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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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And then, in answering a question that 2010 guidance could produce 10% less, and have an impact the high head count, a Massey executive simply responded with the bottom line of profiteers: "I think the answer would be that we will be able to reduce the workforce with attrition fairly markedly," and, "we also will cut back on salaries."

Bottom line: More coal mining jobs have been lost to the volatile energy markets and profit margins of multinational corporations like Massey or Peabody Energy, which recorded an 8-fold increase in profits in its 2008 4th quarter, than any environmental laws.

9) Georgia On My Mind: Coal-fired Plant Converting to Biomass; Salazar on Offshore Wind; FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff
March 26, 2009, April 6, 2009 and April 22, 2009

As the BioFuels Digest reported this spring: "In Georgia, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Georgia Power Company's request to convert the Plant Mitchell Unit 3 to a 96 MW biomass power plant, from coal. The unit will utilize wood biomass drawn from a 100 mile radius around the plant, and is scheduled to complete conversion by 2012. In other biomass-to-power news, Xcel Energy filed to add a biomass gasification to its Ashland, Wisconsin plant. The plant would become the largest biomass-based power generator in the Midwest upon completion in 2012."

Along the same lines of conversion, DOI head Ken Salazar made all of those gamblers in Atlantic City, New Jersey look up as he touted the possibilities of offshore wind in replacing coal-fired plants this April:

"The idea that wind energy has the potential to replace most of our coal-burning power today is a very real possibility," Salazar said. "It is not technology that is pie-in-the sky; it is here and now."

FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff wins the prize for the most honest words, when he announced at the U.S. Energy Association forum that "We may not need any, ever," new coal-fired plants. Wellinghoff hailed renewables like wind, solar and biomass as the needed energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands.

10) Why the Coal Mining Means Job Argument is Over, Done, Finished, Bogus: Green Jobs, and Coal River Wind
Operation Appalachian Spring, 2009

In the face of a 6,000 acre mountaintop removal strip mine, an extraordinary community of coalfield residents and coal mining families in the Coal River Mountain area of West Virginia have drawn up a proposal for an industrial wind farm that has permanently changed the coal-equals-jobs stranglehold. The proposed Coal River Mountain wind farm, consisting of 164 wind turbines and generating 328 megawatts of electricity, would create 200 jobs, provide over $1.74 million in annual property taxes to Raleigh County; and coal severance taxes related to proposed mountaintop removal mining, by comparison, would provide the county with only $36,000 per year. That's 200 jobs for life versus a similar amount of stripping jobs for only 14 years or so of coal.

The Coal River Wind Project, atop a mountain range that is currently being destroyed by strip mining, is the ultimate ground zero in the clean energy debate. The reality of its success or death, like that of the coalfields across Appalachia and the Midwest, now hinges on the intervention of President Obama and his administration.

In the meantime, facing a broad and slightly bizarre Temporary Restraining Order--for "all other persons allied, associated, confederating, conspiring, or acting in concert with them"-- a growing civil disobedience movement to block mountaintop removal operations by Massey Energy has emerged in the Coal River Mountain area to remind the nation of the urgency of the moment.

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