and international levels, global-warming alarmists were quietly building regional systems between state and local governments, private industry, and even foreign governments that basically achieve the same effect — higher energy prices for consumers and more money for governments.

The first and most prominent of these U.S. cap-and-trade systems is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). It was created not by the people through their legislatures, but by a so-called “Memorandum of Understanding” between state governors.

Consisting so far of 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — the scheme is described on the RGGI website as “the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Its board of directors consists primarily of each participating state’s top environmental bureaucrats.

The “Initiative” works by having each state cap its carbon dioxide emissions at a certain level, then auctioning off emissions permits to the highest bidder. Eventually, the CO2 limits will be reduced, causing increased energy prices as companies pass along the added costs to consumers. By 2018, the RGGI plans to reduce energy-sector emissions by 10 percent.

Thus far, the scheme has netted close to a billion dollars by selling “carbon credits” to utility companies and other firms in participating states, earning about $50 million through an auction held on December 1. The first auction was actually held in 2008, and there have been nine since then. Spoils from the emissions permits are then handed out by state governments to companies, environmental groups, and others.

Incredibly, the RGGI has managed to avoid public scrutiny of its operations by incorporating as a non-profit organization and leaving enforcement and regulation to the individual states. The corporation claims it does not have to respond to public requests for information since, technically, it is not actually a government entity.

But the corruption is already coming out in the open. “New Hampshire conservationists had high hopes for how $18 million in funding generated by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) might advance energy efficiency projects,” wrote columnist Fergus Cullen in the New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this year. “Unfortunately, cronyism and corporate welfare hallmark too many grants awarded by the Public Utilities Commission so far.”

Cullen’s piece details, among other things, the outrageous handouts to “environmental” front groups and big businesses that helped push the scheme through. For example, an activist group in New Hampshire called “Clean Air Cool Planet” was incorporated by out-of-state bigwigs to promote global-warming alarmism — including Al Gore’s discredited “documentary,” An Inconvenient Truth.

“Having helped create this pot of money, Clean Air was one of the first in line with its hand out so it can do more alarmist advocacy, paid for with public resources awarded by friends,” Cullen explains. The group has already received almost half of a million dollars. Another example cited by the columnist: “Yogurt on a mission” producer Stonyfield Farm, with $300 million in yearly sales, received nearly $150,000 to upgrade its air-conditioning system.

Money was basically shoveled out, “creating opportunities for the well-connected and the in-the-know” while “millions of dollars have gone out the window, wasted like heat leaking out of an uncaulked pane,” Cullen concludes.

But RGGI boss Jonathan Schrage — who after intense public pressure recently disclosed his salary of almost $170,000 per year — thinks the scheme is great. “I look forward to building RGGI Inc. into a dependable administrative ally of each state’s RGGI program,” Schrag said in a press release when he was appointed executive director. “The states have done tremendous work to develop the first CO2 cap-and-trade system in the U.S.”

Not everyone thinks so, though. And in an e-mail to supporters, the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise warned of even bigger problems to come. “RGGI is the prototype for more regional cap & tax entities,” wrote the organization’s executive vice president Ron Arnold. “Soon RGGI will expand to every state and stick you with astronomical energy prices.”

Arnold blamed the “corruptocrats in Washington” for the “gigantic waste of tax dollars,” adding that the “crooks behind RGGI must be exposed” and held accountable. He also said that, despite RGGI claims that it is “making a significant impact to combat the threat of global warming,” the data proves otherwise.

“The only impact RGGI has made so far is they have raised energy prices and created a slush fund for each member state,” Arnold explained. And according to his letter, “the fact that global warming isn’t even real” won’t prevent the “climate change scam” from spreading to other states. And he’s right — it’s already happening.

An even bigger and more ambitious effort that includes Canadian provinces — and even Mexican states — as “observers” is set to go into effect in 2012. Known as the Western Climate Initiative, the scheme is described on its official website as “a collaboration of independent jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.”

Among the participating “jurisdictions”: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and four Canadian provinces. So-called observers, “jurisdictions” that are likely to join soon, include six Mexican states, an additional six U.S. states, and another three Canadian provinces. The Western Climate Initiative, like the RGGI, was also created by an agreement between state governors — not legislatures.

A similar scheme for the American Midwest, under the banner of the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, is also set to enter into force in 2012. The agreement encompasses Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — for now. Three other U.S. states and one additional Canadian province are listed on the scheme’s website as “observers.”

One unifying factor between all the regional partnerships is the emphasis on promoting expansion and eventual federal — and even international — involvement. And in Cancun at the global warming summit, state and local-government leaders made it clear that they would continue marching forward with the anti-carbon dioxide schemes at the global level — no matter what the outcome of United Nations climate talks currently underway in Cancun.

“We are proving that while a global agreement is important, we do not need to wait for it to start building the path to a new low carbon future,” explained Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the co-chair of the States & Regions Alliance, during a summit at the COP16. “As our national counterparts meet here in Cancun to continue the negotiations, states and regions are continuing to show the leadership necessary to make practical headway on climate action.”

And this is all part of the broader global plan. The so-called “States and Regions Alliance” represented by Premier Charest — some 60 state and regional governments accounting for about 15 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product — is part of a shadowy but powerful international non-profit known as “The Climate Group.”

The organization works with the United Nations Development Program, the World Economic Forum, the Administrative Center for China’s Agenda 21, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other high-profile institutions, agencies and governments to advance the global climate agenda. And it promotes the implementation of global-warming schemes through “sub-national” levels of government — among other things.

“States, regions and cities are where the rubber hits the road in terms of practical action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote States and Regions Alliance co-chair and Quebec Premier Charest, along with his fellow co-chair, South Australia Premier Mike Rann.

“The UN Development Program estimates that 50 per cent to 80 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to keep climate change below 2C will need to be delivered at state, regional and city levels,” the co-chairs noted in their joint column for The Australian entitled ‘Think globally, act locally? States already are.’ “This is because regional governments often control regulation for many of the key areas for addressing climate change, such as power generation, the built environment, waste management, transport and land use planning.”

CEO of The Climate Group Steve Howard offered a similar analysis. “A clean industrial revolution is not only possible, but it is well underway in the world’s leading states, cities and regions,” he told COP16 attendees at the “Climate Leaders Summit” in Cancun Wednesday. “The subnational governments in our Alliance are not waiting for a global agreement but are forging agreements of their own to lead a growing global market for low-carbon goods and services already estimated at $4.7 trillion.”

Despite the U.S. Senate’s rejection of cap-and-trade legislation, the carbon-tax agenda is still being implemented in America and around the world. Using the Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama administration is moving forward on regulating emissions of carbon dioxide at the federal level. And through alliances and agreements between states and even foreign governments — unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution — those same forces are building a powerful and expensive carbon regime that could eventually encompass every state in the Union, and beyond.

For original text http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/5466-cap-and-trade-by-stealth-us-states-partner-with-foreign-governments

United Nations Environmental Program Bureaucrat Lays Out Green Economy Agenda

This is not our original thought or idea, nor is it one man’s opinion. The United Nation‘s Sustainable Development plans also named Agenda 21 by the U.N.,  is based on false science and will cost us everything especially our freedom.  PLEASE begin to learn for yourself.  Until you have determined your own opinion and done your own research you will not understand what we as Americans are up against.

Southern Company with Mississippi Power united with a foreign government agency United Nations following the Kyoto Protocols that will bring hardship to American families.

agency (United Nations) to destroy the economy of this nation.


United Nations Environmental Program Bureaucrat Lays Out Green Economy Agenda

United Nations Environmental Program Bureaucrat Lays Out Green Economy Agenda

February 6,2012

Achim Steiner, the U.N. bureaucrat who heads up the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) lays out his green economy plan — and touts government “stimulus programs” to create “green jobs.” At least 100 nations are pushing for expanded powers for the UNEP to control the world’s economies.

History of Mississippi Power Southern Company Lignite Plant

It is enlightening to look back at the process, thoughts, and players in the early plans of Kemper County Lignite Coal Plant.

Worth the risk?

Some Kemper County residents have health and environmental concerns over proposed mine

By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer

Just outside Barbara Correro’s rural Kemper County home is an organic garden, where you can see various species of waterfowl and farm animals that provide sustenance for herself, her family and her friends.

But Correro and her daughter, Nancy, fear their organic way of life may be disrupted if a coal plant is constructed within 12 miles of their homes.

“More than anything, their argument with us is that this is a clean gasification plant,” Nancy said. “But to cut through it all, there is still going to be a 180-foot-deep hole cut down and then they are going to swath out the land. Where are the animals going to go? Where are you going to go fishing?”

The proposed coal gasification plant would be constructed in the Liberty community in Kemper County. The plant would be built 6 or 7 miles north of the Lauderdale County line, between Highway 493 and Highway 495, and south of Old Jackson Road.

Why a mine?

Tommy Pinkerton, an engineer for Mississippi Power and project manager for the proposed plant, said the company will know in early 2008 if it is feasible to build the plant in Kemper County. If it is, construction will begin in the spring of 2010, and would be up and running by 2013.

The plant would turn lignite into a gas for use as a fuel. Lignite, or “brown coal,” is young coal used almost exclusively for electric power generation. It is brownish-black in color and has a high moisture and ash content. It tends to disintegrate when exposed to the weather.

The initial investment in the plant is estimated to be about $1.8 billion, with an annual investment of $200 million to $300 million each year for operation and maintenance of the facility. Mississippi Power Co. received more than $133 million in tax credits from the U.S. Department of Energy for the project as part of the National Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The plant is expected to create about 260 permanent jobs.

Health concerns

Some question whether the much-needed jobs in East Mississippi are worth what some environmental groups believe the plant would do to the environment and the natural heritage of Kemper County.

Kemper County resident Karen Wink’s group, the Coalition for a Greener Mississippi, says the jobs aren’t worth the health risks associated with a coal plant or worth interrupting Mother Nature.

“There is no possibility in the fact that it is a health issue,” Wink said. “Everybody has heard of Black Lung, that’s a respiratory disease from coal dust and it’s not just miners that are affected by this. The rates of asthma in Virginia and Kentucky and the coal mining areas among the population of children in the area are very high. When they pull the coal out, particulate matter gets into the air and it hangs in the air, and when there is more moisture in the air, particulate matter goes up, and obviously, Mississippi is extremely humid.”

But Pinkerton said those health issues are nonexistent with this plant because the lignite is wet when it is pulled out of the ground and no dust particles are present.

“You won’t see any coal dust in a lignite mine,” Pinkerton said. “There are no explosives used and there will be no run off, no slurry pits, nothing going into the streams and no trucks on the highway.”

Differing views

Anthony Topazi, president and chief executive officer of Mississippi Power, said at a December press conference at the Meridian Regional Airport that the technology for the gasification plant was created in Mississippi by the Southern Company, which owns Mississippi Power. He said plans call for the site to be the home of the most advanced, clean coal power plant in the world.

He said instead of burning the coal like is done in a traditional power plant, the coal is heated in the absence of oxygen. The process creates a synthetic gas that is then burned to make power.

But John Wathen, who heads up an environmental watch-dog group, Friends of Hurricane Creek, said the power companies and its cohorts are well-paid to convince people that the plant will not damage the environment.

Wathen said the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 mandates that coal companies reclaim mined land after they are finished extracting the coal. But Wathen doesn’t believe that will happen.

“There is no way you can strip mine without disturbing the environment,” Wathen said. “Once this is done, they are going to have to bring it back to the way it was — that is impossible.”

Wathen’s group, Friends of Hurricane Creek, based in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is part of the Waterkeeper Alliance. His job is to monitor the Hurricane Creek Watershed for pollution. He said in all his experience with mines, he has never seen them turn out to the common citizen’s advantage.

“It is disemboweling the earth, no matter what name you give it,” Wathen said.

Members of another local conservation group, the East Mississippi Foothills Land Trust, which oversees the Chunky Okatibbee Watershed Project, have said they aren’t concerned about the proposed plant.

Melissa Pringle of Eco Systems said last week that the strip mine will follow Department of Environmental Quality guidelines.

But Wathen said he has seen over and over again water pollution caused by coal companies such as high levels of mercury. It is the coal companies, he said, that cause the water to be laden with mercury, which makes eating some fish unsafe for pregnant women because it can harm their unborn child.

A lease on the land

Michael Thomas, manager of land, government and public affairs for the North American Coal Corp., said the Red Hills Mine in Ackerman has not caused any health issues in the area. He said the mine is similar to the proposed plant in Kemper County and is heavily regulated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which is controlled by the U.S. Department of Labor’s office in Birmingham, Ala.

And while he admitted that the mine will temporarily destroy the surface of the land, the law requires them to reclaim it, which they will do to the land-owners specifications if possible.

Thomas said North American Coal Corp. signs a 25-year lease with property owners for the use of their land. He said if the land owner agrees to lease their property to the coal company, the company notifies them within 180 days of the time they will start mining the land.

“At that time, they can take any crops they may have on the land and sell them,” Thomas said. “But they have to vacate the property.”

He said the company then pays the land owner for the land and any property or improvements they have made to it. He said the coal company pays the landowners royalties for the amount of lignite that would be taken from their land, and when they are done, they reclaim the land and turn it back over to the land owner.

He said for the most part, Kemper County residents have been cooperative. He said they are not required to sign leases with the coal company and if they do not, the company will have to work around them. He said the area in question is around 12,000 acres and about 200 to 300 property owners are involved.

But Wink believes the promise of money and jobs is confusing the real issue, that the mine will forever change the landscape of Kemper County. She said there are other renewable energy sources that Mississippi Power Co. could invest in, such as wind and solar power that could provide much-needed energy while not harming the environment.

But Pinkerton said wind and solar power aren’t feasible in Mississippi because it’s too cloudy and not windy.

Wathen said that’s “hogwash,” however.

“When the sun is not out, the wind is blowing because a storm is coming,” he said. “But as long as the country is run by extractionists, we will never see the advancement of renewable energy sources. You can only extract so much until there is no more, but the sun shines or the wind blows every day.”

TYPES OF MINES

Here’s a look at the different types of surface mines used to extract coal from the ground. The proposed lignite mine in Kemper County would use surface mining — a type of mining in which soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit is removed.

Surface mining is the opposite of

underground mining, in which the overlying rock is left in place and the mineral is removed through shafts and tunnels.

i Strip mining — the practice of mining a seam of mineral by first removing a long strip of overlying soil and rock. It is most commonly used to mine coal or tar sand. Strip mining is only practical when the ore body to be

excavated is relatively near the surface. This type of mining uses some of the largest machines on earth, including bucket-wheel excavators which can move as much as 12,000 cubic feet of earth per hour.

i Open-pit mining — a method of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow. Although open-pit mining is sometimes referred to as strip mining, the two methods are different.

i Mountaintop removal — a relatively new form of coal mining that involves the mass restructuring of earth in order to reach the coal seam as deep as 1,000 feet below the surface. It is used where a coal seam outcrops all the way around a mountain top. All the rock and soil above the coal seam are removed and the spoil is placed in adjacent lows such as hollows or ravines.

i Dredging — a method often used to bring up water and mineral deposits, it can also recover significant amounts of underwater

minerals relatively efficiently and cheaply.

Additional Information

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

THE COAL TRUTH

© H. DAVID SEAWELL/CORBIS

28

A West Virginia coal-fired powerplant releasing steam and smokeinto the atmosphere.

Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

The alarm clock rings even before the sun crests the horizon. You

rub your eyes, flip on the lights, maybe start the coffee pot or turn on the

radio or TV, power up the computer… Your day begins with a surge of energy

consumption that will typically last through the day, only to subside somewhat when the television set is finally switched off in the evening, lights are

dimmed and the house settles down for the night.

But just where is all this electricity coming from?

And is it really just as easy as the flip of a switch?

The Coal Truth

PEOPLE, WATER, ENERGY AND APPALACHIA

By Cindy Rank, West Virginia Headwaters Waterkeeper

Contributors: Beverly Braverman, Tracy Carluccio, Scott Edwards, Vivian Stockman, Terri Taylor, John Wathen and David Whiteside.

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

29

THE COAL TRUTH

Dirty Power, Dangerous Air

The United States consumes more energy

than any other country in the world.

Electric utility plants dot our landscape

creating power from a myriad of sources —

nuclear, hydro, wind and fossil fuels — yet fifty

percent of our electricity comes from a source

that mankind has been using for over 1,600

years — coal. Today, the United States is home to

almost 1,100 coal-fired utility units, with much

of our coal being torn from the ground in eastern

coal-producing states of Appalachia. And there

are plans to add hundreds more coal-fired power

plants in the coming years. Why? Because coal is

cheap – or at least that’s what we’re told by

industry and by our government. But how

“cheap” is it really? Are we being told the whole

story about the true cost of coal? What goes on

behind King Coal’s black curtain?

Appalachian residents bear the brunt of the health Coal must be mined, transported, washed,

impacts from our reliance on coal transported again, stored, burned and converted

to the electricity that flows through transmis-

The nation is facing a health crisis from coal-fired power plant pollution. EPA has used sion lines and into our homes. Each step of the

research from the American Cancer Society, Harvard School of Public Health and other process is rife with hidden economic and social

research institutions to predict how many premature deaths are caused in the U.S. each year costs, shady backroom politics and harmful

by coal-fired power plant pollution. Clear The Air used this data to develop this map and a impacts on human and environmental health.

power plant pollution locator (available at http://www.cleartheair.org/dirtypower/) that It is a myth that recent technological advances

allows you to get the facts about your state. have somehow solved all the problems associated with the use of coal to power our world.

Energy companies have cast an illusion that the bad days of dangerous mining and dirty burning are over: that strong laws are in place

and law abiding King Coal is strictly following the law. Nothing could

be farther from the truth.

The truth is, there is nothing “cheap” or “clean” about coal. The

cost of burning coal for electricity is far beyond what Americans outside of the coalfields ever consider or imagine. It is not reflected in

this month’s utility bill, but in devastated lives and communities,

forests and streams across Appalachia. It is a price we all pay in poisoned waterways and lost cultural and natural heritage.

Extraction

Mining has always been a dangerous mess. In the 1980’s machines

and mining practices developed in the wide-open space, and 100foot thick coal seams of Wyoming were brought east to the steep

hills of the Appalachian Mountains. These practices are unaccept-

Picking Up

Steam able anywhere, but in Appalachia they proved downright apocalyptic. Longwall mining replaced traditional underground mining

while mountaintop removal mining took the place of strip mining.

In the U.S., more than 90 percent of the coal produced is used to Each of these practices is far more massive in scale, requires fewer

generate electricity. And despite its ancient origins and toxic legacy, miners and chews up much more earth; these new technologies for

coal is the fastest growing source of energy. Worldwide coal extracting coal have raised the level of destruction to new heights.

consumption has increased 25 percent over last four years.

Coal-fired power plants produce 52% of our nation’s electricity.

Pollution from power plants cuts short the lives of nearly 24,000

Americans nationwide every year.

Coalfields of Appalachia

30

Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

TERRI TAYLOR

Longwall Underground Mining

Most coal today is mined underground, and much of

that comes from longwall mining operations where

huge (1,500 feet or wider) toothed machines tear into the

ground, chewing out all the coal in one to two mile under-

Longwall panels are lined upseparated by un-mined “gates”

where the surface remains

supported. Subsidence averagesthree to five feet. Each panel is up to1,500 feet wide and two miles long.

ground swaths, called panels. The cut coal falls onto a conveyor for removal to the surface.

In traditional deep mining, pillars of coal were left to

support the earth, leaving the surface relatively unaffected. Longwall mines, in contrast, remove virtually all the

coal in the seam. Armadillo-like steel plates support the

earth while machine operators shear away the coal. The

machine excavates all the coal and moves forward

through the seam, allowing the earth to drop into the void

left behind. Removing six feet of coal leaves the surface

unsupported. The ground sinks, leaving in its wake broken homes and poisoned wells, sucking water out of

springs and farm ponds, drying up streams. Industry calls

this “planned subsidence.” Affected communities know it

as total destruction.

TERRI TAYLOR TERRI TAYLOR TERRI TAYLOR TERRI TAYLOR BILL SCHIFF

TERRI TAYLOR

The Thomas B. Kent, Jr. Farm is a 102-acre Pennsylvania farm with an 1850 brick and stone farmhouselisted on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was undercut by longwall mining in the1990s. 540,000 tons of coal was removed from under the farm’s property, generating millions of dollarsof revenue for the coal company, but leaving the home, creek and streams destroyed.

The coal company shored up the house before the longwall operation passed underneath. However,

subsidence left the foundation cracked and destroyed the spring-fed pond, leaving no source of potablewater for drinking or farming.

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

31

THE COAL TRUTH

MARK HERSH/RAYMOND PROFFITT FND.

The mining companies excuse the

devastation by arguing that it’s best to

get the subsidence over quickly, rather

than wait for the mines to cave slowly

over the next 50 years or so. People living with the aftermath will tell you the

shifting, cracking and settling permanently impacts homes, waterways and

the lives of those who live over these

operations. Although precautions are

taken to protect homes, i.e. by boarding

up walls, taping windows, digging wide

moats around the foundations to lessen

the impact of the shifting and heaving

earth as it settles into its new repose,

foundations crack and windows break.

Homeowners have no control as coal

companies control the rights to coal

under their property.

As the underground riches are stripped

away, property values plummet and residents are left to pick up the pieces.

Subsidence turns narrow, quick-running streamsinto sediment-clogged pools, suffocating aquaticlife and changing groundwater-fed streams intostormwater ditches.

Under hundreds of square miles of

Pennsylvania’s Greene and Washington

Counties, longwall mining leaves the Earth’s

surface unsupported. Longwall mining dam-

ages entire watersheds, depriving the land

and its occupants of springs, streams, ponds

and wells, creating an environmental disaster

of local and national importance.

This 15-minute documentary portrays the

experience of two families as they struggle to

cope with extensive longwall subsidence

damage to their historic homesteads.

Written and directed by Emmy Award

winning journalist Terri Taylor. Produced by

the Raymond Proffitt Foundation. Funding

provided by The Heinz Endowments.

Info & screening copies: Ten Mile Protection

Network, info@tmpn.org, 724-267-4633

A revealing documentary exposing the impacts and

legacy of longwall mining.

SUBSIDED GROUND… FALLEN FUTURES

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Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

Mountaintop Removal Mining

A massive dragline, dwarfed by the hugescale of the operation, at work on amountaintop removal operation nearKayford Mountain, WV.

VIVIAN STOCKMAN THANKS TO SOUTHWINGS

Where strip mining involves clearing

away the layer of earth above a seam to

access coal deposits, mountaintop removal is

strip mining on steroids. It means complete

deconstruction of once ecologically diverse

and verdant mountains, the suffocation of biologically rich headwater streams and the displacement of generations-old communities.

In central Appalachia, hills are steep and

valleys narrow. Coal seams are layered

throughout these mountains much like the

frosting in a multi-tiered layer cake, proving

often difficult to deep mine. Until the mid1980’s miners used traditional deep mining to

remove the thicker seams of coal that honeycombed the steep mountains and traditional

surface mining to expose and remove the

outer edges of the thinner seams close to the

surface around the sides of the mountains.

Technological advances have hit

Appalachia like a sledgehammer. Today, huge

Politics

Over Public Interest

The 2005 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on mountaintop removal mining –

a legally required government study begun in 1998 in response to litigation by local citizens –

is a prime example of politics over public interest. The purpose of the study was to explore

ways to limit the impact of mountaintop removal mining. But while the government

included extensive scientific research documenting damage of this practice to communities

and the environment, and in the face of 80,000 public comments against this practice, the

Bush administration used the study to endorse mountaintop removal, and recommend

streamlining the permitting process.

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

33

THE COAL TRUTH

VIVIAN STOCKMAN

mining machines tear away at mountaintops, first blasting apart the

uppermost layers of rock, pushing it into valley streams below to

expose a seam of coal and then bulldozing the coal into huge trucks to

be transported to preparation plants.

The process is repeated over and over again until at last the entire

mountain (often 600 – 1,000 feet) has been dismantled, all the coal

removed (often 6 to 15 different seams), and the leftover millions of

tons of rock and debris that now fill the stream valleys are “sculpted”

into short flat or sloped hills.

Over 800 square miles of the most productive and diverse temperate hardwood forests no longer exist. Twelve hundred miles of streams

have been buried or otherwise impacted by these operations.

Groundwater – perched aquifers that once fed mountain springs and

replenished streams in dry times – have been eliminated, ancient

mountaintops replaced with rubble and rock that has been put

through the giant mix-master of modern day mining, spit out and

bulldozed into sterile, manmade moonscapes.

Mountaintop removal mining has already turned hundreds of

thousands of acres of Appalachia’s mountains into a barren wasteland. Lives are destroyed as families are uprooted and forced to move,

communities disappear and a chain

of generations living from the land is

broken. No one can question that

moving mountains has a certain godlike quality about it. But these

arguably amazing engineering feats

have consequences of unbelievable

Valley fills are created when waste rock is dumped from the mining area intonearby stream valley – sometimes over two miles long. This is a picture of asmall valley fill in its early stages. The pond at the toe of the fill is meant toprevent sediment from entering the rest of the stream. Fills underconstruction often contribute to downstream flooding when rains rush offthe denuded mining area above overwhelming the ponds and causing themto break or overflow.

proportion.

The Definition of Fill

In 2001, King Coal found itself faced with a federal district court

VIVIAN STOCKMAN

ruling that would have shut down mountaintop mining operations

all across West Virginia as a violation of the Clean Water Act. King

Coal’s response was to immediately cash in some of its political

markers and get its cronies in the Bush Administration to change

how EPA and Army Corps of Engineers define a single word in

the Act, the word “fill.” Changing the definition of fill effectively

insulated the industry from any further Clean Water Act attacks and

negated the court’s decision, allowing the coal industry to continue

burying Appalachian streams and valleys with mine waste and

rubble without interruption.

Now, Washington’s eagerness to kowtow to the coal industry is

having far-reaching implications in other areas of the country where

industry wants to use our waterways as unpermitted waste disposal

sites. In Alaska, gold mining companies are taking advantage of this

bureaucratic, regulatory change to dump waste from gold

mines into nearby lakes. Only time will tell how many other

industries will jump on the regulatory bandwagon and fill our

nation’s waterways with their toxic mess.

Poisoned water discharged belowa coal sludge impoundment.

Stream Buffer Zone Rule

Under the 1977 Surface Mining Control and

Reclamation Act, the Buffer Zone Rule prohibits

mining within 100 feet of intermittent or

perennial streams. Insisting the rule was never

meant to prevent the dumping of millions of

tons of waste rock from mining operations into

headwater streams, the Federal Office of Surface

Mining has proposed a regulatory change to

“clarify” the rule. A 1998 federal district court

ruling upheld the clear meaning of the rule, but

was returned to the state courts on

jurisdictional ground by the Fourth Circuit Court

of Appeals. The Office of Surface Mining is

currently conducting an environmental review

of the proposed change. Permitting continues

for the burying of hundreds more miles of

ecologically rich streams.

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Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

COURTESY COALFIELD SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT AND SOUTHWINGS

Coldwater Creek

VIVIAN STOCKMAN

One picture says it all…

Marsh Fork Elementary School in Raleigh County, WV, (green patch and white building visible

in the foreground, left) sits across Little Coal River from Massey Energy’s Goals Coal

Processing plant (blue building) and their Shumate Coal Sludge Impoundment – a slurry

dam permitted for 2.8 billion gallons of coal sludge (center). The 385-feet-high earthen dam

sits about 400 yards from the school. A coal silo sits within 150 feet of the school. The towns

of Pettry Bottom and Naoma, WV, are also visible in the photo. A 1,849-acre strip mine is also

Sludge Spill

On October 11, 2000, 300 million gallons of

visible above the impoundment – blasting from this new mine imperils the dam and

communities below.

coal sludge broke through a coal slurry

impoundment at Kentucky’s largest

mountaintop removal site. (The Exxon

Massey Energy

Massey and other coal companies spend

millions each election cycle to shape the

political debate in West Virginia. Blankenship

personally spent $3.5 million during the state

Supreme Court campaign, propelling political

novice Brent Benjamin onto the bench. This

month, Massey agreed to pay $2.5 million to

settle – without admitting any wrongdoing –

a shareholder lawsuit alleging that under

Blankenship’s leadership Massey had become,

“a recidivist environmental violator as a

result of the knowing and willful conduct of

its Board of Directors.”

Author Cindy Rank, West Virginia HeadwatersWaterkeeper, and Don Blankenship, head ofMassey Energy Company (the region’s largest coalproducer) debate in 2004.

Valdez spill was “only” 11 million gallons.)

The black goo poured into Coldwater and

Wolf Creeks and traveled 100 miles

reaching the Ohio River, closing down

community water supplies and devastating

aquatic life. The impoundment contained

two billion gallons of sludge and sits atop

abandoned underground mines. Regulatory

agencies had rated the “pond” a moderate

risk for failure. This photo was taken 15 days

after the Oct. 11, 2000 spill, downstream

from the areas most affected by the spill.

Illegal roadblocks, staffed probably by coal

company employees, kept the public from

getting close to the worst areas. There are

hundreds of similar sludge “ponds” across

Appalachia, at mountaintop removal and

other coal mining sites.

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

35

THE COAL TRUTH

AP PHOTO/JEFF GENTNER

Moving, Washing,

Preparing and Moving

TERRI TAYLOR

Coal preparation plant operations.

Once coal is mined, it must be transported to preparation plants, washed and then moved

again to power plants. At several points along the way coal is stockpiled in huge

amounts. Runoff from coal piles contaminates groundwater – the primary drinking water

source throughout rural America. Coal particulates fill the air, impacting surrounding communities and waterways. These particulates, called coal “fines,” can be

found contaminating the air, waterways and communities everywhere that coal is transported and stored.

At the prep-plant, usually near the mine, coal is mixed with water

and chemicals, “sluiced and juiced,” to remove impurities that complicate the burning process. The refuse from the coal washing is a toxic,

liquid slurry of chemicals and coal waste that is then pumped to a slurry impoundment – a former valley that is now filled with billions (yes

“b”) of gallons of toxic sludge behind a manmade dam. These

impoundments are often located above communities. Many are at

high risk of failing because they can be undermined by underlying

abandoned, or even active, underground mines.

While coal companies are required by law to treat water that flows

out of the impoundment into streams and rivers, these slurry

impoundments can overflow in heavy rains or when dams fail.

These slurry impoundments remain a permanent threat to downstream communities.

Once washed, the coal is loaded back onto trucks, trains and barges for

transport to the power plant, again, spreading toxic coal fines to communities and waterways far beyond the coalfields.

Coal is loaded into a truck from a Brooks Run Mining Co. mine Friday, Nov. 18,2005 near Erbacon, WV.

YOUGHIOGHENY RIVERKEEPER

Coal trucks, typically weighing over 12,000 pounds, create a hazard on theroads of coal country, costing state taxpayers money to repair the highwaysand bridges. For those who share the narrow, winding country roads withthese behemoths, sometimes the price is much higher.

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Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

Burning

Coal Fly Ash Basin Blows Out:

Miller Steam Plant on Locust Fork of the

Black Warrior River, AL, one of 1,100 coal-

fired power plants in the U.S.

After coal has been mined,

transported, washed and

delivered to utility units, it is

burned to create electricity.

Unfortunately, because it’s cheaper and easier to build power

plants near the source of the coal,

the very same populations that

pay the highest price of mining

are also disproportionately

impacted by the burning of coal.

Nevertheless, the effects of

burning coal reach far beyond the

coalfields. Towering power plant

smokestacks churn out massive

amounts of mercury, greenhouse

gases and more smog-causing

nitrogen oxide emissions than all

of the nation’s cars, vans, and

SUVs combined. By some estimates, these pollutants cause

almost 30,000 deaths each year,

extending the risks of coal min-

NELSON BROOKE, BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER

1000 Million Gallons Spill

Into Delaware River

On August 23, 2005, a leak began

in Pennsylvania Power and Light’s

(PPL) coal fly ash storage basin at

their Martins Creek power plant.

By the next day, the leak turned

into a flood over the roads and

fields adjacent to the basin, then

an eruption of coal fly ash slurry

ing far beyond the coalfields. Add to those impacts acid rain, mercury contamination and climate change from carbon dioxide emissions.

New “clean coal” technologies that remove some of the toxics

now being spewed into the air may sound noble, but even these fail

to address the significant problems associated with mining and the

disposing of coal waste and ash. Much of the heavy metal laden ash

and waste is stored in landfills or in slurry impoundments that can

leak or fail.

Coalbed methane well pads and the dirt roads

that connect them dominate ridgetops in the

Village Creek basin, AL.

Coalbed Methane

Coalbed methane extraction is closely associated with coal

mining, and also very destructive. Coalbed methane is a gas that

is given off by coal seams deep in the ground. The seam is

fractured, or fracked,” and pumped full of highly-pressurized

water, allowing gas from throughout the seam to flow to the

that lasted for several days. In the

end, at least 100 million gallons (company estimate) of coal fly ash

effluent gushed into the Oughoughton Creek and the Delaware River.

Easton, about 10 miles downstream, had to shut down its water

intakes for several days; the river was dark gray with a slick of light

gray for more than a week. Known components of the fly ash

include arsenic, mercury, lead, silica, crystalline silica, barium,

chromium and other heavy metals. The toxin-laden slurry paved the

river bottom, smothering aquatic life for several miles downstream;

as far as 40 miles south the gray sludge was visible in between rocks

NELSON BROOKE, BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER, FLIGHT PROVIDED BY SOUTHWINGS WWW.SOUTHWINGS.ORG

in the river.

The blow out, the slow and mishap-riddled cleanup, and poor

decision making by the company and state officials has resulted in

prolonging the pollution event, causing pollution from the coal fly

ash to spread, and making a very bad situation much worse.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network will continue to advocate for the

surface, where it is captured and can be piped into homes for

permanent shut down of the coal fired units and the removal of the

heat, cooking and industrial uses. Some coal companies claim

open impoundments, which represent outdated technology and are

degasification in underground mines increases mine safety.

not environmentally protective.

However, according to the United Mining Workers of America,

there are more explosions in degasified mines than mines that

do not use this process.

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

37

THE COAL TRUTH

Acid Mine Drainage:

where you scratch the earth, it bleeds

Even after the coal is removed

from the earth, completed

mining operations often remain

an ecological threat. Toxic mine

drainage from abandoned deep

and surface mines plagues

groundwater and streams

throughout Appalachia.

A poisonous brew is created

when pyrite-containing rock is dug

or bulldozed out of its eons-old rest

deep within the earth and exposed

to the air and rain. A chemical reaction with water forms a rust-like

substance that washes into

streams and groundwater. The

water has a low pH (meaning it’s

sour like vinegar or lemon juice)

and contains metals such as iron,

manganese and aluminum.

In deep mining, toxic mine

drainage is formed when the coal

itself is full of pyrite. As mined

out voids fill with toxic water

laced with metals, pressure builds

and eventually pushes the toxic

brew out of hillsides in seeps, and

through fissures in the earth, into

our groundwater and waterways.

In strip mining, toxic mine

drainage results from pyritic rock

STEPHEN SIMPSON

Noxious mine

discharge alongRt. 837 runninginto the

MonongahelaRiver near New

Eagle, PA.

around and above coal seams being exposed to water. When that rock

is blasted apart and bulldozed back into place as “backfill,” drainage

through the disturbed material releases toxic chemicals and metals.

Acidic and metal-laden water can also pool up into toxic underground lakes in interconnected deep mine workings. While the mines

are active, the mining company is required to pump and treat the discharge. In theory, the oxygen supply is cut off in abandoned mines,

stopping the production of acid. In practice however, mines continue

to produce acid drainage long after they are abandoned. The

“Pittsburgh Pool” alone encompasses over one million acres of metal-

laden groundwater that stretches from the Monongahela River to the

Ohio River in Northern West Virginia. Toxic water from this underground lake seeps out into streams and wells. The absence of any legally “responsible parties” have the academics, government and industry

personnel madly searching for the money and technical know-how to

deal with the problem.

Acid mine drainage is a gift that keeps on giving, killing fish and

other aquatic life, poisoning the soil and creating expensive treatment

problems downstream. Thousands of miles of streams are rendered

unusable. Untold numbers of individual well users, public water supplies and wildlife are harmed. Long-term treatment costs are necessary but astronomical.

The Abandoned Mine Lands

Challenge of 2006

June 30, 2006 will be an important date for our nation’s coalfield

communities. That is when the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Program

must be re-authorized, and hopefully strengthened, by Congress. AML

was created to collect fees from coal companies to reclaim lands, rivers

and streams damaged by mines abandoned by the coal industry.

The AML program was supposed to have completed the cleanup

job and come to an end in 2004, but decades of Congressional raids

on the fund to cover other spending programs have left it

inadequately funded. The federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM)

reported that 3.6 million people lived within a mile of a Priority 1 or

2 site – those that pose the greatest health and safety threats.

But it isn’t just coalfield communities suffering from this

pollution – the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay are

being badly damaged by polluted waste coming from abandoned

mines in Pennsylvania, and there is no hope for cleaning up the

Chesapeake Bay until abandoned mine contamination in

Pennsylvania is stopped.

—Louise C. Dunlap

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Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

Where Coal Reigns King

“King Coal” refers to the coal companies, their associations

and the politicians who throw open the public trust, clearing the way for their worst mining practices. One might think that

our government would work diligently to minimize impacts and

safeguard our communities. Unfortunately, when it comes to protecting the public from the harmful effects of the mining and

burning of coal, Congress and this Administration have chosen to

turn a blind eye.

Mine Reclamation Projects

In 1977, Congress set up the Abandoned Mine Land Fund to raise the

funds needed to clean up mines that were abandoned prior to the

1977 passage of the Surface Mine Act. Active mining companies are

required to pay into the fund at the rate of 35 cents per ton of surface-mined coal and 15 cents per ton of underground-mined coal.

Congress ordered the money to be used to correct problems created

by mining done prior to 1977, especially to fix dangerous or emergency situations, replace water supplies and repair and reclaim

abandoned mine sites. Congress estimated in 1977 that repairs

could be accomplished in 15 years.

Now, nearly 30 years later, many hundreds of sites remain unreclaimed. Money in the fund has been used for highly questionable

projects, and reauthorization of the fund to require continued payment from companies actively mining and making profits is a politically charged battle.

In West Virginia alone, more than $375 million has been spent out

of the fund over the last 20 years to re-grade scarred land, stabilize

dangerous slides, fix hazardous mine waste and otherwise clean up

abandoned mine sites. But, measured by estimated cleanup costs, the

federal government estimates that less than one-quarter of the

state’s inventoried abandoned mine problems have been reclaimed.

Since the program began, coal operators have paid more than $7

billion into the fund. But as the West Virginia Charleston Gazette

outlined in a series of articles last year, more than $1.3 billion of

money from the fund has been diverted to low-priority cleanups or

other non-essential projects.

Reclamation At Its Finest

This shot from the Hurricane Creek,

AL, watershed shows two separatereclamation attempts with a slurrypit in the middle. The upper side ofthe picture was strip mined andreclaimed by Tuscaloosa Resourceswithin the past 5 years. They werecareful to leave a narrow band of

trees along highway 216 to block theview of the site from the road.

The lower side of the photo is theDrummond Coal mine and

reclamation site from the 1970’s.

Drummond received an award for

reclamation from the federal

government for their excellent workat this site. So what’s the result 30

years after the reclamation effort? Afew scrubby pine trees andcontinued poison runoff.

unof

The pit in the middle was bondedfor reclamation by Drummond thensold to Jim Walters Resources who

continues to use the pit today. UnderDrummond’s 1970’s permit, theywere supposed to close and reclaim

wer

the pit. This is another case of a so-

called minor permit revisionallowing coal companies to ignoreregulatory requirements and put offcleaning up their mess.

JOHN WATHEN

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

39

The Warrior Coal Basin

THE COAL TRUTH

NELSON BROOKE, BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER

Birmingport is a barge loading facility onthe banks of the Locust Fork of the Black

Warrior River. This port is Birmingham’sgateway to Mobile Bay, providing for thetransport of coal, asphalt, chemicals,

wood chips, and steel. Flight provided bySouthWings http://www.southwings.org

David Whiteside, Interim Executive Director

Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Coal is plentiful in the Black Warrior River watershed, which, combined with Alabama’s ranking as dead last in the United States in

environmental protection, adds up to tremendous water pollution.

Coal was first discovered here in the 19th century. “Stonecoal” was

mined by driving crowbars into river ledges while divers recovered

falling minerals from the water. Expert navigators guided riverboats

through the narrow passages of the free-flowing Black Warrior to haul

the coal to market. The tales of these river captains became local legends.

Today the Black Warrior, straightened and dammed by the Corps of

Engineers for easy navigation, is a silent giant in Alabama’s economy,

serving as a major shipping route for coal, cotton, steel, wood chips

and other products, and connecting

Birmingham with Mobile Bay and The Drummond Company’s

the Gulf of Mexico. Shoal Creek Mine currently

In the 1980s, Alabama coal had a crosses underneath the main

market value of $22 a ton. Today, stem of the river west of

the market value is well over $100 a Birmingham. Miners there

ton. As a result, Alabama is experi-pump 40 million gallons of

encing a resurgence in coal mining. now toxic water out of the

New mines are being permitted mine each day, sending water

throughout the Black Warrior loaded with heavy metals and

watershed on almost a monthly acid cascading down a bluff

basis. But King Coal has already back into the river.

picked clean the richest and most

accessible coal seams. Now, to remain profitable, these operations

must dig deeper, and flaunt environmental laws and worker safety, to

harvest coal that was previously unprofitable to mine. Black Warrior

Riverkeeper is reviewing dozens of mining permits, monitoring mines

by air and pursing Clean Water Act violators.

Tugboat “Alabama” motors its way down the Black Warrior River with six fully loaded barges of coal.

NELSON BROOKE, BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER

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Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

The true cost of coal is measured

in human lives

HURRICANE CREEKKEEPER

John Wathen

Hurricane Creekkeeper

On September 23, 2001, a

blast ripped through Jim

The JWR #5

mine in

Tuscaloosa

County, AL.

Eighteen men have been

killed in this mine

between 2000 and 2004: 13

in one blast in 2001. The

large building in the

center is the vertical shaft

into the mine where the

coal comes out and men go

in. This mine is the deepest

vertical mineshaft in the

U.S. The green roofed

buildings to the left of the

massive coal pile is the

church and graveyard

where the JWR 13 widows

and families waited while

the search went on for

their men after JWR

prevented them from

entering the property.

materials and coal dust” in the

coal dust.

Walter Resources (JWR) Blue

Creek mine #5 killing 13 of

Brookwood’s fathers, brothers,

and sons. Federal regulators

had conducted several inspections and written 31 violations,

including 12 for “combustible

HURRICANE CREEKKEEPER

HURRICANE CREEKKEEPER

The church grounds have to becleaned constantly to remove

months leading up to the blast.

JWR had been ordered to correct

these problems prior to the

time of the blast. Each of these

violations was a serious threat

to safety. But JWR is used to

ignoring safety violations, and minor slaps on the wrist from regulators.

This fall, five years after the blast, the courts lowered the fine that Jim Walter Resources

must pay to $3,000 from $435,000. That comes to $298.70 per man. Judge Barbour and the

federal Mine Safety and Health Administration sent a clear message to Jim Walter Resources

that it is okay to kill our neighbors if the profit is right.

Coal is not cheap in Alabama. And it costs a lot more than dollars and cents. It costs lives,

habitat and quality of life for everyone, except maybe those who thrive on our loss.

To say that 13 miners are not worth more than pocket change for King Coal is an atrocity.

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

41

THE COAL TRUTH

Environmental Regulation

As they apply to coal, the multitude of environmental laws passed in the 1970’s were

meant to strike a reasonable balance between producing coal and protecting human

health and the environment. These laws were meant to create a safety net of minimum standards below which industry could not go. With these standards fully enforced, the total cost

to mining and energy industries for maintaining these standards would be reflected in the

market price of energy. The desire for and pursuit of a coal-based energy would then be

determined by the true cost of coal and we, as consumers, would pay the cost of acceptable,

even sustainable, mining and burning practices.

With the passage of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Surface Mining Control and

Reclamation Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and other laws in the 1970’s,

things got better, at least for a while. The blatant abuses of rip-and-run mining eased and the

public outcry decreased. Congress and the country were somewhat comforted.

However, as people were lulled into complacency, industry was busy refining its image.

High power public relations efforts were changing the startling image of Appalachian coalfields from devastated lands, downtrodden miners and impoverished communities to green

rolling reclaimed hills. While the façade got prettier and the words were fine-tuned, industry

Mercury

Hypocrisy

Last fall, Waterkeeper magazine focused on the impacts of mercury

emissions from the nation’s 1,100 coal-fired power plants, including

EPA’s estimate that 630,000 children are born each year in the U.S.

with unsafe levels of mercury in their blood from their mother’s

consumption of mercury contaminated fish.

One of the Bush Administration’s favorite arguments against

effectively controlling power plant mercury emissions is that much

of the mercury in our waterways comes from sources outside the

U.S. (nearly 1,500 tons of mercury are released globally each year.)

EPA claims that U.S. emissions account for only three percent of the

manmade sources worldwide, and that Asia emits 860 tons, while

North America accounts for only 105 tons per year.

But a closer examination of the issue speaks volumes about how

disingenuous this Administration truly is when it comes to stopping

mercury pollution. Last February, mercury was on the table for

discussion when the United Nations Environment Programme

(UNEP) met for its 23rd Governing Council in Nairobi, Kenya. During

committee meetings, the European Union called for a legally

binding agreement that would force global reductions in mercury

emissions. Asian countries were largely on board. But U.S.

representatives opposed any mandatory reduction standards,

instead calling for a voluntary partnership program – in other

words, an unenforceable agreement that would not burden their

industry friends back home. So while the EPA is quick to deflect

blame to other parts of the world, the U.S. government will not

embrace international regulation of mercury emissions.

As a result of U.S. opposition, internationally binding reductions

on mercury emissions failed. The U.S. response? If you don’t want to

fix it, throw money at it and hope it will go away. Instead of

endorsing any meaningful mercury reduction agreement, Bush

officials pledged $1 million to the UNEP mercury program. So much

for international leadership.

devised new mining practices and employed new technologies far

more destructive than anyone dreamed possible when the legislation

of the 1970’s were enacted.

At the same time the roots of coal’s political influence grew longer

and stronger. Coal companies leaped into political campaign financing, and otherwise influenced the tenor, tone and texture of regulations. With control of the political process King Coal orchestrated

decreases in funding for enforcement agencies and shifted primacy

and power away from the federal government to the coalfield states,

where industry has even more direct control and influence.

With its now deep seated political influence, new “improved” technologies and the illusion of “cheap” energy, King Coal went to work on

the environmental laws, twisting regulations to their wishes and discouraging enforcement. In one of the more egregious policy-making

decisions coming out of the EPA in recent years, the Agency changed

the definition of “fill” under the Clean Water Act to allow mining companies to dump tons of mining debris into valley streams without

being in violation of the Act. The federal Office of Surface Mining has

proposed a change to the Buffer Zone Rule that would legalize the filling of hundreds more miles of valuable headwater streams. And just

last year, EPA enacted a rule that allows coal-fired plants to continue to

spew tons of mercury into our air and waterways for decades to come.

Who’s running West Virginia?

February 24, 2005 West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III

(2nd from left) discusses details of his legislative agenda

during a briefing with members of the state Legislature in

the House Chamber, State Capitol, (that’s Bill Raney from

the WV Coal Association on the far right.)

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Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

0

Two legislative bodies in Congress, the

Senate Committee on Energy and

Natural Resources and the House

Committee on Resources, have

jurisdiction over mining, energy policy,

public lands and mineral leasing. But

who are these Senators and Congress

members really working for?

The League of Conservation Voters

publishes a National Environmental

Scorecard, an impartial evaluation of

each Congressional members’

commitment to environmental issues

such as public health and safety,

natural resource conservation and

spending on environmental

programs. Experienced

conservationists from nineteen

environmental organizations use key

legislation to grade Congress

members. Depending on their voting

record on these issues, Senators and

Representatives receive a grade from

0, the worst, to 100, the best.

Waterkeeper has identified the

Resource Committee members who

have received a zero on the Scorecardin 2003 or 2004. There are others

with abysmally low scores – but

these are the true zeros. These are

King Coal’s champions in Congress,

letting the people of the coalfields

and our nation down.

Marilyn Musgrave,

Colorado

These are Waterkeeper’s BIG FAT ZEROSDon Young, Alaska

JD Hayworth, Arizona Richard Pombo, California

George Radanovich,

California

Elton Gallegly, California Tom Tancredo, Colorado

Barbara Cubin, Wyoming

Jim Gibbons, Nevada Steve Pearce, New Mexico

Henry E. Brown, South

Carolina

Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Conrad Burns, Montana George Allen, Virginia Craig Thomas, Wyoming

Pete Domenici, New Mexico

Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

Jim Bunning, Kentucky

Jim Talent, Missouri

SENATE

COMMITTEE

ON ENERGY

AND

NATURAL

RESOURCES

Christopher Cannon, Utah John J. Duncan, Tennessee

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

43

THE COAL TRUTH

VIVIAN STOCKMAN

VIVIAN STOCKMAN

Image Refinery

Though the years the coal industry has worked hard to “clean up” it’s image. The greening of

coal continues to this day with roadside billboards throughout coal country, General

Electric’s “eco-imagination” campaign of buff coal miners and dancing rainforest creatures

and Massey Coal Company’s “total environment” campaign that asserts that it is King Coal,

not loudmouthed environmentalists, who are looking out for the people of Appalachia.

John Amos coal-fired powerplant in Nitro, WV.

44

Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

Every basket is power and

civilization. For coal is a

portable climate…and coal

carries coal, by rail and by

boat, to make Canada as

warm as Calcutta.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Wa

Forward

PAUL WIEGMAN

Emerson, considered by many people to be the founding father of

the conservation movement with his 1836 treatise on nature,

wrote these words in praise of coal almost 150 years ago. With the

dramatic impact that the burning of coal and other fossil fuels is

having on our planet’s climate, how ironically prophetic his statements have proven to be.

The gathering and burning of coal as an energy source has been

documented as far back as 400 A.D. in Roman-controlled Britain.

Now, many centuries later, when the combustion engine has displaced horse-drawn chariots and missiles have supplanted swords,

coal still remains a primary source of energy. At what cost do we

desperately hold onto this antiquated supply of power? In order to

facilitate the continuing use of coal, the Bush Administration has

rewritten environmental laws to allow mining companies to dump

their wastes into valley streams and other waterways and implemented regulations that allow utility companies to avoid any meaningful reduction of mercury emissions from power plants. Under the

guise of free trade, “cheap” Appalachian coal is shipped across the

border to use in Ontario power plants whose very emissions blow

back across this same border to poison our Northeastern states.

We are long past asking ourselves the pivotal question: is the true

cost of coal truly worth it’s cost?

The answer is painfully obvious.

It is time to replace coal with better, cleaner, more efficient

sources of energy. Coal is as obsolete as the antediluvian life forms

that make up its substance – it’s time to move on. Instead of making

excuses for the continued use of coal, this country’s leadership must

take affirmative steps to phase out our dependency on this destructive energy source.

Give all stakeholders a place at the table when formulating energy policies. Our current energy policy came out of Vice-President Dick

Cheney’s energy task force — made up entirely of industry representatives who donated millions of dollars to his election campaign.

When profit-driven energy interests dictate the energy policies of this

nation we’ve gone way beyond letting the fox guard the henhouse.

Our government needs to promote energy conservation instead

of subsidizing increased expenditures to further coal use. In 1998

the Environmental Protection Agency noted in a report to Congress

that coal-fired power plants account for 48 tons per year of mercury

being emitted into our air and waterways. Our government’s

response? To permit the building of even more coal-fired power

plants and gut Clean Air Act requirements that would mandate

strict control of mercury emissions from these very facilities. It is

time to take conservation seriously.

The fact is, coal could not be mined in the destructive manner

that it is and burned with wanton disregard for human and environmental health if we simply enforce the laws of the United

States as intended. Instead, with the help of a more than willing

Bush Administration, the mining industry has turned to undermining the very basic principles of our bedrock environmental statutes

like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Compliance with

these laws and regard for our environment and public health would

help insure that the cost of coal is truly reflective of the devastation

it’s use entails.

Aggressively pursue alternate, renewable and clean sources of

energy. The coal industry is determined to keep the country reliant

on coal until Appalachia has been leveled, every last coal seam has

been mined and every last coal chunk has been burned. Why? So

they can squeeze every last drop of profits from an infrastructure

that has been paid for by the American people many times over. As

long as these same interests script the nation’s energy policies, there

will never be any real push for alternate sources of energy.

WK

http://www.waterkeeper.org Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006

45

46 Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 THE COAL TRUTH

BeautifulAppalachiaSTEPHEN SIMPON

CLIFTON McGILL

STEPHEN SIMPONCINDY BLALEY/GREENSPEAK

PAUL WEIGMANBARRY LAVERY

STEPHEN SIMPSON

VIVIAN STOCKMANVIVIAN STOCKMAN

STEPHEN SIMPSONBARRY LEVERY

STEPHEN SIMPSON

47Waterkeeper Magazine Winter 2006 http://www.waterkeeper.org

DONALD GIBBON

VIVIAN STOCKMAN

Southern Company Hides Electric Meter Dangers – Fires the whistle Blower and Hopes not to get Burned

Instead of investigating dangerous reported problems Southern Company COVERS IT UP!

“Smart meters should not be installed on any home, any

where, without a thorough safety investigation.

Manufactured agreed fail rate for the New digital smart meters 0.5%  Actual fail rate 9%!

Meters that Endanger: Shocking Details from a Whistleblower
by A O’Hair ( info [at] stopsmartmeters.org )
Friday Jan 20th, 2012 1:54 PM

Are smart meters just too complex? Are they veritable blackboxes(well, beige) of assorted electronic components, jury-rigged and thrown together in an off-shore factory, and then slapped onto houses without proper safety testing? Sure, we all have electronic devices in the home, but through this particular device passes all the electrical current for the house. That’s a set-up asking for trouble.

From the beginning, smart meters have had problems leading to fires and other electrical dangers. News stories have run all over the U.S. and around the world about installations leading to devastating damage. (Here’s a local SF Bay Area fire we’d like to see more fully investigated.)

A lawsuit made available to us recently detailed just how such faulty equipment could end up attached to the electrical wiring on millions of homes. In Alabama in 2009, a Sensus engineering employee named Don Baker was fired for repeatedly alerting his management to the presence of a multitude of dangerous defects in the smart meter they were manufacturing (model iConA). As he states in the complaint he filed, this whistleblower reported serious flaws in design and functioning that could lead to electrical danger, overheating, and/or fire. In fact, the failure rate of the meters was twenty times higher than it was supposed to be, and the engineer contends that at least two house fires were the result. Sensus meters are used by utilities across the U.S. and in Canada, such as PECO, Alliant Energy, Alabama Power, and NVE.

In May 2010, Mr. Baker filed a complaint [PDF]. The type of suit is called “qui tam”, where an individual alleges harm to his government. This complaint alleges that the manufacturer and the utility companies received federal monies but provided a defective product. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Alabama declined to pursue the case, because the utility said they had not received federal money for the metering project; but the allegations about the dangerous defects in the smart meters made in the complaint have not been refuted or even addressed.

In the complaint Baker relates in detail what makes the meters dangerous, and the allegations are damning—and alarming. A few highlights:

[Meters] may fail dangerously when subjected to a sudden surge of electricity …. Meters found to contain ‘flux’ or loose solder residue …. Calibration equipment not properly designed …. Electric resistor component defective …. Internal temperatures up to 200° Fahrenheit …. Hot socket alarm …. Drastic overheating to the point of catastrophic failure, melting, and burning….

Cutting corners in business and manufacturing is hardly something new; the difference here is just what is at stake: this product is installed in every house in a utility service area, and the electrical current for the house runs through it. Even a half-percent failure rate can result in serious amounts of property damage, or even death, given the total number of “customers”—though this word implies a voluntary acceptance of the product, when in fact installation of smart meters has been very largely involuntary. Truly optional consumer goods actually get more testing than smart meters.

The sort of defects and failures enumerated in this suit might well have been caught with an independent safety-certification process such as Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL). But these Sensus iConA smart meters, and every other type of smart meter, have never been subjected to such testing.

The suit states: “Mr. Baker has direct personal knowledge that Sensus and Southern Company [the utility] have installed approximately one million iConA meters in Alabama homes with knowledge that the meters are seriously defective and pose a substantial fire hazard and that at least two Alabama homes have burned as a result…. [They] were well aware that the iConA was defective and the entire project flawed.” [Emphasis ours.]

Baker submitted the information he had to the Office of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI in Feb 2010. He contends that the defendants named in the suit, Sensus, Southern Company, and Alabama Power, “perpetuated a fraudulent conspiracy” to obtain $165 million from federal stimulus funding.

These meters were never tested—for either for safety or performance—instead they went straight to out for installation. Then Sensus altered the components and design—again without safety testing. Only one percent of the Sensus meters were tested—for accuracy only—but never on a house while connected to the grid.

“It quickly became apparent that the meters were fundamentally unsound.” Baker states in the filing. “[The contract] carried an acceptable failure rate of 0.5%,” but in the first year, the meters were “failing at a rate of 9.0% per year.” Baker made reports to Sensus management about quality and safety issues, but he was ignored and eventually fired.

What was technically wrong with the smart meters that Sensus was producing? The suit alleges four categories of defects and failures: 1) Electrical Fast Transient Failures; 2) Flux Contamination and Inaccuracy Issues; 3) Faulty Components; and 4) “Hot Meters.” These technical issues are explained below.

The suit goes on to make three charges against the defendants: 1) False Claims; 2) Conspiracy; and 3) Suppression, Fraud, and Deceit. These legal issues are explained in more detail below.

Corporate recklessness—and lack of regulation to curb it—has remained a core issue in the smart meter debacle. From the Silver Springs Network antenna which increases the power of the radio over FCC limits (see page 14 of this CPUC doc), to arcing problems due to unprofessional installation, to multiple FCC violations, to the lack of any independent safety testingit is clear that if there had been effective government regulation, it could have changed the face of this “deployment” dramatically.

If you don’t like the idea of more government regulation, then how about consumer choice? If individual customers could choose between utilities, even choose their own meter—again, the landscape would also look very, very different.

But instead we are saddled with corporate utility monopolies, aided by government collusion, which adds up to a poisonous combination—whatever your political beliefs might be. It is an arrangement designed to enrich corporations, with impunity.

Why isn’t the public up in arms about these risks of smart-meter fires and explosions? There have no comprehensive investigations by major media. Early in 2011, a major news station in the SF Bay Area was doing work on this. They interviewed us several times as part of an investigation into smart-meter fires. What happened? The story never aired, and calls to the investigative reporters were not returned.

Without coverage in the mainstream media, people will be left to find out about this issue through social networks or independent media–or worse, suffer their own fire or property damage from the meter.

This is yet another reason why the proposed opt-out here in CA is—even with analogs—incomplete and inadequate. Given the growing evidence of fire risk and safety, this is not a device we should be forced to pay to avoid. Smart meters should not be installed on any home, any where, without a thorough safety investigation.

_____________________________________________________

Technical details from the lawsuit about Sensus meter defects:

1) Electrical Fast Transient Failures: The manufacturer and the utility were both aware, the suit alleges, that the smart meters (iConA) were unsafe and could fail dangerous when subjected to a power surge. [This was certainly evident for another make of smart meter, the one installed in Palo Alto last October.] One critical test was skipped for the Sensus meters, the Electrcial Fast Transient Test (EFT). When this test was performed on a sample of the iConA Sensus meters, they all failed. This was after over 80,000 meters were already installed.

2) Flux Contamination and Inaccuracy Issues. The complaint states that production of the iConA meters was sloppy. Sensus performed two investigations and found 130,000 meters contained loose solder residue called “flux.” They also found that equipment used by the manufacturer to calibrate was not properly designed, calling into question the accuracy of the meters. This was after 400,000 meters were installed—non of which were recalled for testing. Baker himself has investigated over-reporting meters, and found individual meters giving readings seven times the actual electrical usage.

3) Faulty Components. Baker alleges Sensus and the utilities had reason to suspect that some components that were going into the iConA meter were faulty, with very high failure rates. Well into the delivery process, it was found that an electrical resistor was defective on at least 85,000 meters. Over 170,000 meters were also found to contain another faulty component made by Epson.

4) “Hot Meters.” These Sensus meters, the complaint alleges, posed a risk of injury or death. Sensus knew that 19,000 installed meters were reporting a “hot socket alarm”—that is, the internal temperature was getting over 200°F. Sensus received reports of overheating to the point of melting and burning. The plaintiff Baker documented himself meters reduced to lumps of blackened plastic, while the company insisted a meter couldn’t melt at less than 500°F.

Ultimately it was bringing to the attention of his supervisors a burned meter that resulted in a house fire that ended Don Bakers career at Sensus. Instead of conducting an investigation, they fired him.

======

Legal details alleged in the complaint:

1) False Claims. The defendant in the suit, the plaintiff alleges, presented false or fraudulent claims to the U.S. government that their smart grid project was eligible for ARRA funds when it was not. The equipment was defective and unfit.

2) Conspiracy. The defendants acted with the intent to defraud the U.S. by submitting false records to obtain the funds.

3) Suppression, Fraud, and Deceit. The defendants misrepresented or suppressed the fact that the smart meter that formed the basis of their smart grid architecture was dangerously defective.

=======

Alabama house fires possibly resulting from defective smart meters:

Family Blames House Fire On Georgia Power Meter. http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2011/jul/06/appling-family-blames-house-fire-georgia-power-met-ar-2074493/ “Sparks started flying from the TV and power box.”

Atlanta house fire, due to power meter; double blow to Haitian family. http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/fire-deals-double-blow-to-haiti-family-in-atlanta/vCRzm/ “Faulty power meter sparked devastating house fire–twice.”

Alabama woman says smart meter is fire hazard. http://www.wset.com/Global/story.asp?S=13487932; The letter the city government wrote to Sensus [PDF].

Related Press: 2010 Article from Cleburne News (AL), which has since been scrubbed from their website: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/CleburneNews-smart-meters-Feb2010.pdf

2010 Article from Montgomery Advertiser (AL) which has been since scrubbed from their website: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Montgomery-AL-smart-meters-Feb2010.pdf “The meter was … replaced five days before their double-wide burned to the ground…”

2009 Article from Georgia new site, since removed: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Electrical-fires-Georgia-Feb2009.pdf “…Steady stream of complaints about the meters since the devices went into general use ….The firemen
told him they are keeping records and turning in their findings to the electric company.”

Article from Atlanta news site, since scrubbed from website: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Atlanta-fire-smart-meter-Jan2010.pdf “A power surge … After firefighters put out the blaze, they said it reignited again hours later.”

Southern Company hopes you get burned not them.

Trial Over Removal of Spent Nuclear Fuel SYSTEM FUELS, INC., SYSTEM ENERGY RESOURCES, AND SOUTH MISSISSIPPI ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION, V. UNITED STATES

SYSTEM FUELS INC. v. U.S.

SYSTEM FUELS, INC., SYSTEM ENERGY RESOURCES, AND SOUTH MISSISSIPPI ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED STATES, Defendant-Cross Appellant.

Nos. 2010-5116, 2010-5117

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.

Decided: January 19, 2012.

ALEX D. TOMASZCZUK, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP, of McLean, Virginia, argued for plaintiffs-appellants. With him on the brief were JAY E. SILBERG, of Washington, DC; and EVAN D. WESSER, of McLean, Virginia. Of counsel on the brief was L. JAGER SMITH, JR., Wise Carter Child & Caraway, P.A., of Jackson, Mississippi.
ALAN J. LO RE, Assistant Director, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, of Washington, DC, argued for defendant-cross appellant. With him on the brief were TONY WEST, Assistant Attorney General, JEANNE E. DAVIDSON, Director, HAROLD D. LESTER, JR., Assistant Director, SHARON A. SNYDER, Trial Attorney, MARIAN E. SULLIVAN and ANDREW P. AVERBACH, Senior Trial Counsel; and SCOTT R. DAMELIN, Trial Attorney. Of counsel on the brief was JANE K. TAYLOR, Attorney, Office of General Counsel, United States Department of Energy, of Washington, DC.
Before RADER, NEWMAN and DYK, Circuit Judges.
Opinion for the court filed by Chief Judge RADER. Opinion concurring-in-part, dissenting-in-part filed by Circuit Judge NEWMAN.

 

 RADER, Chief Judge.

On summary judgment, the United States Court of Federal Claims determined that the United States breached its contract with Plaintiffs-Appellants System Fuels, Inc., System Energy Resources, and South Mississippi Electric Power Association (collectively “Plaintiffs”) for the removal of spent nuclear fuel. Sys. Fuels, Inc. v. United States, 66 Fed. Cl. 722, 732-33 (2005) (“SFI I“). The trial court also granted summary judgment in favor of the Government regarding the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Id. at 735. The trial court set damages for the breach at $10,014,114 as well as the cost of borrowed funds for financing the construction of the dry fuel storage project. Sys. Fuels, Inc. v. United States, 78 Fed. Cl. 769, 809 (2007) (“SFI II“). On reconsideration, the trial court reduced damages to $9,735,634 and denied the cost of borrowed funds. Sys. Fuels, Inc. v. United States, 92 Fed. Cl. 101, 114 (2010) (“SFI III“). This court affirms the trial court’s denial of borrowing costs and reverses the denial of overhead costs. On damages, this court affirms the trial court’s award.

I.

In 1983, Congress enacted the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (“NWPA”), Pub. L. No. 97-425, 96 Stat. 2201 (codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 10101-10270 (2006)), to provide for the Government’s collection and disposal of spent nuclear fuel (“SNF“) and high-level radioactive waste (“HLW“). The NWPA authorized the Department of Energy (“DOE”) to contract with the owners of SNF and HLW for disposal. 42 U.S.C. § 10222(a)(1). In return for the payment of fees into the Nuclear Waste Fund, the Standard Contract provided that the DOE would begin to dispose of the SNF and HLW “not later than January 31, 1998.” 42 U.S.C. § 10222(a)(5)(B); 10 C.F.R. § 961.11 (2011). The Standard Contract provides that “[t]he Purchaser shall arrange for, and provide, all preparation, packaging, required inspections, and loading activities necessary for the transportation of SNF and/or HLW to the DOE facility.” 10 C.F.R. § 961.11 (Article IV.A.2). Because collection and disposal of SNF and HLW did not begin on January 31, 1998, this court held in Northern States Power Co. v. United States, 224 F.3d 1361, 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2000), and Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co. v. United States, 225 F.3d 1336, 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2000), that the DOE had breached the Standard Contract with the nuclear energy industry. This case examines another chapter in the lengthy search for remedies for breach of the Standard Contract.

On June 30, 1983, System Fuels, Inc. entered into the DOE’s Standard Contract on behalf of itself, System Energy Resources, and South Mississippi Power Association. SFI I, 66 Fed. Cl. at 725. System Energy Resources and South Mississippi Power Association own Grand Gulf Nuclear Station (“Grand Gulf”). System Fuels, Inc. served as the purchaser under the Standard Contract. Id. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a license to System Fuels, Inc. and South Mississippi Power Association to operate Unit 1 of Grand Gulf, whose SNF is stored in a “wet pool.” Id. In 2002, Plaintiffs began preparations to construct an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (“ISFSI”) capable of holding additional dry storage containers of SNF until DOE complied with its removal obligations. Plaintiffs anticipated that the “wet pool” would reach capacity in 2007. Id.; SFI II, 78 Fed. Cl. at 783. The record shows that System Energy Resources and South Mississippi Power Association have paid almost $148 million into the Nuclear Waste Fund in accordance with the terms of the applicable fee schedule of the Standard Contract. The Government has not begun performing its duties and responsibilities under the Standard Contract. SFI I, 66 Fed. Cl. at 725, 730. As of March 4, 2005, Plaintiffs alleged that they had spent approximately $4.75 million to construct the ISFSI. Id. at 732-33. After this court rendered its decision in Indiana Michigan Power Co. v. United States, 422 F.3d 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2005), Plaintiffs amended the complaint to allege that they had incurred $12,178,000 in costs to plan and construct the ISFSI at Grand Gulf to mitigate breach damages. SFI II, 78 Fed. Cl. at 771.

Every 18 months, the reactor at Grand Gulf shuts down to facilitate removal of fuel assemblies, which are then placed in two onsite storage facilities for 20 to 25 days during routine maintenance. Id. at 779. In an effort to explore their options for dry fuel storage, Plaintiffs sought guidance from an engineering services firm in the commercial nuclear industry. This firm recommended the “best short-term option for increasing spent fuel storage capacity at Grand Gulf was to recover cells currently inaccessible in the existing [onsite storage facilities].” Id. at 780. Plaintiffs also contracted with a dry cask storage system company and explored long-term options. Plaintiffs undertook construction of dry fuel storage because the core of the Grand Gulf reactor would reach capacity in 2007, and, by their estimates, the Government would not remove waste until 2022. Id. at 781. As a business practice, Plaintiffs maintain a full core reserve—a practice beyond current federal requirements. Id. at 782. Plaintiffs determined that they could maintain this business practice through 2005 and, with cell recovery efforts, accommodate the SNF and HLW discharges through 2007. Id. at 782-83.

In constructing the ISFSI, Plaintiffs created six categories of capital work operations: spent fuel studies, ISFSI design and construction, cask fabrication facility, dry fuel equipment storage building, ISFSI electrical and security systems, and auxiliary building door modification. Plaintiffs recorded and tracked costs associated with the dry fuel storage facility. Id. at 783. Plaintiffs sought damages for the capital work operations, totaling $10,591,000, and cost of capital to finance these operations, totaling $1,587,000. Id. at 783, 785.

The trial court held an eight-day trial on damages. Id. at 773 n.2. The trial court did not specify an acceptance rate of spent fuel but determined that Plaintiffs should be awarded over $10,014,114 in mitigation damages for their capital work operations. Id. at 794, 809. The award did not include the cost of borrowed funds because, even though the trial court determined that Plaintiffs were entitled to recover this amount, it needed clarification and sought additional expert testimony before making a final decision concerning mitigation damages. Id. at 809-10.

The trial court revisited its causation analysis after this court rendered the following decisions: Yankee Atomic Electric Co. v. United States, 536 F.3d 1268 (Fed. Cir. 2008); Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. United States, 536 F.3d 1282 (Fed. Cir. 2008); Sacramento Municipal Utility District v. United States, 293 Fed. Appx. 766 (Fed. Cir. 2008). SFI III, 92 Fed. Cl. at 102. The trial court held evidentiary hearings concerning causation and addressed the claim for the costs of borrowed funds. Id. at 103-05. The trial court reduced the amount of damages previously awarded to Plaintiffs for their “cell recovery efforts” and determined that England v. Contel Advanced Systems, Inc., 384 F.3d 1372, 1379 (Fed. Cir. 2004), barred the grant of an award for the cost of borrowed funds. 92 Fed. Cl. at 108, 111-12.

Plaintiffs appeal the trial court’s refusal to award the cost of borrowed funds and overhead costs as mitigation damages. The Government appeals on the ground that the trial court’s causation analysis did not include a comparison of breach and non-breach worlds under the Standard Contract. This court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(3).

II.

This court reviews the factual findings of the United States Court of Federal Claims for clear error, Ind. Mich., 422 F.3d at 1373, including “the general types of damages awarded . . ., their appropriateness . . ., and rates used to calculate them . . .,” Home Sav. of Am. v. United States, 399 F.3d 1341, 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2005). “A finding may be held clearly erroneous when . . . the appellate court is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” 422 F.3d at 1373 (quoting In re Mark Indus., 751 F.2d 1219, 1222-23 (Fed. Cir. 1984)). This court reviews the trial court’s legal conclusions without deference. Yankee Atomic, 536 F.3d at 1272. This court provides the trial court with wide discretion in determining an appropriate quantum of damages. Hi-Shear Tech. Corp. v. United States, 356 F.3d 1372, 1382 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

III.

Plaintiffs sought $1,587,000 as damages for the cost of borrowed funds to construct their dry fuel storage facility. SFI II, 78 Fed. Cl. at 785. The trial court stated that its authority to award interest on a claim of damages is governed by the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure Rules of Decision Act, which states that “interest on a claim against the United States shall be allowed in a judgment of the United States Court of Federal Claims only under a contract or Act of Congress expressly providing for payment thereof.” SFI III, 92 Fed. Cl. at 110 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2516(a)) (internal citations omitted).

As this court stated in England, “[t]he no-interest rule is an aspect of the basic rule of sovereign immunity.” 384 F.3d at 1379 (citing Library of Cong. v. Shaw, 478 U.S. 310, 315 (1986); Smith v. Principi, 281 F.3d 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2002)). This no-interest rule denies claims for interest and “interest costs incurred on money borrowed as a result of the government’s breach or delay in payment.” 384 F.3d at 1379 (citing J.D. Hedin Constr. Co. v. United States, 456 F.2d 1315, 1330 (Ct. Cl. 1972); Komatsu Mfg. Co. v. United States, 131 F.Supp. 949, 950 (Ct. Cl. 1955); Ramsey v. United States, 101 F.Supp. 353, 356-57 (Ct. Cl. 1951); Myerle v. United States, 33 Ct. Cl. 1, 25 (1897)).

Although expressing concerns about the policy and uniform application of England, the trial court ultimately applied the rule of that case and denied interest. In Energy Northwest v. United States, issued after the trial court’s judgment in the present case, this court addressed those concerns and reaffirmed England, distinguishing it from cases where the Government has been held liable for interest. 641 F.3d 1300, 1310-12 (Fed. Cir. 2011). England therefore controls this case. Because the trial court properly applied England, this court affirms the trial court’s denial of the cost of borrowed funds.

IV.

Plaintiffs incurred additional overhead costs when managing the six capital work operations. Plaintiffs maintained a separate accounting for overhead costs, consistent with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) regulations. The separate accounting, referred to as the “capital suspense loader,” includes the cost of administrative and engineering personnel supporting capital construction projects. J.A. 348-49, 351. These overhead costs consist of two pools: (1) administrative and general costs for personnel at corporate headquarters and (2) nuclear-specific costs for personnel at the Nuclear South headquarters and Grand Gulf site. J.A. 349. The trial court acknowledged that “DOE was aware that Plaintiffs were required to account to FERC for all costs incurred.” SFI II, 78 Fed. Cl. at 791. Originally, the trial court withheld these costs for lack of proof with “reasonable certainty.” Id. at 800. Plaintiffs then provided additional analysis showing that costs associated with the “capital suspense loader” were $497,619. The trial court then offset the overall damages awarded to Plaintiffs by this amount. SFI III, 92 Fed. Cl. at 104-05, 108.

As explained in Indiana Michigan, “[d]amages for a breach of contract are recoverable where: (1) the damages were reasonably foreseeable by the breaching party at the time of contracting; (2) the breach is a substantial causal factor in the damages; and (3) the damages are shown with reasonable certainty.” 422 F.3d at 1373 (citing Energy Capital Corp. v. United States, 302 F.3d 1314, 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2002)). In Carolina Power & Light Co. v. United States, this court affirmed the trial court’s awarding of overhead costs to a utility whose “internal accounting system uses specific codes to allocate a portion of [the overhead expenses] to particular projects . . . .” 573 F.3d 1271, 1276-77 (Fed. Cir. 2009). This court has previously determined that “the amount of damages need not be `ascertainable with absolute exactness or mathematical precision,’ [but that] recovery for speculative damages is precluded.” Ind. Mich., 422 F.3d at 1373 (quoting San Carlos Irrigation & Drainage Dist. v. United States, 111 F.3d 1557, 1563 (Fed. Cir. 1997)). In Energy Northwest, this court found that “mitigation activities generally were supported by certain overhead services that Energy Northwest provided for the benefit of all its operations (not only its mitigation activities).” 641 F.3d at 1309. This court made such a determination based on testimony “estimating the portion of . . . overhead costs fairly allocated to support . . . the mitigation via generally accepted accounting practices . . .” Id.

Thus, Plaintiffs may recover overhead costs incurred for mitigation-related work. The record shows that Plaintiffs used an internal accounting system with particular codes for the “capital suspense loader.” Further, the record shows that the internal accounting system allocates on a monthly basis the overhead associated with the pool and charges accounts for the appropriate project. J.A. 348-50. Thus, Plaintiffs used accounting procedures “as mandated by FERC,” J.A. 349, and “consistent with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles,” J.A. 351. The trial court clearly erred in finding that these accounting records did not “demonstrate the effect of the mitigation project on the capital pools entitlement with `reasonable particularity.'”

Therefore, because the record fully supports Plaintiffs’ proof of overhead costs, this court reverses the trial court’s grant of offset of damages for the “capital suspense loader” overhead costs.

V.

In Yankee Atomic, this court determined that a SNF utility company “had the burden to provide the contractual acceptance rate and apply that rate before suggesting that the Government’s breach was a substantial factor in causing the [Plaintiffs’] claimed expenses.” 536 F.3d at 1273. This court went further to state that “[w]ithout record evidence about the [utility’s] condition with full Government performance, the Court of Federal Claims could not perform the necessary comparison between the breach and non-breach worlds and thus could not accurately assess the [Plaintiffs’] damages.” Id. Plaintiffs bear the burden to establish the alleged mitigation costs were caused by the breach. Energy Nw. v. United States, 641 F.3d 1300, 1307 (Fed. Cir. 2011). “[A] defendant must move forward by pointing out the costs it believes the plaintiff avoided because of its breach,” but “with respect to both claimed costs and avoided costs, plaintiffs bear the burden of persuasion.” S. Nuclear Operating Co. v. United States, 637 F.3d 1297, 1304 (Fed. Cir. 2011); see also Boston Edison Co. v. United States, 658 F.3d 1361, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (the Government “may be responsible for affirmatively pointing out costs that were avoided” due to the breach, but once the Government has identified the plaintiff’s avoided costs, “the plaintiff must incorporate them into a plausible model of the damages”); Energy Nw., 641 F.3d at 1308 n.5 (“Once the defendant has properly articulated an offset, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to incorporate those saved costs into its formulation of a plausible but-for world.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). While in some places the trial court, without the benefit of our most recent cases, inaccurately placed the burden of proof on the Government, we do not think that this error affected the result.

In SFI II, the trial court determined that Plaintiffs’ mitigation was foreseeable:

[T]he record contains clear and convincing evidence that on June 30, 1983, it was “foreseeable” to DOE that, if performance could not be commenced by January 31, 1998, Plaintiffs would have to make interim arrangements to store SNF and HLW and DOE could have foreseen that such interim arrangements could entail the need to plan, design, and construct dry fuel storage and the [sic] incur costs to borrow funds to finance those mitigation efforts.

78 Fed. Cl. at 791. Additionally, the trial court determined that the costs of modification of the auxiliary building were “incurred to mitigate the Government’s partial breach.” Id. at 801. The trial court analyzed the costs associated with the auxiliary building modifications, procedures and programs to use the casks and dose assessment, implementation of the transfer and haul paths for the casks, and scaffolding. Id. at 800-06. The trial court’s analysis was based on the costs included in Plaintiffs’ claims for damages, offsets asserted by the Government, and comparison of “the real world versus the costs of the modifications in the non-breach world.” Id. at 800. The trial court determined that Plaintiffs’ costs were reasonable for several of the auxiliary building modifications and implementation of the transfer and haul paths for the casks. Id. at 801-04, 805. In contrast, the trial court awarded offsets for (i) the procedures and programs to use the casks and dose assessment and (ii) a portion of the scaffolding costs. Id. at 804, 805-06.

In SFI III, the trial court weighed evidence concerning causation of the contested damages and application of the 1987 Annual Capacity Report Rate. 92 Fed. Cl. at 103-04. The trial court heard testimony concerning Grand Gulf in breach and non-breach worlds and “determine[d] that [Plaintiffs] would have performed the cell recovery project even if DOE accepted SNF at Grand Gulf in 2006” and offset Plaintiffs’ award for damages based on the “appropriate `related’ costs.” Id. at 104. The trial court stated that Plaintiffs “advised the court that three adjustments should be made to the prior costs claimed,” which related to offsetting costs associated with Plaintiffs’ claims for “payroll loader,” “capital suspense loader,” and “equipment purchased, sequence design, and dose assessment.” Id. at 104-05.

The trial court also weighed evidence regarding the “cell recovery effort.” After comparing the breach and non-breach worlds, the trial court determined that Plaintiffs were “not entitled to include[ ] $184,208 for the cell recovery effort as damages.” Id. at 105-06. The trial court then applied this court’s holding in Yankee Atomic, 536 F.3d at 1268, and determined that the “reasonable foreseeability element was satisfied” and “the necessity to proceed with dry fuel storage at Grand Gulf . . . was caused by both the partial breach and DOE’s inability to guarantee the commencement of performance by 2005, when the spent fuel pool would reach capacity.” SFI III, 92 Fed. Cl. at 107. The trial court discredited Plaintiffs’ expert testimony regarding performance in a non-breach world because the expert was “not qualified to testify about nuclear power plant operations.” Id. at 108. The trial court offset Plaintiffs’ damages by $184,208 and awarded Plaintiffs $9,735,634 in nominal damages because the trial court determined that Plaintiffs did not meet their burden to prove that Plaintiffs would not have engaged in “cell recovery efforts” but for the Government’s breach. Id. at 108.

Review of the record shows that the trial court’s damages analysis in SFI II included comparison between breach and non-breach worlds, and offsets were awarded where appropriate. In SFI III, the record confirms the trial court’s application of the 1987 Annual Capacity Report Rate and also applicable additional adjustments. The record evidence further supports the trial court’s comparison between the breach and non-breach worlds for the assessment of damages. This court discerns no error in these determinations. Thus, the trial court accurately addressed causation as set forth by Yankee Atomic and applied offsets as necessary. This court affirms the trial court’s causation analysis and its revised nominal damages award.

VI.

Because the trial court properly adhered to the decision of England, this court affirms the denial of Plaintiffs’ claim for the cost of borrowed funds. This court reverses the trial court’s denial of overhead costs. This court affirms the trial court’s causation analysis and revised award of nominal damages.

AFFIRMED-IN-PART AND REVERSED-IN-PART.

COSTS

Each party shall bear its own costs.

NEWMAN, Circuit Judge, concurring in part, dissenting in part.

In this arena of varied Federal Circuit pronouncements on diverse facts, the court now carves an exception into the rule that damages due to breach of contract shall render the injured party monetarily whole. The rule, applicable to the government as to all contracting entities, is that when the non-breaching party is required to incur expenditures in order to mitigate the consequences of breach, the cost of those expenditures is compensable as damages. That cost of mitigation is not “interest on a claim,” but a component of damages. Thus the “no-interest rule” is inapplicable. I respectfully dissent from the portion of the court’s decision that denies recovery of such damages.

DISCUSSION

Analytical care is required to avoid blurring the distinction between the cost of money expended to mitigate a breach and interest awarded on a judgment for damages. The “non-interest” statute is directed to interest on an adjudicated claim:

28 U.S.C. §2516. Interest on claims and judgments

(a) Interest on a claim against the United States shall be allowed in a judgment of the United States Court of Federal Claims only under a contract or Act of Congress expressly providing for payment thereof.

This statute does not apply to the System Fuels situation. System Fuels incurred capital costs to construct an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, a facility that was required to be constructed in view of the government’s partial breach of the Standard Contract for Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and/or High-Level Radioactive Waste. “All capital raised by a corporation has a cost . . . .” LaSalle Talman Bank, F.S.B. v. United States, 317 F.3d 1363, 1375 (Fed. Cir. 2003). The Court of Federal Claims stated that the record establishes that System Fuels incurred $1,587,000 as cost of the capital expended to mitigate this breach.1 This cost is not “[i]nterest on a claim . . . in a judgment,” and denial of recovery of this cost contravenes the principle that “[t]he remedy for breach of contract is damages sufficient to place the injured party in as good a position as it would have been had the breaching party fully performed.” Indiana Michigan Power Co. v. United States, 422 F.3d 1369, 1373 (Fed. Cir. 2005). System Fuels’ cost of the capital required to mitigate the government’s breach is substantive damages, not interest on a claim.

This distinction has long been recognized. In Library of Congress v. Shaw, 478 U.S. 310, 314 (1986), the Court explained that “interest is an element of damages separate from damages on the substantive claim.” In Shaw the Court denied the enlargement in Title VII attorney fees due to delay in payment of the fees; the Court did not state a rule about costs of capital. Precedent well illustrates that the “no-interest rule” is not a bar to substantive damages. E.g., Peoria Tribe of Indians of Okl. v. United States, 390 U.S. 468, 471, 473 (1968) (rejecting the government’s invocation of the no-interest rule, and holding the government liable “for its failure to invest the proceeds that would have been received had the United States not violated the treaty”); Larson v. United States, 274 F.3d 643, 646 (1st Cir. 2001) (explaining that the award by the United States of investment proceeds on seized funds in United States v. Kingsley, 851 F.2d 16 (1st Cir. 1988) was not an award of prejudgment interest because “the award was in the form of damages directly caused by” the government’s breach of a plea agreement).

Recognition that damages include the cost of the money expended in mitigation is exemplified in the FIRREA cases, e.g., Bluebonnet Sav. Bank, F.S.B. v. United States, 266 F.3d 1348, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (“the increased financing costs” represented in the Economic Benefits Agreement are recoverable as damages); LaSalle Talman, 317 F.3d at 1374-75 (damages can include “the cost of capital”); Citizen Fed. Bank v. United States, 474 F.3d 1314, 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (damages include the “expenses it incurred in replacing its regulatory capital after FIRREA had precluded thrifts from using regulatory goodwill or subordinated debt as regulatory capital”). The analogy is apt, for here System Fuels expended capital to provide storage facilities after the government breached its contract to store the spent fuel.

“Government liability in contract is viewed as perhaps `the widest and most unequivocal waiver of federal immunity from suit.'” United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 215 (1983) (quoting Developments in the Law — Remedies Against the United States and Its Officials, 70 Harv. L. Rev. 827, 876 (1957)); see United States v. Emery, Bird, Thayer Realty Co., 237 U.S. 28, 32 (1915) (the Tucker Act is a “great act of justice”).

Law and precedent establish government liability for the cost of mitigation, where government breach requires expenditures in mitigation. In Mobil Oil Exploration & Producing Se., Inc. v. United States, 530 U.S. 604, 607-08 (2000) the Court reinforced that “[w]hen the United States enters into contract relations, its rights and duties therein are governed generally by the law applicable to contracts between private individuals,” quoting United States v. Winstar Corp., 518 U.S. 839, 895 (1996) (plurality opinion). This court in Indiana Michigan applied “the general principle is that all losses, however described, are recoverable.” 422 F.3d at 1373 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 347 cmt. c (1981)). The Restatement explains that “the injured party is entitled to recover for all loss actually suffered. . . . includ[ing] costs incurred in a reasonable effort, whether successful or not, to avoid loss.” §347 cmt. c.

The government’s argument that recovery of mitigation costs is precluded by its reinterpreted “no-interest rule” is as inappropriate as it is incorrect, and should be rejected by the court, not adopted and enlarged. As stated in Indian Towing Co. v. United States, 350 U.S. 61, 69 (1955), the court is not a “self-constituted guardian of the Treasury.” My colleagues err in holding that the cost of mitigation of governmental breach of contract cannot include the cost of the money expended in mitigation. I respectfully dissent.


Southern Company may Bankrupt via New International Environmental Court


The Devastating News Southern Company

Mississippi Power Has been Waiting For

OBAMA’S GLOBAL POVERTY ACT IS BACK

by Tom DeWeese
January 11, 2012
NewsWithViews.com

He might be a whiz kid at creating computer software, but beyond that Bill Gates has proven time and again that he hasn’t a clue about why or how freedom works.

He constantly teams up with anti-free market types like the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to produce “educational programs” in his software packages, misdirecting unsuspecting children with political propaganda. In 2002 he gave the NWF $600,000 worth of software to help these environmental radicals run their programs to block the drilling of American oil. Apparently Gates doesn’t understand that he needs oil to create power to run computers. Most recently his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $3 million to eight universities to reinvent the flush toilet. Environmentalists call that device “one of the world’s most destructive habits.”

Clearly Gates is a captive of his own wealth, suffering the usual rich man’s guilt over being rich – rushing full speed ahead to “give back to the world.” Funny how such giving back always seems to mean supporting socialist causes with money gained from the free market. Up till now, Gates has just been giving his own money voluntarily. Even if it’s to bad causes, he is certainly free to use his money anyway he chooses.

Now, however, his misguided meddling is about to involve the misdirecting of everyone’s income, and so the world’s richest useful idiot just became dangerous to freedom.

In November, as part of the G20 summit, Gates, representing his foundation, presented a report on a plan to eradicate world poverty. Said Gates, “I am honored to have been given this important opportunity. My report will address the financing needed to achieve maximum progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and to make faster progress on development over the next decade.” Gate’s report proposes a financial transaction tax (FTT) on tobacco, aviation, fuel and carbon (energy), to be enforced by all members of the G20 nations. The financial transaction tax has been excitedly talked about in the halls of the UN for a decade. Called the Tobin Tax, named after a Yale economist who dreamed it up, FTT would give the UN almost unlimited funding by taxing every stock and monetary transaction in the world.

Gates didn’t just dream this up on his own accord. He is actually resurrecting legislation a bill introduced in 2008 by then Senator Barack Obama. It was called the Global Poverty Act. Obama introduced the bill during his one abbreviated term in the U.S. Senate.

The bill was one of the only pieces of legislation ever introduced by Senator Barack Obama, and it wasn’t just a compassionate bit of fluff that Obama dreamed up to help the poor of the world. This bill was directly tied to the United Nations and served as little more than a shake down of American taxpayers in a massive wealth redistribution scheme. The Global Poverty Act would provide the United Nations with 0.7% of the United States gross national product. Estimates indicated that would add up to at least $845 billion of taxpayer money into UN coffers, to be spent (or wasted) by UN bureaucrats. The excuse for the taxing, of course, is to help end poverty in third world countries. The bill died in Congress in 2008 after passing unanimously in the House. Now Bill Gates has resurrected it.

Of course the United States has had an ongoing program of supplying billions of dollars in foreign aid and assistance to the poor for decades. In addition, the U.S. pays most of the bills at the UN for its many unworkable poverty programs. So what’s new about the Global Poverty Act, and why is it dangerous?

First, some history that led up to the Global Poverty Act. In 1999 and 2000 non-governmental organizations, NGOs held numerous meetings around the world to write what became known as the Charter for Global Democracy. The document was prepared as a blue print for achieving global governance. In reality it was a charter for the abolition of individual freedom, national sovereignty and limited government.

The Charter for Global Democracy outlined its goals in 12 detailed “principles:”

Principle One called for the consolidation of all international agencies under the direct authority of the UN.

Principle Two called for UN regulation of all transnational corporations and financial institutions, requiring an “international code of conduct” concerning the environment and labor standards.

Principle Three explored various schemes to create independent revenue sources for the UN – meaning UN taxes including fees on all international monetary transactions, taxes on aircraft flights in the skies, and on shipping fuels, and licensing of what the UN called the “global commons,” meaning use of air, water and natural resources. The Law of the Sea Treaty fits this category.

Principle Four would restructure the UN by eliminating the veto power and permanent member status on the Security Council. Such a move would almost completely eliminate U.S. influence and power in the world body. In turn Principle Four called for the creation of an “Assembly of the People” which would be populated by hand-picked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are nothing more than political groups with their own agendas (the UN calls NGOs “civil society”). Now, the UN says these NGO’s will be the representatives of the “people” and the Assembly of the People will become the new power of the UN.

Principle Five would authorize a standing UN army.

Principle six would require UN registration of all arms and the reduction of all national armies “as part of a multinational global security system” under the authority of the UN.

Principle Seven would require individual and national compliance with all UN “Human rights” treaties and declarations.

Principle Eight would activate the UN Criminal Court and make it compulsory for all nations — now achieved.

Principle Nine called for a new institution to establish economic and environmental security by ensuring “Sustainable Development.”

Principle Ten would establish an International Environmental Court

Principle Eleven demanded an international declaration stating that climate change is an essential global security interest that requires the creation of a “high level action team” to allocate carbon emissions based on equal per-capita rights – The Kyoto Global Warming Treaty in action.

Principle Twelve demanded the cancellation of all debt owed by the poorest nations, global poverty reductions and for the “equitable sharing” of global resources, as allocated by the UN – here is where Obama’s Global Poverty Act comes in.

Specifically, the Charter for Global Democracy was intended to give the UN domain over all of the earth’s land, air and seas. In addition it would give the UN the power to control all natural resources, wild life, and energy sources, even radio waves. Such control would allow the UN to place taxes on everything from development; to fishing; to air travel; to shipping. Anything that could be defined as using the earth’s resources would be subject to UN use-taxes. Coincidentally, all twelve principles came directly from the UN’s Commission on Global Governance.

There was one major problem with the Charter for Global Democracy, at least as far as the UN was concerned. It was too honest and straightforward. Overt action displeases the high-order thinking skills of UN diplomats. The UN likes to keep things fuzzy and gray so as not to scare off the natives. That way there is less chance of screaming headlines of a pending takeover by the UN. So, by the time the UN’s Millennium Summit rolled around in September 2000, things weren’t quite so clear. Click here

At the Summit, attended by literally every head of state and world leader, including then-president Bill Clinton, the name of the Charter had been changed to the Millennium Declaration and the language had been toned down to sound more like suggestions and ideas. Then those “suggestions” were put together in the “Millennium Declaration” in the name of all of the heads of state. No vote or debate was allowed — just acclamation by world leaders who basically said nothing. And the deed was done. The UN had its marching orders for the new Millennium.

Now the principles were called “Millennium Goals,” and there were eight instead of twelve. Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty; Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education; Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women; Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality; Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health; Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases; Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability; Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development.

Yes, these are sneaky guys, well trained in the art of saying nothing. Who could oppose such noble goals? The Millennium Project, which was set up to achieve the “goals” says on its website that it intends to “end poverty by 2015.” A noble goal, indeed. So what happened to the 12 Charter principles? Take a hard look – they are all still there.

Principles One, Two, and Twelve are right there in Goal 8 – to develop a global partnership for development. Now almost every world organization such as the World Bank carries a section on their web sites calling for “Millennium Development Goals” which control international banking and loan policy. They set policy goals for each country and sometimes communities to measure if nations are keeping their promise to implement the Millennium goals.

Principle Seven is clearly Goal 3, the only way to assure Gender Equality is to enforce compliance with UN Human Rights treaties. Principle Eight has already been achieved. Principle Nine is Goal 7. Al Gore is doing his best to enforce Principle Eleven. Global Warming, no matter how well the theory is debunked, just won’t go away because it is one of the Millennium Goals.

And then there is Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act. Can you see which Principle that is? Of course, Principle 12 and Goal 1. Obama’s 2008 bill specifically mentioned the Millennium Goals as its guide and the 0.7% of GNP is right out of UN documents. In order to eradicate poverty by 2015, they say, every industrial nation must pony up 0.7% of their GNP to the UN for use in eradicating poverty. Southern Company May go Bankrupt

The UN is now becoming an international collection agency, pressing to collect the promises the world leaders made at the Millennium Summit. The UN wants the cash. In 2005 former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, “Developed countries that have not already done so should establish timetables to achieve the 0.7% target of gross national income for official development assistance by no later than 2015…”

At the Summit in 2000, the UN set clear goals to establish its power over sovereign nations and to enforce the greatest redistribution of wealth scheme ever perpetrated on the world. Now it has the Criminal Court; Sustainable Development (Agenda 21) is fast becoming official policy in every corner of the nation—only today we call it “going green;” and there is a full court press on to enforce Global Warming policy, in spite of the fact that there is now overwhelming evidence pouring out of the scientific community to fully debunk the scam.

Obama introduced the Global Poverty Act as he campaigned for the Presidency with the obvious and clear intention of showcasing the then little known Senator as a world leader. But the bill died in the Senate. Now, Bill Gates is proving his “useful idiot” status (a term coined by Lenin to describe capitalists who would sell the rope to hang capitalism), by serving as Obama’s lackey to resurrect the Global Poverty Act.

And right on cue, just after Bill Gates made his report to the G20 Summit calling for a financial transaction tax, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) introduced legislation to put a tax on “certain trading activities undertaken by banking and financial firms.” The bills, of course, are the Tobin Tax and in line with Gate’s report.

Clearly, Obama needs to show that, under his leadership, the United States is falling in line with the Millennium Declaration and its 2015 deadline for implementation. Truth, science and American taxpayer interests be hanged, as Bill Gates offers the rope, Harkin and DeFazio provide the knot, and Obama gets to pretend to be a “world” leader.

SEISMIC ACTIVITY INDUCED BY THE INJECTION OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE AQUIFERS

Ohio earthquake has brought more uncertainty to the Mississippi CO2 sequestration, the underground storage of CO2. When will the public demand answers and action.   Keep in mind that CO2 sequestration was initially developed as a result of United Nations meetings, when it was thought that CO2 was a poisonous gas that needed to be contained to prevent the end  of Earth and all its inhabitants due to global warming cooking us all.  We now know that the science behind the whack-o global warming scare was falsified  and a new group of independent scientist with credibility have demonstrated just the opposite. HERE  THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING CAUSED BY MAN.

ISSUES RELATED TO SEISMIC ACTIVITY INDUCED BY THE INJECTION
OF CO2 IN DEEP SALINE AQUIFERS

Abstract
Case studies, theory, regulation, and special considerations regarding the disposal of carbon
dioxide (CO2) into deep saline aquifers were investigated to assess the potential for induced
seismic activity. Formations capable of accepting large volumes of CO2 make deep well injection
of CO2 an attractive option. While seismic implications must be considered for injection
facilities, induced seismic activity may be prevented through proper siting, installation, operation,
and monitoring. Instances of induced seismic activity have been documented at hazardous waste
disposal wells, oil fields, and other sites. Induced seismic activity usually occurs along
previously faulted rocks and may be investigated by analyzing the stress conditions at depth.
Seismic events are unlikely to occur due to injection in porous rocks unless very high injection
pressures cause hydraulic fracturing. Injection wells in the United States are regulated through
the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program. UIC guidance requires an injection facility to
perform extensive characterization, testing, and monitoring. Special considerations related to the
properties of CO2 may have seismic ramifications to a deep well injection facility. Supercritical
CO2 liquid is less dense than water and may cause density-driven stress conditions at depth or
interact with formation water and rocks, causing a reduction in permeability and pressure buildup
leading to seismic activity. Structural compatibility, historical seismic activity, cases of seismic
activity triggered by deep well injection, and formation capacity were considered in evaluating
the regional seismic suitability in the United States. Regions in the central, midwestern, and
southeastern United States appear best suited for deep well injection. In Ohio, substantial deep
well injection at a waste disposal facility has not caused seismic events in a seismically active
area. Current technology provides effective tools for investigating and preventing induced
seismic activity. More research is recommended on developing site selection criteria and
operational constraints for CO2 storage sites near zones of seismic concerns.

More can be read here http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/proceedings/01/carbon_seq/p37.pdf

Other related story HERE

HAPPY Start in 2012 for America in their Fight Against EPA’s U.N. Regulations

Happy new year to report the voluntary UN Kyoto Protocols are on hold so 2 coal plants can keep in operation.  Keep up the pressure America.

Luminant to keep units online as court halts EPA rule

Luminant Generation Co. will continue operating two coal-fired electricity units it had previously planned to close now that a federal court temporarily halted a pollution regulation from being implemented, the company said Friday.

In September, Luminant said it would idle two units that provide 1.2 gigawatts of capacity at its Monticello power station in Titus County this coming Sunday to comply with the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

A federal three-judge panel on Friday granted some utilities’ and states’ request for a temporary stay on the rule, which would have required power plants in 28 states, including Texas, to cut smog- and soot-forming emissions that can cross state lines starting Sunday.

The Dallas-based company, Texas’ largest electricity generator, said in a statement the stay “allows Luminant’s Monticello units 1 and 2 to continue operating and providing needed generation for the Texas electric market.”

Luminant said it can also prevent an unspecified number of worker layoffs and continue operating some lignite coal mines it had planned to shut down.

But since the stay is temporary, Luminant “intends to continue closely evaluating business and operational decisions,” it said.

In early December, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s main grid operator, projected that power reserves would fall below its desired minimum target in 2012 because several power-generating units would be absent and power demand would tick up.

ERCOT’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

But President Trip Doggett, who has long expressed concerns about the rule’s compliance timeline, said recently ERCOT would meet its minimum power-reserves target if Luminant’s units were indeed operating.

Some of Texas’ U.S. lawmakers also blame the cross-state rule for raising the risk of blackouts on the state’s main grid. EPA and environmental groups reject those concerns, saying the agency’s clean-air rules have never caused power reliability problems.

The court didn’t rule on the merits of the regulation, the EPA said in a statement. “EPA firmly believes that when the court does weigh the merits of the rule it will ultimately be upheld,” the agency said.

Additionally, the EPA said it was disappointing that the stay was granted in light of the agency’s recently proposed tweaks to the rule.

The agency has said the proposed increase in allowed emissions for 10 states, including Texas, and a two-year delay in a cap on interstate emissions trading would help ease utilities’ transition into the rule.

A number of utilities and states including Texas and Luminant challenged the cross-state rule in federal court. Texas’ suit alleges that the state wasn’t given enough notice and comment on its inclusion for certain pollution reductions.

The court’s decision to stay the rule “is a prudent one that now gives the court time to review the regulation and its burdensome effects on Texas,” state Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement.

The EPA, defending its rule, has said Texas was part of a similar George W. Bush-era rule that a court sent back to the agency to rewrite; the cross-state rule is the Bush-era regulation’s replacement.

While Texas was included only for smog-season emission cuts when the new rule was proposed, the agency put the Lone Star State into the full rule when it was finalized on the basis of comments and feedback from state utilities and officials, said Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant administrator.

For now the EPA will transition back to the Bush-era rule “as seamlessly as possible,” the agency said.

The Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental group, said it was disappointed with the ruling but vowed it “will continue to vigorously defend these vitally important reductions of harmful smokestack pollution against the legal attacks brought by large power companies and states such as Texas.”

“The pollution reductions at stake are some of the single most important clean air protections for children, families and communities across the eastern half of the United States,” Vickie Patton, general counsel for the EDF, said in an emailed statement.

The EPA has said the cross-state rule would save up to 34,000 lives a year starting in 2014 and have annual benefits of up to $280 billion versus annual costs of less than $1 billion. Environmentalists say the rule would help address non-attainment of U.S. smog and particulate-matter air standards in the downwind states where the power-plant pollution drifts.

Luminant and other utilities had plenty of time to prepare for the EPA’s recently finalized environmental regulations because they were years in the making, Jim Marston, head of the Texas office of the EDF, said earlier this month.

The EPA and some analysts also have said Luminant could have switched fuels, bought emissions allowances and ramped up pollution controls to comply with the cross-state rule instead of idling the two power-generating units.

The environmental group’s Texas branch didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

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