Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘Coal’ tag

Colorado Citizens Concerned about Move from Coal to Natural Gas

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Darn, this looked like such a positive move from so many angles, but it’s hard to argue against people who have valid concerns that this move could raise their utility prices or, much worse, threaten their jobs.

The volatility in prices is difficult to control, but is it possible that a slow reduction in coal mining could lead to a smooth retraining for these people into jobs, even within the energy industry, that are safer for Coloradans as well as the people who work in the mines?

These people’s concerns certainly have merit, and I haven’t looked deeply enough into the particulars to offer much insight, but this is a typical example of stakeholders in a somewhat antiquated system fearing change, not because they don’t believe it will be better for all in the long run, but because they fear it will be worse for them in particular in the near future.

If solutions to problems like this one can be found, they could be applied in so many places all over the country in the coming years.

Western Coloradans air concerns on Xcel energy plan

Associated Press
08/30/10 10:00 PM PDT

GRAND JUNCTION, COLO. — Many western Coloradans are urging state regulators to reject moves to switch from coal to natural gas as the fuel to generate electricity.
About 300 people turned out Monday night for a hearing in Grand Junction on a new state law aimed at using natural gas to fuel power plants in efforts to cut power plant emissions. Xcel Energy, the state’s largest producer of electricity, has announced a $1.3 billion plan to convert coal-fired power plants to natural gas in Denver and close a coal plant in Boulder.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

August 1st, 2010 at 8:06 am

Debate crowd expresses feelings: Coal workers come out in support of industry

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Here’s some follow up on a recent post about the debate between lawyer and environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr., and Ron Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy.

Jan 22 – McClatchy-Tribune Regional News – Billy Wolfe Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.

Although attendees of Thursday night’s debate between Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship and environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr. were asked to remain silent during the discussion, those who watched the debate on a projector screen in the Eddie King Gymnasium next door were free to express their feelings.


Dressed in their work clothes, dozens of coal industry workers filed into the upper bleachers in the gymnasium, creating a field of blue coveralls and orange reflective mining gear.

Several of Blankenship’s comments received loud cheering, while the applause from Kennedy’s supporters was more subdued.


Melissa Waage, Washington, D.C., campaign manager for the Natural Resources Defense Council, was one of a small group of Kennedy supporters to watch the debate in the gymnasium. She said Blankenship failed to provide enough substantive data to back up his arguments.


But Patrick Bruffy, a 33-year veteran of the coal industry, said Blankenship was right to defend the environmental stewardship of coal producers.

“Some of the most beautiful places I have been to in this state are reclaimed strip mines,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 30th, 2010 at 11:44 am

Mountaintop Mining: Coal Baron Debates a Kennedy

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If the damage to water quality is as bad from mountain top mining as many say it is, the paychecks these miners earn could have to go to their rising health care costs.

Coal baron vs. Kennedy: Activists, industry in mountaintop mining debate for wide US audience

By TIM HUBER and TOM BREEN Associated Press Writers
CHARLESTON, W.Va. January 22, 2010 (AP)

The real audience for the debate between coal baron Don Blankenship and conservationist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was not the hundreds who packed the audience at the University of Charleston.


For Blankenship, mountaintop mining puts food on the table and mortgage checks in the mail. For Kennedy, it defaces majestic scenery, pollutes water and shatters the quiet country existence of people who’ve called the mountains home for generations.


“If we can’t have intelligent discourse about the most important issues we face, where are we?” he said. “If we can help people understand it’s a hard issue, that’s a major step forward.”

Read the entire article here.