Coal

Settlement Requires Coal Plants To Get Permits With Tighter Pollution Controls

Jan 12, 2018
Carolyn Kaster / AP

In a settlement with environmental groups, the Pennsylvania Department of Environment agreed to require coal-fired power plants to obtain water pollution permits with tighter controls on toxic releases into rivers and streams that provide drinking water to millions of people.

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

While the United States burned less coal in 2017 than it had in three decades, an uptick in global demand for Appalachia’s metallurgical coal -- used in the steel making process -- helped boost production this past year, according to a new analysis by an economic research firm.

Dake Kang / AP

Coal companies in the United States boosted production of the fuel in 2017 to reverse a two-year decline.

Who Will Pay For Trump's Plan To Bail Out Coal?

Jan 4, 2018
John Raby / AP

We  all remember the financial and auto bailouts during the Great Recession. They arguably saved significant parts of the economy from even further destruction. The Trump administration says the federal government now needs to step in to prop up the coal and nuclear industries.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The priorities set by a new presidential administration dominated energy news in 2017. President Donald Trump and his cabinet set an agenda to “unleash” America’s energy potential, removing the barriers they perceive to be holding back domestic energy production -- often to the dismay of the environmental community.

Amy Sisk / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The company behind a new coal mine in Somerset County intends to open another in the area, and some residents worry the new operation could hurt their water quality.

The Keyser underground mine would produce metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel. Wilson Creek Energy, a subsidiary of Corsa Coal Corp., is seeking permits from the Department of Environmental Protection to begin operations.

Trump Administration Coal Plan Could Have Big Impact On Pennsylvania

Dec 8, 2017
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Trump administration’s plan to prop up money-losing coal and nuclear plants could have a big impact on how Pennsylvanians get their electricity. Federal regulators will now decide what to do with it.

Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Environmental officials in Pennsylvania have long focused on cleaning up the most hazardous old mines, but they plan to start addressing other abandoned mining sites that pose fewer public health dangers.

Buoyed By Trump, Some Miners Are Sticking With Coal

Nov 30, 2017
Reid Frazier / StateImpact Pennsylvania

At a gymnasium in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Trenton Phillips is looking for a job as a coal miner.

Phillips already works at a company that fixes belt lines at coal mines. 

Pennsylvania Power Grid Operator Slams Trump Plan To Aid Coal, Nuclear

Oct 24, 2017
Evan Vucci / AP

The nation's biggest electric grid operator said a Trump administration plan to change the way electricity is priced to reward coal and nuclear power is both unworkable and potentially against the law.

PJM, which operates the grid covering 65 million people from Illinois to Washington, D.C., submitted formal comments on the plan late Monday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In a conference call with reporters, PJM's president and CEO, Andy Ott, said the plan by Energy Secretary Rick Perry is not "workable."

Cliff Owen / AP

 

It’s been less than a week since U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) announced he’s resigning from Congress, and the field for a special election to fill his seat is already highly contested. Murphy was forced to resign amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which the anti-abortion lawmaker allegedly urged his mistress to get an abortion.

Revoking The Clean Power Plan Could Have A Big Impact In Pennsylvania

Oct 10, 2017
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday the EPA will formally propose to revoke the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s regulation for carbon dioxide from the electricity sector.

Oscar Sosa / AP

At least nine coal cars have derailed in McKeesport, Pa., downing some live electrical wires.

Struggling To Stay In Appalachia After Coal Layoffs

Sep 5, 2017
Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

 


Dave Hathaway is a coal miner in Greene County, in the very southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. Apart from a brief stint living in Colorado as a child, he’s lived his whole life there, and he’s never really thought much about leaving.

Kristi Jan Hoover / 90.5 WESA

The Trump administration says a Pennsylvania-based coal company has won a contract to supply coal used for heating to Ukraine's state-owned power company.

The deal announced Monday calls for Xcoal Energy and Resources to ship 700,000 tons of thermal coal to the Ukraine to heat homes and businesses. Xcoal is based in Latrobe, Westmoreland County.

The first shipment is expected to leave the Port of Baltimore next month at a cost of $113 per metric ton.

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory south of Pittsburgh are discovering valuable rare earth elements in coal waste.

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Speaking Friday at the National Energy Technology Laboratory near Pittsburgh, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry emphasized the link between energy innovation and national security and talked about what he sees as coal’s strong future.

Calling his position as energy secretary “the coolest job” he’s ever had, Perry thanked the standing room-only crowd of scientists and researchers for their work in advancing energy technology, specifically when it comes to coal.

Dake Kang / AP

City leaders say they want to streamline tax abatement programs for developers willing to take risks in historically underserved neighborhoods.

Trump Touts A New PA Mine, But Is Coal Actually Rebounding?

Jun 8, 2017
Reid R. Frazier / Allegheny Front

Matt Owens stands at the bottom of a freshly dug hole, about the size of a football field, cut 120 feet deep into a hillside in Somerset County. The pit will soon become the entrance to the Acosta Deep mine.

NRG Energy

When Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt visited a Greene County coal mine last week, he said, to applause, “the war on coal is done.”

Margaret J. Krauss / 90.5 WESA

Emerald Mine sits dormant just beyond the boundary of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, about 50 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. Conveyor belts undulate over hundreds of yards of open land. After 38 years of continuous operation, the mine closed in 2015. Danny Ollum remembers the last time it was quiet there.  “I used to play Little League baseball where that coal mine was. It was called the Emerald Field. Years ago. And then next thing you know, boom. A coal mine comes up.”

 

Carolyn Kaster / AP

A coal company has laid off 200 miners in Pennsylvania because of a state environmental ruling that limits mining beneath a park creek in western Pennsylvania.

Mining Permit In State Park Halted By Judge

Jan 25, 2017
Friends of Ryerson State Park / Facebook

A judge has ordered a halt to mining underneath a state park in Greene County. Environmental Hearing Board Judge Steven C. Beckman issued the order Tuesday, regarding a Consol Energy plan to expand its Bailey mine complex beneath Ryerson Station State Park. Environmental groups had argued the plan would have damaged a high-quality stream in the park.

Why Trump Probably Can't Bring Back Coal (Or Kill Renewables, Either)

Nov 14, 2016
Steve Helber / AP

Donald Trump's shocking victory in the 2016 presidential election will have reverberations on many aspects of American life. But many say one of the most serious is what it will mean for energy and environmental issues.

VIDEO: Exploring The Collapse Of Coal

Oct 14, 2016
Allegheny Front

Less than a decade ago, the coal industry was at its peak. Today, American coal is in crisis. Production is down. Bankruptcies have swept across the industry. But how exactly did things get so bad, so fast? What will now happen to America’s coal towns? And who will be left to clean up hundreds of old coal mines? The Allegheny Front teamed up with the public media initiative Inside Energy to explore what the collapse of coal looks like for communities across the country.

WATCH: The Collapse Of Coal

States Suing Over Climate Change Plan Get Their Day In Court

Sep 29, 2016
Dennis Hendricks / Flickr

  

Climate change barely got a mention in Monday’s presidential debate, but it was a big week in the history of the nation’s climate policy.

On Tuesday, a panel of ten judges on a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. heard arguments on the Clean Power Plan — the cornerstone of President Obama’s effort to curb climate change.

A panel of judges Tuesday is hearing a case that could change the future of the power industry.

The D.C. Circuit is hearing an appeal of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration rule that would restrict carbon emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants.

Mahanoy City: The End Of Coal Country

Sep 21, 2016
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

On episode 01 of Grapple, we explore how Mahanoy City transformed from a vibrant coal town into a distressed community struggling with job loss, low home values, blight, and fire. 

Russell Lee (Public Domain), via Wikimedia Commons

Roughly 100,000 retired coal miners across the U.S. are collecting pensions, but there isn’t enough money left in the system.

Some coal miners are planning to rally in Washington D.C. Thursday in an effort to convince lawmakers to release nearly $300 million in federal funds needed to shore up deleted pension programs. About 12,000 retired miners in Pennsylvania stand to benefit from it.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

There are thousands of abandoned coal mines dotting the landscape of Pennsylvania, and many of them leak water tainted with toxic metals like iron and manganese, which seeps into streams and groundwater.

 

It’s been a long, expensive process for the state to clean up the acid mine drainage. But state environmental officials now say an alternative method of remediation -- constructed wetlands -- could remove iron and manganese from mine drainage at a much lower cost.

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