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How's Obama Doing on Our Transition from Dirty Coal to Clean Energy?

Here's a list of 10 actions that are good, bad and a little confusing.

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"I think that it is possible for us to create a set of clean energy mechanisms that allow us to use things not just like oil sands, but also coal," he said. "The United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal, but we have our own homegrown problems in terms of dealing with a cheap energy source that creates a big carbon footprint."

3) Converting the Capitol Power Plant: Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid Deal With the "Dark Shadow" Over the Capitol
February 26, 2009

In anticipation of the largest civil disobedience action against coal and climate destabilization in late February, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid instructed the Acting Architect of the Capitol to convert the 100-year-old coal-fired dinosaur plant to natural gas--a first step, albeit a non-renewable one. They wrote:

"The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide. The conversion will also reduce the cost of storing and transporting coal as well as the costs associated with cleaning up the fly ash and waste. Eliminating coal from the fuel mixture should also assist the City of Washington, D.C., in meeting and complying with national air quality standards, and demonstrate that Congress can be a good and conscientious neighbor by mitigating health concerns for residents and workers around Capitol Hill."

4) The Sword of Damocles to Clean Coal Guardians: James Hansen on Coal Death Trains
February 15, 2009

In an oped in the UK Guardian, NASA climatologist James Hansen spelled out his scientific conclusions in no uncertain terms:

"Coal is not only the largest fossil fuel reservoir of carbon dioxide, it is the dirtiest fuel.
Coal is polluting the world's oceans and streams with mercury, arsenic and other dangerous
chemicals. The dirtiest trick that governments play on their citizens is the pretense that they are working on "clean coal" or that they will build power plants that are "capture ready" in case technology is ever developed to capture all pollutants. The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death."

5) EPA: TVA Time for Coal Ash Regulations
March 9th, 2009

After last December's TVA coal ash pond disaster reminded the nation that coal ash had not been classified as a hazardous material and properly regulated, and that half of the nation and our water supply rested within an hour of a coal ash pond, EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced: "Environmental disasters like the one last December in Kingston should never happen anywhere in this country. That is why we are announcing several actions to help us properly protect the families who live near these facilities and the places where they live, work, play, and learn."

Specifically, the EPA would:

--gather critical coal ash impoundment information from electrical utilities nationwide,
--conduct on-site assessments to determine structural integrity and vulnerabilities,
--order cleanup and repairs where needed, and
--develop new regulations for future safety.

6) Mountaintop Removal: An Agonizingly Slow Sorta Maybe Kinda Regulated Phase Out, or Perhaps Deliberate Steps Toward Abolishing the Most Egregious Human Rights and Environmental Betrayal of Our Times?

With three million pounds of ammonium nitrate fuel oil explosives ripping apart our continent's most diverse and ancient mountains and adjacent historic communities every day, the EPA and Department of Interior have issued a series of murky, almost contradictory announcements to either review, regulate or stop mountaintop removal operations in Appalachia--500 destroyed mountains and 30 years after this betrayal was sanctioned.

 
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