Grounded's Morning Energy: May 23, 2012 - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Grounded's Morning Energy: May 23, 2012

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Here is the Grounded energy blog's round-up of some recent energy-related articles from across the web:

The Rural Blog, based at the University of Kentucky, writes about an effort rewarding an economic plan for coal counties in Eastern Kentucky. 

A leading Kentucky-based entrepreneur has started a contest among three of the state's universities to develop the best plan to foster innovation, economic development and entrepreneurship in nine Eastern Kentucky coalfield counties that are some of the poorest in the nation: Bell, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin and Pike. Rural blog.

A "massive explosion" at a coal mine in Wyoming shook the Earth and was felt as far as Europe. The company that set the charge, the Billings Gazette reports, has been issued federal and state violations for the blasts.

The DEQ violations state that the mine intended to set off 26,852 pounds of explosives during a routine cast blast, a procedure designed to knock out large amounts of rock and soil above a coal seam.

However, the department said that upon detonation shortly after 11 a.m., explosives adjacent to the blast area were also accidentally set off, creating a blast in excess of the legal limit of 85,308 pounds of explosives.

The explosion was so large that some Gillette residents felt the ground shake from 16 miles away, according to the Associated Press. Read more.

We here at the State Journal didn't attend the state's kick-off coal forum on Tuesday. Taylor was at a Chamber of Commerce Environmental Conference and Pam was attending a geothermal conference in Flatwoods. The Gazette and Daily Mail both covered the events.

From Ken Ward Jr.:  "Industry and political leaders on Tuesday launched a three-city tour they hope will generate more vocal opposition from West Virginians to Obama administration proposals to reduce coal's impacts on water and air quality, public health and global warming." (Gazette)

From Jared Hunt: "The West Virginia Coal Forum held the first of three statewide events billed as "Stop the EPA's War on Coal" in Charleston Tuesday to encourage more public action and support for the industry. "(Daily Mail)

The National Geographic put together a story on carbon capture's unclear future. Without significant development in technology and reduction in cost, the technology may not make it coal-fired plants before environmental regulation and other market forces significantly dent the coal sector. 

"Many companies have determined that expensive CCS operations simply aren't worth the investment without government mandates or revenue from carbon prices set far higher than those currently found at the main operational market, the European Trading System, or other fledgling markets. According to a recentWorldwatch Institute report, only eight large-scale, fully integrated CCS projects are actually operational, and that number has not increased in three years." National Geographic article. 

The coming expiration wind production tax credits appears to have another chance, the Hill's Energy and Environment blog wrote. 

"The White House is pulling out all stops — or at least, plenty of stops — to build pressure on Congress to extend expiring tax credits that are vital to the wind energy industry.

President Obama will ramp up his call for extension of the production tax credit in a speech at an Iowa turbine blade maker on Thursday." E2 Wire.

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