Brendan DeMelle's blog
Judy Bonds, the fearlessly outspoken activist and community organizer who devoted her life to saving her native Appalachian mountains from the ravages of mountaintop removal coal mining, passed away Monday.
The daughter of a coal miner, Julia Bonds was fiercely dedicated to the cause of ending dangerous coal practices and combatting the myth of ‘clean coal,’ which she could often be heard pointing out is a “dirty lie.”
She was an inspiration to me personally, and I’m fortunate to have met and talked with her often over the years. She will be dearly missed. But her legacy lives on in the thousands of lives she touched, and her memory will serve as a continuing inspiration to everyone who wants to see America and the rest of the world end our addiction to dirty coal.
Jeff Biggers has a wonderful tribute to Judy on the Huffington Post, and JW Randolph has another tribute at Appalachian Voices. WTRF in West Virginia reports that Coal River Mountain Watch, the group that Bonds led, is planning a memorial service but a date has not been set yet.
2010 was a dark year for the dirty U.S. coal industry, with the deaths of 48 coal miners – the deadliest year in nearly two decades – and widespread recognition of the threat posed by hazardous coal ash waste to waterways nationwide.
2011 hasn’t started off very well either, with a New Year’s Day article in the Washington Post noting the industry’s failure to begin construction on a single new coal-fired power plant in the United States for the second straight year.
An excerpt from the Post story:
Not only are the coal barons failing to build new plants, but their aging fleet is also facing a huge wave of coal-plant retirements thanks to new and emerging EPA regulations, as Grist’s Dave Roberts summarized last month.
Nevertheless, the coal industry’s best efforts to flood Washington with lobbyists and dirty PR tricks seem to have crippled President Obama’s campaign pledge to end mountaintop removal and stalled out EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s momentum towards regulating coal ash as the hazardous waste it surely is.
Despite President Obama’s campaign pledges of government transparency and limiting the influence of K Street lobbyists on policymaking, coal industry lobbyists got their stockings stuffed with wishes this year in Washington. Climate and energy legislation is dead, the Environmental Protection Agency is entering its 21st year of failing to regulate mercury emissions from coal plants, coal ash regulations are delayed indefinitely, mountaintop removal mining continues, and the myth of “clean coal” is alive and well thanks to continuing praise by President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Happy Holidays! Here’s a lump of coal, no two, and some coal ash slurry to wash it down with. Don’t worry, it’s “clean coal!”
The Coal Grinches aren’t here to steal Christmas gifts from Whoville residents. They’re here to steal a safe climate, clean water and breathable air from every American man, woman and child. And we won’t know when they’ve come and gone, thanks to the White House’s apparent neglect (or shutdown?) of the “open government” records of its meetings with lobbyists.
The Tyee has launched a new series exploring the efforts of Canadian tar sands interests to undermine low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) policies in the U.S. that could some day threaten to wipe out Alberta’s greenhouse gas-intensive oil sands industry.
Climate change policies being implemented in California and currently under consideration in 23 other U.S. states seek to favor lower-carbon transportation fuels. Since Canada’s tar sands are widely known to be among the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive sources of oil on the planet, the tar sands would of course fall out of favor rapidly if enough U.S. states passed the low-carbon standards into law. And since laws passed by large states like California are often used to pressure Washington to set federal policies, tar sands interests have a lot at stake in battling early adopter states.
As a result, The Tyee reports:
“A sophisticated lobbying effort led by Canadian officials, fossil fuel lobby groups and several of the world’s largest oil companies is targeting policymakers and consumers across the United States.”
Cancun - When I started working on solar energy issues several years ago, I heard it repeatedly: “Everyone loves solar.” Back then, many people in solar and other cleantech sectors saw long-term meritocracy in the energy business. Public demand, technological advances and aninevitable price on carbon were going to drive cleantech to dominance over time. “Renewable energy,” it was often said, “will soon become just plain ‘energy’.”
From the gridlocked global warming treaty negotiations here in Cancun, however, the picture seems starkly different. The Congressional climate bill fight ended in disaster, the recession tightened credit markets, and the coal and oil industries bought themselves a new Congress last month. And that global carbon market many were counting on? The most optimistic note Thursday night from a top U.S. treaty negotiator, Jonathan Pershing, was “maybe next year.”