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Thread: Coal & Wyoming

  1. #1
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    Default Coal & Wyoming

    EDITORIAL: Wyoming clings to past in dispute over coal

    May 7—The difficulty of transitioning the United States from coal can be seen in Wyoming.

    Despite evidence that demand for coal is declining and that renewable energy is becoming less expensive than fossil fuels, Wyoming officials are clinging to the past. Lawmakers recently approved a $1.2 million fund earmarked for suing other states that block coal imports and cause Wyoming coal-fired plants to shut down.

    Washington is likely to witness the impact of the fund. Last year, Wyoming and Montana asked the U.S. Supreme Court to override the rejection of a coal export dock along the Columbia River. Millennium Bulk Terminals had sought a coal terminal in Longview, but state regulators denied necessary permits.

    The Supreme Court has not decided whether to hear the case. Meanwhile, Millennium Bulk Terminals has filed for bankruptcy, likely killing the terminal project.

    The frustration of Wyoming leaders is understandable; the state accounts for 40 percent of U.S. coal production, and mining is the state's largest industry. Tax revenue from fossil fuels accounts for half the state's budget.

    But the threat of climate change demands that the United States quickly transition away from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy infrastructure that will provide jobs now and in the future.

    The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration writes: "Human activities have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, amplifying Earth's natural greenhouse effect. . . . Carbon dioxide levels today are higher than at any point in at least the past 800,000 years."

    Beyond the moral imperative of reducing carbon emissions, states should recognize the economic realties of coal extraction. Many power plants have eschewed coal in favor of natural gas — also a fossil fuel — and production from wind and solar power continues to increase. As the Associated Press reports: "Solar and wind power also are on the rise as coal's share of the U.S. power market shrinks from about half in the early 2000s to less than 20 percent now."

    In March, the New York Times reported on one of the nation's largest wind farms coming to Wyoming's Carbon County. As a former county commissioner says: "You can stand at the tracks when the train is coming at you, or you can stand at the switch. I chose to stand at the switch."

    Despite archaic efforts by then-President Donald Trump to boost the coal industry, declines have continued. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the industry supported 50,900 jobs in 2016; by the end of 2020, that number was 44,100.

    These facts have been much detailed and often repeated. But Wyoming's quixotic quest to preserve the coal industry adds a new twist.

    States have a right to sue other states, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the barring of goods and services based on the state of origin. But that is different from regulating or prohibiting certain goods regardless of their origin, such as fossil fuels.

    Connie Wilbert, director of the Sierra Club's Wyoming chapter, told the Associated Press: "Coal is on the way out. The sooner our elected leadership acknowledges that and starts looking for things the state can do to actually help us through the transition, the better."

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/editorial...140200925.html
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    according to the doe, last year wyoming, the largest coal-producing state in the united states, produced 39% of total u.s. coal

    why would they need to import coal?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    according to the doe, last year wyoming, the largest coal-producing state in the united states, produced 39% of total u.s. coal

    why would they need to import coal?
    Did you get the impression they wanted import coal?
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    uhhh. . .

    lead paragraph of your linked story:
    Lawmakers recently approved a $1.2 million fund earmarked for suing other states that block coal imports and cause Wyoming coal-fired plants to shut down.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    uhhh. . .

    lead paragraph of your linked story:
    Gotcha. I thought you were saying imported to Wyoming. But my read is that the coal companies that run the state don't limit their suppliers to in-state sources. They are struggling mightily, and calling in all their chips, to save the industry. The whole industry... in the face of the push toward both natural gas, and renewables. Which means not just WY suppliers, but any that will make them money. Which is why they were pushing for the import terminal on the Columbia Rivers. I'm happy to say that seems to be squelched for now (though such notions tend to be like cockroaches - just when you think you've eradicated them, up they pop again).

    But no one, as I understand it, wants to import coal to Wyoming.

    Or, to put a different spin on it - analogous to Georgia Pacific promoting lumber imports from Canahoodia.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Gotcha. I thought you were saying imported to Wyoming. But my read is that the coal companies that run the state don't limit their suppliers to in-state sources. They are struggling mightily, and calling in all their chips, to save the industry. The whole industry... in the face of the push toward both natural gas, and renewables. Which means not just WY suppliers, but any that will make them money. Which is why they were pushing for the import terminal on the Columbia Rivers. I'm happy to say that seems to be squelched for now (though such notions tend to be like cockroaches - just when you think you've eradicated them, up they pop again).

    But no one, as I understand it, wants to import coal to Wyoming.


    Or, to put a different spin on it - analogous to Georgia Pacific promoting lumber imports from Canahoodia.
    Well, that would be like sending coals to Newcastle, innit?
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    In the grand scheme of things NG isn’t much better than coal.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    The Longview terminal is an EXPORT terminal, for shipping to Asia. Currently the only NW export coal terminal is in Vancouver, though there may be one at Prince Rupert. Coal has also been exported from Long Beach California. Nobody is importing thermal (power plant) coal, though somebody may be importing "met" (metallurgical) coal for steelmaking.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    seems to me that with all it's wide open land, Wyoming would be a good place to plant windmills.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

    -Dalai Lama

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Haberland View Post
    seems to me that with all it's wide open land, Wyoming would be a good place to plant windmills.
    Seems like it. I know a while ago there were at least 2 big projects. Probably more now... but who knows how much pushback there is. The state govt. really IS controlled by cattle & coal.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Wouldn't cattle graze peacefully in the same field as windmills?
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

    -Dalai Lama

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Haberland View Post
    Wouldn't cattle graze peacefully in the same field as windmills?
    Nahh, it’s carnage. Dead cows everywhere from windmill cancer or flying into them. Horrible, just horrible.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    In the grand scheme of things NG isn’t much better than coal.
    It is, actually. About half the CO2 per unit of energy, and no other nasty emissions. Maybe not good enough, but better.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    It is, actually. Far less CO2 per unit of energy, and it burns clean. Maybe not good enough, but better.
    Sure out the tailpipe it’s much cleaner, esp w no ash to deal with. It’s the methane leaks from fracking to furnace I’m thinking about.


    Biden is returning to Obama methane abatement programs which is great, Trump/Pruitt were an obscenity.

    I’ll go read up on it.

    Yep, from a market and marketing standpoint NG is a winner but for GHG emissions it’s no more a solution than fracking is to oil depletion. NG can run cars, coal can’t. NG leaves no ash problem in power plants and much cheaper transportation costs but methane does leak along the way. The huge increase in NG production displaces coal for all kinds of reasons but reducing GHG really isn’t one of them. Sure it reduces pollution at the plant which is worthwhile but global warming was never about smog, it’s about million year old carbon getting dumped into the cycle and methane will help accelerate the problem. I’d rather have NG with stringent methane emissions than coal but I don’t think it’ll reduce GHG emissions overall when every effort is made to increase NG production worldwide.


    https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/env...ts-natural-gas

    Whether natural gas has lower life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than coal and oil depends on the assumed leakage rate, the global warming potential of methane over different time frames, the energy conversion efficiency, and other factors [5]. One recent study found that methane losses must be kept below 3.2 percent for natural gas power plants to have lower life cycle emissions than new coal plants over short time frames of 20 years or fewer [6]. And if burning natural gas in vehicles is to deliver even marginal benefits, methane losses must be kept below 1 percent and 1.6 percent compared with diesel fuel and gasoline, respectively. Technologies are available to reduce much of the leaking methane, but deploying such technology would require new policies and investments [7].

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/s...ling-ice-cores

    Because of its characteristics, natural gas has been often been touted as a “bridge fuel” to help smooth the transition to a carbon-neutral energy future. Natural gas plants fill energy needs today while renewable or carbon-negative technologies develop.

    “The question is: Is this a bridge fuel, or is it going to be around for a very long time?” says Sheila Olmstead, an environmental economist at the University of Texas at Austin. “The market is telling us it’s probably going to be around for a long time.”

    However, the climate cost of natural gas has relied on a basic assumption: There are less total carbon emissions from natural gas than from other sources. But in recent years a flotilla of scientific studies have brought that assumption into question, primarily by looking at how much gas is lost during the production process.
    .
    .
    If there are very few leaks or losses along the way—less than a few percent of the total amount of gas recovered—the math breaks even or comes out ahead. But if that “leakage rate” climbs over more than about 1 percent of the total gas recovered, the budget gets fuzzy, says Robert Howarth, a climate scientist at Cornell.

    One recent study found that the widely used “leakage rate” of gas in the U.S. natural gas production process could be over 2 percent. Others, looking at specific “super emitters” in major drilling regions of the US, have found even more leakage.

    “Over the past few years of research I’d say the whole argument for methane for a bridge fuel is really gone,” says Howarth. “But if we go back and say we really do need natural gas for a while, that calculation depends on methane’s break-even point. And we’re not sure we’re close to that.”

    It’s critical to phase out CO2 emissions, stresses Jessika Trancik, an energy expert at MIT, because that’s the stuff that will keep the planet locked in for long-term warming. But for the climate goals the world is scrambling to hit right now—keeping air temperatures from soaring the 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) temperature goals from the 2015 Paris Agreement—it’s also critical to keep any extra methane from leaking into the atmosphere.

    “It’s impossible to hit those climate targets with methane in the mix,” says Lena Höglund Isaksson, a greenhouse gas expert at Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    Last edited by LeeG; 05-08-2021 at 10:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    It is, actually. About half the CO2 per unit of energy, and no other nasty emissions. Maybe not good enough, but better.
    Agreed. It is much better than coal. But still not good enough.

    Like, if you're trying to jump a canyon 30' wide, and coal gets you 10', and natural gas gets you 20'...

    Well, in the long run, there's not much point in talking about which is better when neither one is good enough.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    I'd say it's OK for a transition; buys some time. Methane leaks are a problem. We can all agree that coal is about the worst possible energy source at this point.

    Another example of the principle that it's difficult to get a person to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 05-08-2021 at 10:42 AM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    It is, actually. About half the CO2 per unit of energy, and no other nasty emissions. Maybe not good enough, but better.
    Does NG come from open pit mines like coal from Wyoming?


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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Oooh, ain't that purty. I have a lot of ancestors who mined coal, and it will be a good day when the last coal miner takes another job.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Bring on the NG, then?

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Replacing coal with natural gas is an improvement. Replacing either of them with wind or solar or other renewable non-CO2 producing sources is a bigger improvement.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    My wife doesn't give much for my sense of estetics, but I actually think that open coal mine has some brutal beauty to it. Anyway, the coal should stay in the ground.
    / Erik

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Does NG come from open pit mines like coal from Wyoming?

    No, it comes from unicorns that eat cotton candy. GHG emissions and point source pollution aren’t the same topic. Just because NG is invisible or combustion products are relatively low polluting doesn’t mean it’s GHG emissions from extraction to burning are negligible compared to coal.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    I'd say it's OK for a transition; buys some time. Methane leaks are a problem. We can all agree that coal is about the worst possible energy source at this point.

    Another example of the principle that it's difficult to get a person to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding.
    If you are referring to me we could go there but it’s a distraction from the actual topic.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    If you are referring to me we could go there but it’s a distraction from the actual topic.
    Oh, no, not you at all! I was referring to those defending coal.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Agreed. It is much better than coal. But still not good enough.

    Like, if you're trying to jump a canyon 30' wide, and coal gets you 10', and natural gas gets you 20'...

    Well, in the long run, there's not much point in talking about which is better when neither one is good enough.

    Tom
    Kinda depends on what your canyon represents.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Oh, no, not you at all! I was referring to those defending coal.
    sorry, I think my breakfast just wore off.

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    Kinda depends on what your canyon represents.
    It's meant to represent a world-wide worst-case scenario as to the consequences of climate change, which (I think) are still at least theoretically preventable. Sticking to coal certainly won't prevent it. Neither will switching to natural gas.

    Tom
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    www.tompamperin.com

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    It's meant to represent a world-wide worst-case scenario as to the consequences of climate change, which (I think) are still at least theoretically preventable. Sticking to coal certainly won't prevent it. Neither will switching to natural gas.

    Tom
    It's a faulty analogy. In two particulars. Can you tell us what they are?
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    So why will not being able to export coal cause the coal fired power plants to shut down?

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    Default Re: Coal & Wyoming

    I thought this was going to be about Wyoming, the coal schooner

    E0AFE65E-A9A8-4DCB-9341-7E395D37FE26.jpg
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyoming_(schooner)

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