Sunday, February 17, 2019

Things That Are Making Me Angry

Well, I've been good, I've stayed off of politics, but now I have a couple of things that are just setting my hair on fire.  It's good to share.

The Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors has voted to close two coal fired plants that generate electricity; despite significant pressure from the administration to keep them open.  They're old, they've passed their expected lifespan and they are not economically viable.  Closing them will save rate payers $320M.  Among the board members appointed by the current administration, only one voted for keeping it open.  Why, you wonder, is there such a full court press from the administration to keep these plants open?  Maybe it has something to do with this.  
Murray, founder of Murray Energy and a leading donor to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, has been pressing the president to help prop up coal-fired plants since the beginning of the administration. Murray Energy gave $100,000 to the Trump campaign, $300,000 to the inaugural committee and $1 million to America First Action, a political action committee for the president.

In Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s first month in office, Murray presented a four-page “action plan” to rescue the coal industry. The plan said that commissioners at three independent regulatory agencies “must be replaced,” Environmental Protection Agency staff slashed, and safety and pollution rules “overturn[ed].”
For more, you can read the WAPO article.   There is also an article in a Tennessee paper that does not appear to have a paywall.  The coal guys are not going down without a fight.

Thursday the administration approved the expansion of two coal mines in Utah.  These are strip mines.  From the Salt Lake Tribune we learn that:
A $12 million project to expand a mine run by Alton Coal Development LLC will produce an estimated two tons (1,800 kilograms) of coal each year on land about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Bryce Canyon National Park and about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Zion National Park.
The other project was for lease modifications at a Sufco mine in Utah’s Sevier County in the central part of the state, which the agency says will extend the mine’s life by five years.
"American coal jobs matter," said acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in the news release. "By approving these projects today, we will ensure that these mines are operational for years to come, providing well-paying jobs and affordable energy to the people of Utah."
Tourism creates more jobs and more money than the coal industry.  I found a really well written piece on the Outdoor Adventure blog that makes this point very succinctly.
Economically speaking, coal doesn’t come close to outdoor recreation and tourism—the outdoor recreation industry in Utah dwarfs the energy industry. Coal extracted on public lands in Utah contributes $748 million a year, the Department of Interior says. The Utah Geologic Survey puts the amount at $448 million from federal lands. Outdoor recreation generates $12.3 billion—16 times that of coal extraction. Outdoor recreation supports 110,000 jobs, more than energy (18,000 jobs) and mining (32,000) combined.
Despite 280,000 critical comments about this, the Department of the Interior has decided to go through with the expansions.  It will create more pollution, put coal trucks on US 89 in a high tourist traffic area.  Coal fired plants are closing - they're losing out to natural gas.  Why on earth does the administration want to strip mine some of the most beautiful country there is.  Even if it were ugly country, strip mines are ecological disasters.

So this is one of the many things that's making me crazy.

In other news we had a decent sunset yesterday, so that was good.


  1. We could have a survey of "What one action/policy of the current administration sets your hair on fire?" Mine would be children stripped from parents. The vice-policy would be the number of children who have died.

    1. There are just so many ignition sources these days.

  2. The sooner this moron is removed from the office that he stole from a perfectly competent candidate, the sooner this country can return to its former glory.

  3. yes, concentrate on the sunset...the Orange Gas squatting in the white house will drive us mad...must remain calm with our energy up...must live though this . Your walk through the cactus hills was grand, such beauty! AND SUNSHINE! I am more than a little bit jealous.