Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coal meeting canceled after student-led protest

Coal meeting canceled after student-led protest

A National Coal Council meeting in downtown St. Louis was canceled following a protest from Washington University Green Action.
Directly after council members had finished taking roll call on Tuesday, students from Green Action and Missourians Organized for Reform and Empowerment entered the meeting at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. The students unfurled a banner proclaiming, “Coal is never clean” and sang, “Clean coal is a dirty lie.”
“Clean coal doesn’t exist, and we’re opposed to the lie that there’s any way to use coal safely without hurting communities,” said Green Action member Harry Alper, a senior.
The group was escorted from the hotel by two officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. The Hilton’s head of security had not yet arrived at the event.
According to Officer Mana, the situation was “no big deal,” and students were polite and peaceful as they left the building.
Following the disturbance, the council chose to cancel the meeting, but members stayed to enjoy the private lunch they had already ordered.
The National Coal Council is a federal advisory committee to the U.S. secretary of energy. The meeting, which was open to the public, was intended to review an ongoing study on the use of Carbon Capture and Sequestration technologies.
The CEOs of St. Louis-based Peabody Energy and Arch Coal are both on the council and are members of the University’s board of trustees.
Sophomore Claire Christensen of Green Action urged students in an e-mail to join the rally.
“[T]here is NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL and the coal industry should not be operating AT ALL,” Christensen wrote. “As students of Washington University, we need to ‘clarify’ our position to our Board of Trustees members and let them know we condemn their actions.”
Because of an error on the Federal Register, Green Action arrived to the Hilton more than an hour early and arrived back at campus later than expected.
“I missed the first half of my class on the civil rights movement, but my professor knows I’m there to learn from that movement and apply it to the climate justice movement,” Alper said. “There are other people who have to make much bigger sacrifices than being late for a class.”
After being escorted out, Green Action members continued their protest outside of the Hilton, where they engaged with passersby and various news outlets.
Members of the council declined to comment.

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Open Letter to the University of Alabama System: Stop the Shepherd Bend Mine

An Open Letter to the University of Alabama System: Stop the Shepherd Bend Mine PDF Share Link: Print E-mail
Black Warrior Riverkeeper has emailed an open letter to Dr. Robert E. Witt, President of the University of Alabama, asking UA to make a public decision as to whether they will lease their land and mineral rights to Shepherd Bend, LLC for coal mining directly across the river from the Birmingham Water Works Board’s Mulberry Fork Intake facility, which supplies tap water daily to 200,000 customers.

Dear President Witt:
Black Warrior Riverkeeper and other concerned citizens have been asking the University of Alabama (University) and the UA System Board of Trustees (Trustees) not to lease land or mineral rights to Shepherd Bend, LLC for a surface coal mine that will discharge polluted water to the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River 800 feet upstream of a primary drinking water intake for the Birmingham Water Works Board (“BWWB”). In previous correspondence, we have supplied extensive scientific information which indicates that the Shepherd Bend Mine will likely result in mining-related pollutants flowing into the intake and on to the BWWB’s treatment facilities. Every single day, over 200,000 of Alabama’s citizens rely on this intake for clean, safe, and affordable drinking water.
To date, neither the University nor the Trustees have taken a stand on this important issue of public interest, responding only that there is currently no proposal before you to lease the property. Given the fact that Shepherd Bend, LLC has the necessary regulatory permits to begin coal mining, we think it is time for the University and the Trustees to take a public stand as to whether you will lease land and mineral rights for this strip mine.
With an emphasis on education and service as well as a mission of improving the quality of life for all Alabamians, it is entirely appropriate for the University and the Trustees to play a leadership role on the Shepherd Bend Mine issue. You have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the importance of prudent long-term stewardship over short term gain. We ask that the University and the Trustees publicly answer this one question:
Will you lease land and mineral rights at Shepherd Bend to Shepherd Bend, LLC for their coal mining operation? YES or NO?
A copy of the letter in PDF.
Background information about the Shepherd Bend Mine proposal.

Coal is dirty, dangerous, deadly and unsustainable !

Coal is dirty, dangerous, deadly and unsustainable !
By Michael William Mullen

Mike Mullen, Choctawhatchee RIVERKEEPER
The recent Alabama Voices column by our new Public Service Commission member Twinkle Cavanaugh seeks to stir up folks about the costs of energy bills that are stalled in Congress and potential U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations to address emissions responsible for climate change.
If she were doing her job, she would be researching all aspects, including hidden costs associated with production of electricity from coal. However, she appears to be much too busy writing op-ed pieces that seek to maintain the status quo to do serious research that might benefit the citizens of Alabama.
If one takes a comprehensive look at all of the costs of producing electricity from coal, not just the price of electricity, he or she will very quickly understand that coal is destructive, dangerous and deadly. The facts, when examined with an open mind, bring one to realize that electricity produced from coal is simply a fool's bargain.
To understand the true cost of electricity from coal, one has to add up all the external costs. These costs include the health costs -- black lung disease suffered by miners, increased asthma rates and associated costs and deaths suffered by the public who breathe the coal plant emissions, impacts upon water quality and associated costs for providing clean water, the costs associated with wear and tear on roads, costs associated with acid rain, sludge spill costs, the accumulation of the nerve poison mercury released from coal burning in fish and fish consumers, including human beings, the miners killed in accidents and many other costs not listed here, including horrific environmental impacts.
West Jefferson Power Plant, Alabama
New information just released by the EPA shows that a form of chromium, hexavalent chromium, a form known to cause cancer, is present in coal ash and in surface and groundwater around coal ash disposal sites.
A number of years ago a Canadian study showed that the true cost of electricity produced by coal was about 25 cents per kilowatt hour, or at that time about the same as electricity from solar photovoltaic panels.
Solar energy is abundantly available in the Southeast. Even in Germany, with its colder climate, solar for both electricity and hot water is having a major positive impact on their economy. If Commissioner Cavanaugh were truly interested in serving Alabamians and the economy of Alabama, she would be working to set goals for solar and other ecologically sustainable sources of renewable energy. Instead she seems content to put out the orthodoxy of the status quo as she serves Alabama Power Co. and Alabama Gas Co.

We recently installed a solar water heater that will pay for itself in around eight years and thereafter provide hot water at no out-of-pocket cost for another 17 or 18 years. If we lived in Florida, we would have received a check for $1,000 as an incentive for installing renewable energy because the utilities have a renewable energy goal that they must meet. There are no similar incentives for clean energy in Alabama.
If Cavanaugh and the Alabama PSC were as concerned about the well-being of Alabamians as they are profits of the power company, they would create goals for clean, renewable energy and conservation. If they wanted to reach those goals, they would create incentives for clean, renewable energy and conservation.
By doing so, they would protect public health, take out an insurance policy against climate change and ultimately help to grow Alabama's economy.

Michael William Mullen, executive director,
Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper
Banks Alabama.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No Ash Is Good Ash

Check out this truly fantastic news for citizens everywhere dealing with coal ash.
I would like to point out that only one Alabama representative voted NO.
Thank you Terri Sewell, [D] AL-7

This law would have been devastating to the momentum to regulate toxic coal ash. We have a prime example here in Alabama of how a seemingly innocent community with absolutely no ties to the coal fields can be condemned to a life of toxic coal ash  in their communities and invading their lives, harming their health and peace of mind.
The vote yesterday  / last night was a monumental success for us all!

Lisa Evans
Senior Administrative Counsel

The House voted on the McKinley Amendment (217) last night at about 2:00 am  -- and the amendment passed, but WE GOT THE VOTES WE NEEDED to keep the fight alive in the Senate and to demonstrate to EPA that there is support in the House for the coal ash rulemaking.  YOUR HARD WORK brought us many many votes that otherwise would have been lost!  It was critical that we make a strong show of opposition and, with YOUR help, we did!

The vote was 239 to 183.  Your calls/emails/letters amazingly brought to our side 19 republicans (about 3 times as many as any other environmental rider) including reps from OH, VA, IL and TN!  This was a fantastic feat!

Please check the voting list below and PLEASE  thank your representative with a call or email if he/she voted with us.  We will certainly be asking more of these reps this summer, and they will remember that you thanked them.  Also, next week we will be sending out an organizational letter thanking all who opposed the amendment.  Special thanks to Reps Waxman and Moran who spoke from the floor in opposition at about 1 am.

Again-- you all were key to this great vote.  We will need your help in the senate next week to defeat this amendment, but for now, have a wonderful weekend!

Lisa Evans
Senior Administrative Counsel
21 Ocean Ave.
Marblehead, MA 01945
T: (781) 631-4119
F: (212) 918-1556

Good Votes
No      NY-5    Ackerman, Gary [D]
No      PA-4    Altmire, Jason [D]
No      NJ-1    Andrews, Robert [D]
No      CA-43   Baca, Joe [D]
No      WI-2    Baldwin, Tammy [D]
No      NH-2    Bass, Charles [R]
No      CA-33   Bass, Karen [D]
No      CA-31   Becerra, Xavier [D]
No      NV-1    Berkley, Shelley [D]
No      CA-28   Berman, Howard [D]
No      GA-2    Bishop, Sanford [D]
No      NY-1    Bishop, Timothy [D]
No      OR-3    Blumenauer, Earl [D]
No      PA-1    Brady, Robert [D]
No      IA-1    Braley, Bruce [D]
No      FL-3    Brown, Corrine [D]
No      NC-1    Butterfield, George [D]
No      CA-23   Capps, Lois [D]
No      MA-8    Capuano, Michael [D]
No      MO-3    Carnahan, Russ [D]
No      DE-0    Carney, John [D]
No      LA-6    Cassidy, Bill [R]
No      FL-11   Castor, Kathy [D]
No      CA-32   Chu, Judy [D]
No      RI-1    Cicilline, David [D]
No      MI-13   Clarke, Hansen [D]
No      NY-11   Clarke, Yvette [D]
No      MO-1    Clay, William [D]
No      MO-5    Cleaver, Emanuel [D]
No      SC-6    Clyburn, James [D]
No      TN-9    Cohen, Steve [D]
No      VA-11   Connolly, Gerald [D]
No      MI-14   Conyers, John [D]
No      TN-5    Cooper, Jim [D]
No      CT-2    Courtney, Joe [D]
No      NY-7    Crowley, Joseph [D]
No      MD-7    Cummings, Elijah [D]
No      IL-7    Davis, Danny [D]
No      CA-53   Davis, Susan [D]
No      OR-4    DeFazio, Peter [D]
No      CO-1    DeGette, Diana [D]
No      CT-3    DeLauro, Rosa [D]
No      FL-19   Deutch, Ted [D]
No      WA-6    Dicks, Norman [D]
No      MI-15   Dingell, John [D]
No      TX-25   Doggett, Lloyd [D]
No      PA-14   Doyle, Michael [D]
No      MD-4    Edwards, Donna [D]
No      MN-5    Ellison, Keith [D]
No      NY-17   Engel, Eliot [D]
No      CA-14   Eshoo, Anna [D]
No      CA-17   Farr, Sam [D]
No      PA-2    Fattah, Chaka [D]
No      CA-51   Filner, Bob [D]
No      PA-8    Fitzpatrick, Michael [R]
No      TN-3    Fleischmann, Chuck [R]
No      VA-4    Forbes, J. [R]
No      NE-1    Fortenberry, Jeffrey [R]
No      MA-4    Frank, Barney [D]
No      OH-11   Fudge, Marcia [D]
No      CA-10   Garamendi, John [D]
No      TX-20   Gonzalez, Charles [D]
No      TX-9    Green, Al [D]
No      TX-29   Green, Raymond [D]
No      AZ-7    Grijalva, Raul [D]
No      IL-4    Gutierrez, Luis [D]
No      HI-1    Hanabusa, Colleen [D]
No      FL-23   Hastings, Alcee [D]
No      NY-19   Hayworth, Nan [R]
No      NM-1    Heinrich, Martin [D]
No      NY-27   Higgins, Brian [D]
No      CT-4    Himes, James [D]
No      NY-22   Hinchey, Maurice [D]
No      HI-2    Hirono, Mazie [D]
No      NJ-12   Holt, Rush [D]
No      CA-15   Honda, Michael [D]
No      MD-5    Hoyer, Steny [D]
No      WA-1    Inslee, Jay [D]
No      NY-2    Israel, Steve [D]
No      IL-2    Jackson, Jesse [D]
No      TX-18   Jackson-Lee, Sheila [D]
No      TX-30   Johnson, Eddie [D]
No      GA-4    Johnson, Henry [D]
No      IL-15   Johnson, Timothy [R]
No      OH-9    Kaptur, Marcy [D]
No      MA-10   Keating, William [D]
No      MI-5    Kildee, Dale [D]
No      NC-8    Kissell, Larry [D]
No      OH-10   Kucinich, Dennis [D]
No      NJ-7    Lance, Leonard [R]
No      RI-2    Langevin, James [D]
No      WA-2    Larsen, Rick [D]
No      CT-1    Larson, John [D]
No      OH-14   LaTourette, Steven [R]
No      CA-9    Lee, Barbara [D]
No      MI-12   Levin, Sander [D]
No      GA-5    Lewis, John [D]
No      IL-3    Lipinski, Daniel [D]
No      NJ-2    LoBiondo, Frank [R]
No      IA-2    Loebsack, David [D]
No      CA-16   Lofgren, Zoe [D]
No      NY-18   Lowey, Nita [D]
No      NM-3    Lujan, Ben [D]
No      MA-9    Lynch, Stephen [D]
No      NY-14   Maloney, Carolyn [D]
No      MA-7    Markey, Edward [D]
No      CA-5    Matsui, Doris [D]
No      WA-7    McDermott, James [D]
No      MA-3    McGovern, James [D]
No      NC-7    McIntyre, Mike [D]
No      CA-11   McNerney, Jerry [D]
No      NY-6    Meeks, Gregory [D]
No      ME-2    Michaud, Michael [D]
No      CA-7    Miller, George [D]
No      NC-13   Miller, R. [D]
No      WI-4    Moore, Gwen [D]
No      VA-8    Moran, James [D]
No      CT-5    Murphy, Christopher [D]
No      NY-8    Nadler, Jerrold [D]
No      CA-38   Napolitano, Grace [D]
No      MA-2    Neal, Richard [D]
No      MA-1    Olver, John [D]
No      NJ-6    Pallone, Frank [D]
No      NJ-8    Pascrell, William [D]
No      AZ-4    Pastor, Edward [D]
No      MN-3    Paulsen, Erik [R]
No      NJ-10   Payne, Donald [D]
No      CA-8    Pelosi, Nancy [D]
No      CO-7    Perlmutter, Ed [D]
No      ME-1    Pingree, Chellie [D]
No      CO-2    Polis, Jared [D]
No      NC-4    Price, David [D]
No      IL-5    Quigley, Mike [D]
No      NY-15   Rangel, Charles [D]
No      WA-8    Reichert, Dave [R]
No      TX-16   Reyes, Silvestre [D]
No      CA-37   Richardson, Laura [D]
No      LA-2    Richmond, Cedric [D]
No      VA-2    Rigell, E. [R]
No      NJ-9    Rothman, Steven [D]
No      CA-34   Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D]
No      MD-2    Ruppersberger, C.A. [D]
No      IL-1    Rush, Bobby [D]
No      OH-17   Ryan, Timothy [D]
No      CA-39   Sanchez, Linda [D]
No      CA-47   Sanchez, Loretta [D]
No      MD-3    Sarbanes, John [D]
No      IL-9    Schakowsky, Janice [D]
No      CA-29   Schiff, Adam [D]
No      OR-5    Schrader, Kurt [D]
No      PA-13   Schwartz, Allyson [D]
No      GA-13   Scott, David [D]
No      VA-3    Scott, Robert [D]
No      NY-16   Serrano, José [D]
No      AL-7    Sewell, Terri [D]
No      CA-27   Sherman, Brad [D]
No      NC-11   Shuler, Heath [D]
No      NY-28   Slaughter, Louise [D]
No      WA-9    Smith, Adam [D]
No      NJ-4    Smith, Christopher [R]
No      CA-12   Speier, Jackie [D]
No      OH-13   Sutton, Betty [D]
No      MS-2    Thompson, Bennie [D]
No      CA-1    Thompson, C. [D]
No      MA-6    Tierney, John [D]
No      NY-21   Tonko, Paul [D]
No      NY-10   Towns, Edolphus [D]
No      MA-5    Tsongas, Niki [D]
No      OH-3    Turner, Michael [R]
No      MD-8    Van Hollen, Christopher [D]
No      NY-12   Velazquez, Nydia [D]
No      IN-1    Visclosky, Peter [D]
No      FL-20   Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D]
No      CA-35   Waters, Maxine [D]
No      NC-12   Watt, Melvin [D]
No      CA-30   Waxman, Henry [D]
No      NY-9    Weiner, Anthony [D]
No      VT-0    Welch, Peter [D]
No      VA-1    Wittman, Rob [R]
No      VA-10   Wolf, Frank [R]
No      CA-6    Woolsey, Lynn [D]
No      OR-1    Wu, David [D]
No      KY-3    Yarmuth, John [D]

Bad Votes
Aye     FL-24   Adams, Sandy [R]
Aye     AL-4    Aderholt, Robert [R]
Aye     MO-2    Akin, W. [R]
Aye     LA-5    Alexander, Rodney [R]
Aye     MI-3    Amash, Justin [R]
Aye     OH-7    Austria, Steve [R]
Aye     MN-6    Bachmann, Michele [R]
Aye     AL-6    Bachus, Spencer [R]
Aye     PA-11   Barletta, Lou [R]
Aye     GA-12   Barrow, John [D]
Aye     MD-6    Bartlett, Roscoe [R]
Aye     TX-6    Barton, Joe [R]
Aye     MI-1    Benishek, Dan [R]
Aye     ND-0    Berg, Rick [R]
Aye     IL-13   Biggert, Judy [R]
Aye     CA-50   Bilbray, Brian [R]
Aye     FL-9    Bilirakis, Gus [R]
Aye     UT-1    Bishop, Rob [R]
Aye     TN-6    Black, Diane [R]
Aye     TN-7    Blackburn, Marsha [R]
Aye     AL-1    Bonner, Jo [R]
Aye     CA-45   Bono Mack, Mary [R]
Aye     OK-2    Boren, Dan [D]
Aye     IA-3    Boswell, Leonard [D]
Aye     LA-7    Boustany, Charles [R]
Aye     TX-8    Brady, Kevin [R]
Aye     AL-5    Brooks, Mo [R]
Aye     GA-10   Broun, Paul [R]
Aye     FL-13   Buchanan, Vern [R]
Aye     IN-8    Bucshon, Larry [R]
Aye     NY-25   Buerkle, Ann Marie [R]
Aye     TX-26   Burgess, Michael [R]
Aye     IN-5    Burton, Dan [R]
Aye     CA-44   Calvert, Ken [R]
Aye     MI-4    Camp, David [R]
Aye     CA-48   Campbell, John [R]
Aye     TX-23   Canseco, Francisco [R]
Aye     VA-7    Cantor, Eric [R]
Aye     WV-2    Capito, Shelley [R]
Aye     CA-18   Cardoza, Dennis [D]
Aye     IN-7    Carson, André [D]
Aye     TX-31   Carter, John [R]
Aye     OH-1    Chabot, Steven [R]
Aye     UT-3    Chaffetz, Jason [R]
Aye     KY-6    Chandler, Ben [D]
Aye     NC-6    Coble, Howard [R]
Aye     CO-6    Coffman, Mike [R]
Aye     OK-4    Cole, Tom [R]
Aye     TX-11   Conaway, K. [R]
Aye     CA-20   Costa, Jim [D]
Aye     IL-12   Costello, Jerry [D]
Aye     MN-8    Cravaack, Chip [R]
Aye     AR-1    Crawford, Eric [R]
Aye     FL-4    Crenshaw, Ander [R]
Aye     PA-12   Critz, Mark [D]
Aye     TX-28   Cuellar, Henry [D]
Aye     TX-7    Culberson, John [R]
Aye     KY-4    Davis, Geoff [R]
Aye     CA-19   Denham, Jeff [R]
Aye     PA-15   Dent, Charles [R]
Aye     TN-4    DesJarlais, Scott [R]
Aye     FL-21   Diaz-Balart, Mario [R]
Aye     IL-10   Dold, Bob [R]
Aye     IN-2    Donnelly, Joe [D]
Aye     CA-26   Dreier, David [R]
Aye     WI-7    Duffy, Sean [R]
Aye     SC-3    Duncan, Jeff [R]
Aye     TN-2    Duncan, John [R]
Aye     NC-2    Ellmers, Renee [R]
Aye     MO-8    Emerson, Jo Ann [R]
Aye     TX-27   Farenthold, Blake [R]
Aye     TN-8    Fincher, Stephen [R]
Aye     AZ-6    Flake, Jeff [R]
Aye     LA-4    Fleming, John [R]
Aye     TX-17   Flores, Bill [R]
Aye     NC-5    Foxx, Virginia [R]
Aye     AZ-2    Franks, Trent [R]
Aye     NJ-11   Frelinghuysen, Rodney [R]
Aye     CA-24   Gallegly, Elton [R]
Aye     CO-4    Gardner, Cory [R]
Aye     NJ-5    Garrett, Scott [R]
Aye     PA-6    Gerlach, Jim [R]
Aye     OH-18   Gibbs, Bob [R]
Aye     NY-20   Gibson, Chris [R]
Aye     GA-11   Gingrey, John [R]
Aye     TX-1    Gohmert, Louis [R]
Aye     VA-6    Goodlatte, Robert [R]
Aye     AZ-1    Gosar, Paul [R]
Aye     SC-4    Gowdy, Trey [R]
Aye     TX-12   Granger, Kay [R]
Aye     MO-6    Graves, Samuel [R]
Aye     GA-9    Graves, Tom [R]
Aye     AR-2    Griffin, Tim [R]
Aye     VA-9    Griffith, H. [R]
Aye     NY-13   Grimm, Michael [R]
Aye     NH-1    Guinta, Frank [R]
Aye     KY-2    Guthrie, Brett [R]
Aye     TX-4    Hall, Ralph [R]
Aye     NY-24   Hanna, Richard [R]
Aye     MS-3    Harper, Gregg [R]
Aye     MD-1    Harris, Andy [R]
Aye     MO-4    Hartzler, Vicky [R]
Aye     WA-4    Hastings, Doc [R]
Aye     NV-3    Heck, Joe [R]
Aye     NV-2    Heller, Dean [R]
Aye     TX-5    Hensarling, Jeb [R]
Aye     CA-2    Herger, Walter [R]
Aye     WA-3    Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R]
Aye     PA-17   Holden, Tim [D]
Aye     KS-1    Huelskamp, Tim [R]
Aye     MI-2    Huizenga, Bill [R]
Aye     IL-14   Hultgren, Randy [R]
Aye     CA-52   Hunter, Duncan [R]
Aye     VA-5    Hurt, Robert [R]
Aye     CA-49   Issa, Darrell [R]
Aye     KS-2    Jenkins, Lynn [R]
Aye     OH-6    Johnson, Bill [R]
Aye     TX-3    Johnson, Samuel [R]
Aye     NC-3    Jones, Walter [R]
Aye     OH-4    Jordan, Jim [R]
Aye     PA-3    Kelly, Mike [R]
Aye     WI-3    Kind, Ronald [D]
Aye     NY-3    King, Peter [R]
Aye     IA-5    King, Steve [R]
Aye     GA-1    Kingston, Jack [R]
Aye     IL-11   Kinzinger, Adam [R]
Aye     MN-2    Kline, John [R]
Aye     ID-1    Labrador, Raúl [R]
Aye     CO-5    Lamborn, Doug [R]
Aye     LA-3    Landry, Jeff [R]
Aye     OK-5    Lankford, James [R]
Aye     IA-4    Latham, Thomas [R]
Aye     OH-5    Latta, Robert [R]
Aye     CA-41   Lewis, Jerry [R]
Aye     MO-7    Long, Billy [R]
Aye     OK-3    Lucas, Frank [R]
Aye     MO-9    Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R]
Aye     WY-0    Lummis, Cynthia [R]
Aye     CA-3    Lungren, Daniel [R]
Aye     FL-14   Mack, Connie [R]
Aye     IL-16   Manzullo, Donald [R]
Aye     TX-24   Marchant, Kenny [R]
Aye     PA-10   Marino, Thomas [R]
Aye     UT-2    Matheson, Jim [D]
Aye     CA-22   McCarthy, Kevin [R]
Aye     TX-10   McCaul, Michael [R]
Aye     CA-4    McClintock, Tom [R]
Aye     MI-11   McCotter, Thaddeus [R]
Aye     NC-10   McHenry, Patrick [R]
Aye     CA-25   McKeon, Howard [R]
Aye     WV-1    McKinley, David [R]
Aye     WA-5    McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R]
Aye     PA-7    Meehan, Patrick [R]
Aye     FL-7    Mica, John [R]
Aye     MI-10   Miller, Candice [R]
Aye     CA-42   Miller, Gary [R]
Aye     FL-1    Miller, Jeff [R]
Aye     SC-5    Mulvaney, Mick [R]
Aye     PA-18   Murphy, Tim [R]
Aye     NC-9    Myrick, Sue [R]
Aye     TX-19   Neugebauer, Randy [R]
Aye     SD-0    Noem, Kristi [R]
Aye     FL-5    Nugent, Richard [R]
Aye     CA-21   Nunes, Devin [R]
Aye     MS-1    Nunnelee, Alan [R]
Aye     TX-22   Olson, Pete [R]
Aye     NY-23   Owens, William [D]
Aye     MS-4    Palazzo, Steven [R]
Aye     NM-2    Pearce, Steven [R]
Aye     IN-6    Pence, Mike [R]
Aye     MN-7    Peterson, Collin [D]
Aye     WI-6    Petri, Thomas [R]
Aye     PA-16   Pitts, Joseph [R]
Aye     PA-19   Platts, Todd [R]
Aye     TX-2    Poe, Ted [R]
Aye     KS-4    Pompeo, Mike [R]
Aye     FL-15   Posey, Bill [R]
Aye     GA-6    Price, Tom [R]
Aye     WV-3    Rahall, Nick [D]
Aye     NY-29   Reed, Tom [R]
Aye     MT-0    Rehberg, Dennis [R]
Aye     OH-16   Renacci, Jim [R]
Aye     WI-8    Ribble, Reid [R]
Aye     FL-25   Rivera, David [R]
Aye     AL-2    Roby, Martha [R]
Aye     TN-1    Roe, Phil [R]
Aye     KY-5    Rogers, Harold [R]
Aye     AL-3    Rogers, Michael [R]
Aye     MI-8    Rogers, Michael [R]
Aye     CA-46   Rohrabacher, Dana [R]
Aye     IN-4    Rokita, Todd [R]
Aye     FL-16   Rooney, Thomas [R]
Aye     IL-6    Roskam, Peter [R]
Aye     FL-18   Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R]
Aye     FL-12   Ross, Dennis [R]
Aye     AR-4    Ross, Mike [D]
Aye     CA-40   Royce, Edward [R]
Aye     NJ-3    Runyan, Jon [R]
Aye     WI-1    Ryan, Paul [R]
Aye     LA-1    Scalise, Steve [R]
Aye     IL-17   Schilling, Robert [R]
Aye     OH-2    Schmidt, Jean [R]
Aye     IL-18   Schock, Aaron [R]
Aye     AZ-5    Schweikert, David [R]
Aye     GA-8    Scott, Austin [R]
Aye     SC-1    Scott, Tim [R]
Aye     WI-5    Sensenbrenner, F. [R]
Aye     TX-32   Sessions, Peter [R]
Aye     IL-19   Shimkus, John [R]
Aye     PA-9    Shuster, William [R]
Aye     ID-2    Simpson, Michael [R]
Aye     NE-3    Smith, Adrian [R]
Aye     TX-21   Smith, Lamar [R]
Aye     FL-2    Southerland, Steve [R]
Aye     FL-6    Stearns, Clifford [R]
Aye     OH-15   Stivers, Steve [R]
Aye     IN-3    Stutzman, Marlin [R]
Aye     OK-1    Sullivan, John [R]
Aye     NE-2    Terry, Lee [R]
Aye     PA-5    Thompson, Glenn [R]
Aye     TX-13   Thornberry, William [R]
Aye     OH-12   Tiberi, Patrick [R]
Aye     CO-3    Tipton, Scott [R]
Aye     MI-6    Upton, Frederick [R]
Aye     MI-7    Walberg, Timothy [R]
Aye     OR-2    Walden, Greg [R]
Aye     IL-8    Walsh, Joe [R]
Aye     MN-1    Walz, Timothy [D]
Aye     FL-8    Webster, Daniel [R]
Aye     FL-22   West, Allen [R]
Aye     GA-3    Westmoreland, Lynn [R]
Aye     KY-1    Whitfield, Edward [R]
Aye     SC-2    Wilson, Addison [R]
Aye     AR-3    Womack, Steve [R]
Aye     GA-7    Woodall, Rob [R]
Aye     KS-3    Yoder, Kevin [R]
Aye     FL-10   Young, C. W. [R]
Aye     AK-0    Young, Donald [R]
Aye     IN-9    Young, Todd [R]

Didn't Vote
Not Voting      AZ-8    Giffords, Gabrielle [D]
Not Voting      CA-36   Harman, Jane [D]
Not Voting      TX-15   Hinojosa, Rubén [D]
Not Voting      NY-4    McCarthy, Carolyn [D]
Not Voting      MN-4    McCollum, Betty [D]
Not Voting      TX-14   Paul, Ronald [R]
Not Voting      MI-9    Peters, Gary [D]
Not Voting      AZ-3    Quayle, Ben [R]
Not Voting      NJ-13   Sires, Albio [D]
Not Voting      CA-13   Stark, Fortney [D]
Not Voting      FL-17   Wilson, Frederica [D]

Lisa Evans
Senior Administrative Counsel
21 Ocean Ave.
Marblehead, MA 01945
T: (781) 631-4119
F: (212) 918-1556

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Yes, Virginia, This Dirty Coal Bill Is a Bad Bar Room Romance

Yes, Virginia, This Dirty Coal Bill Is a Bad Bar Room Romance

From Huff Po

Jeff Biggers

Posted: February 2, 2011 10:51 PM

Taking their cue from the widely disgraced West Virginia politicos and Big Coal lobbyists, some legislators in Virginia are courting a bad regulatory romance bill that could cost the state dearly -- the morning after. 

And the nation is watching: In the face of countless studies that link water quality to devastating cancer rates, health care crises and environmental destruction in the coalfields, a handful of Virginia politicians appear more intent on providing loopholes to circumvent growing national concern over clean water laws than to protect their own citizens -- and their own state budget.

If the coal industry gets its way, the state of Virginia just might have to abandon its tourist slogan -- Virginia is for Lovers -- and its long-time promotion of its mountain ranges.
Under the proposed SB 1025 and HB 2123 bills, Big Coal lobbyists are making an unprecedented attempt to eliminate a Jeffersonian commitment to citizens' participation and basic regulatory oversight of clean water laws for strip-mining in their beloved mountains, by ultimately shifting control of water quality to a political appointee. In effect, according to concerned residents in the coalfields, coal lobbyists have concocted a bill that places a stranglehold on state officials by restricting the state's ability to adequately review stream monitoring or toxicity testing in permitting and enforcement actions.

"If the coal industry doesn't want state officials testing the water, what are they afraid the tests will reveal?" asked Tom Cormons, Virginia Director for Appalachian Voices. "The industry is trying to tie state officials' hands to prevent them from doing their job."
The end result could be breathtakingly costly, both in human and financial terms, for the state. According to most estimates, Virginia already subsidizes the coal industry with $45 million in taxpayer funds. Studies in similar coal states like Kentucky and West Virginia have long demonstrated how the state already shoulders huge external and legacy costs from environmental and health impacts from strip-mining.
As Justin Maxson of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development wrote in a letter to the Washington Post last spring:
In fact, coal mining jobs amount to only about 2 percent of employment in the central Appalachian region; the percentage is only slightly higher if you consider related employment. It does not account for anything approaching most of the employment. In Wise County, where The Post's story was set, there were 2,537 coal miners, or about 11 percent of total county employment, in 2004. That's fewer workers than hold jobs in retail trade (3,118).

This begs the question, especially for anyone making backroom bar room deals: If other industries, such as the liquor industry, must follow the laws and be held accountable for their actions, why shouldn't the declining coal industry have to follow basic laws? As one industry analysis has noted, the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Virginia has 735 million tons of estimated recoverable reserves of coal and 296 million tons of recoverable coal reserves at actively producing mines (EIA, 2010a). At 2008 production rates, that is enough coal to last for approximately 12 years without opening any new mines.
The response from Big Coal lobbyists winking in the corner?
Quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this week, Donald L. Ratliff, a lobbyist for Abingdon-based Alpha Natural Resources, "said he has spoken to McDonnell about EPA rules, and the administration agreed to step in as needed."
Speaking on behalf of a company with an estimated $15 billion value (after their recent move to purchase Massey Energy), Ratliff added: "We can't meet the standards that they've put on us right now. It's just too stringent."
Read that again: Assuring that the second largest coal company in the United States follows basic clean water laws is "too stringent"?
Before going through with this bad deal, Virginian legislators might want to chat with coal miners in Mingo County, West Virginia, who were trapped in an underground mine flood for 24 hours, after an Alpha subsidiary "did not regularly monitor and properly maintain the mine's system of diversion ditches," according to a MSHA report.
For more information on this landmark decision in Virginia, see the Wise Energy for Virginia updates.