Another Ontario green energy blow-up – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – February 16, 2016)

Debris from the exploding Ontario Liberal green energy rocket continues to land on the hapless citizens of the province. Gas plant scandals, soaring power rates, declining electricity output, massive subsidies to money-losing wind and solar, non-stop bafflegab from government ministers: when will it stop? Not now, and maybe never.

Details of the latest meteorite-sized chunk of the Dalton McGuinty/Kathleen Wynne green power blow-up are on display at the blog of energy consultant Tom Adams, who formerly served on the Ontario Independent Electricity Market Operator board of directors and the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Energy board of management

Adams picks up a story that made brief headlines in late 2012 when Windstream Energy, a U.S. company, filed a NAFTA complaint claiming $475 million in damages.

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Obama’s Clean-Power Plan Put on Hold by U.S. Supreme Court – by Greg Stohr and Jennifer A. Dlouhy (Bloomberg News – February 9, 2016)

A divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to cut emissions from power plants, putting on hold his most ambitious effort to combat climate change.

The 5-4 order Tuesday halts the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan until at least the final months of Obama’s presidency — and casts doubt on its ultimate fate before the nation’s highest court by suggesting concern among a majority of the justices.

Utilities, coal miners and more than two dozen states say the agency had overstepped its authority and intruded on states’ rights.

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Norway’s sovereign wealth fund asked miners to consider coal demergers – by Peter Ker (The Age – February 7, 2016)

Norway’s influential sovereign wealth fund asked mining companies in its investment sphere to consider spinning out their coal assets in 2015.

The fund, which is a top five shareholder in BHP Billiton, made the request just months before BHP spun out South32. The coal push was revealed in the fund’s 2015 annual report. It also shows the fund divested from 73 companies in 2015 for ethical and governance reasons.

The fund has made headlines in recent years for its increasingly strict stance against investing in fossil fuels. It took the stance further in 2015 by asking miners to consider divestments of their own.

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No peace in the Great Bear Rainforest – by Peter Foster (National Post – February 3, 2016)

Monday’s agreement on “protection” for B.C.’s so-called Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) is being sold as a shining example of reasonable and responsible compromise between the economy and the environment; a model in which government, aboriginal groups, industry and environmental NGOs hammered out a plan that was good for all involved.

There is no doubt that this vast area — covering 6.4 million hectares of the coast from the north of Vancouver Island to the southern tip of Alaska — is spectacularly beautiful, and home to charismatic animals such as the Kermode or “Spirit” bear, a black bear that, due to a genetic mutation, is white.

The deal itself, however, is far from black and white. B.C. Premier Christy Clark claimed that it might be a model for other resource development issues, of which pipelines are obviously the most contentious.

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Trudeau keeps digging himself deeper into a resources hole – by Gwyn Morgan (Globe and Mail – February 1, 2016)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a penchant for clever quips. He seems to especially relish combining them with digs at Stephen Harper, like his speech in Davos earlier this month, where he said, “My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources. I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness.”

Besides being a gratuitous shot that hardly dignifies his position, it’s an ill-considered message to political and business leaders of countries that pay hundreds of billions of dollars for those resources.

Digging the hole deeper, Mr. Trudeau went on to say, “But Canadians also know … that growth and prosperity is not just a matter of what lies under our feet, but what lies between our ears.”

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Let Coal Die. Save Coal Country.- Editorial Board (Bloomberg News – January 25, 2016)

The decline of coal as a source of electric power is inevitable and well under way. This is a good thing, because whether measured by its effect on public health or its contribution to global warming, coal is more harmful than any other widely used source of electricity.

But there’s a human cost to this transition: unemployment in coal country. Over the past five years, as the U.S. coal mining industry has lost 94 percent of its market value, some 15,000 jobs have disappeared in West Virginia and Kentucky alone. West Virginia’s Boone County and Kentucky’s Union County have lost roughly one job for every 24 residents.

Although the pain has been cruelly concentrated, it should be of national concern. That’s not because the government is to blame; more than anything else, the low price of natural gas has undermined the market value of coal-fired power.

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Energy East: The pipeline that could tear Canada apart – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – January 25, 2016)

Leonardo DiCaprio, who not long ago mistook an Alberta chinook for “terrifying” evidence of climate change, was preaching to the Armani-shirted in Davos last week about the greed of oil companies at whose feet the destruction of the planet must squarely be laid.

“Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong,” the actor told a crowd that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spent his week in the Swiss Alps building his own brand – and Canada’s – as a resourceful, rather than resource-full, country.

In the face of this self-congratulation and sycophancy, it takes a certain ballsiness to challenge the notions that the world is on the cusp of a fossil-fuel-free future, that Canada is suddenly a post-resource economy and that all oil extraction is inherently evil, environmentally unpardonable and economically backward.

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Court Rejects a Bid to Block Coal Plant Regulations – by Coral Davenport (New York Times – January 21, 2016)

In a significant victory for President Obama, a federal appeals panel on Thursday rejected an effort by 27 states and dozens of corporations and industry groups to block the administration’s signature regulation on emissions from coal-fired power plants while a lawsuit moves through the courts.

The rule, issued last summer by the Environmental Protection Agency, is at the heart of Mr. Obama’s efforts to tackle climate change. It would require each state to significantly cut greenhouse gas pollution from electric power plants, the nation’s largest source of such emissions.

Once fully in place, the regulation — which would cut emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 — could transform the electricity system, closing hundreds of heavily polluting coal-fired plants and sharply increasing production of wind and solar powers.

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China ban on new coal mines barely scratches the surface of tackling capacity – by Kathy Chen and David Stanway (Reuters U.S. – January 18, 2016)

BEIJING – Jan 18 China’s decision to stop approving new coal mines for three years has been applauded by green groups, but the move is likely to make barely a dent on the world’s biggest coal industry given its vast existing production capacity.

Some estimates suggest China’s surplus capacity could be as high as 2 billion tonnes of coal a year – more than 50 percent of 2015 output – in a country with nearly 11,000 mines.

Beijing wants to cut the share of coal in its energy mix to contain pollution and meet climate change goals, while it is also trying to manage the fortunes of a struggling sector that employs nearly 6 million people.

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In Climate Move, Obama Halts New Coal Mining Leases on Public Lands – by Coral Davenport (New York Times – January 14, 2016)

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced on Friday a halt to new coal mining leases on public lands as it considers an overhaul of the program that could lead to increased costs for energy companies and a slowdown in extraction.

“Given serious concerns raised about the federal coal program, we’re taking the prudent step to hit pause on approving significant new leases so that decisions about those leases can benefit from the recommendations that come out of the review,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

“During this time, companies can continue production activities on the large reserves of recoverable coal they have under lease, and we’ll make accommodations in the event of emergency circumstances to ensure this pause will have no material impact on the nation’s ability to meet its power generation needs.”

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Bid to mine more coal on U.S. federal lands tests Obama’s green agenda – by Patick Rucker and Valerie Volcovici (Reuters U.S. – January 13, 2016)

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s State of the Union pledge to better manage fossil fuel development will face a test within days, when federal officials rule on whether to open public lands containing more than 600 million tons of coal to more mining.

Interior Department officials are due to decide Jan. 27 on whether to lease two mine sites on federal land in Wyoming’s coal-rich Powder River Basin, where the black rock runs in 10-story seams.

Environmentalists strongly oppose more coal mining on federal land, saying burning all that coal would exacerbate climate change. Reforming government controls on federal lands is one of the few actions still available to Obama in his final year in office.

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Obama vows to overhaul coal mining on public lands to ‘invest in the future’ – by Suzanne Goldenberg (The Guardian – January 13, 2016)

Barack Obama promised an overhaul of coal mining on public lands on Tuesday, delivering a major blow to the ailing industry.

In his final State of the Union address, the US president said he would push for changes to the leasing of public lands for oil, coal and gas leases at cut-rate prices, saying: “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future.”

The move follows a listening tour last year by Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, during which she explored leasing programmes on public lands and the collapse of the coal mining industry due to low prices.

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TransCanada’s Keystone legal action may lead to airing of state of climate science – by Peter Foster (National Post – January 8, 2016)

No cross-border pipeline has ever been turned down in the cause of saving the world

One of the main purposes of free trade deals is to protect legitimate corporate activity from political expediency. On that basis, TransCanada’s proposed US$15 billion NAFTA claim against President Barack Obama’s rejection of its Keystone XL pipeline would appear as big a “no brainer” as the pipeline’s approval was once claimed to be by Stephen Harper.

Keystone XL was thrown under the bus of Obama’s egotistical climate “legacy,” as the man who single-handedly rolled back the oceans and healed the earth. The rejection was also his sacrificial offering to the monstrously hypocritical climate conference in Paris.

Then again, NAFTA arbitrators have also ruled in a number of cases that governments obviously retain the power to legislate for the “public good,” which is nowhere both more ideological and nebulous than when it comes to the climate issue.

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Resolute Forest’s day in court promises to expose global anti-development agenda -by Peter Foster (National Post – January 6, 2016)

Now the Quebec government is calling for the Forest Council to back down

Slowly but surely, multinational environmental enforcer Greenpeace is being dragged kicking and screaming to court to answer for its job-destroying misinformation campaigns in the name of “protecting” Canadian forests, which are among the best regulated in the world.

The company doing the dragging is Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products, which has distinguished itself for being prepared to stand up to Greenpeace’s brand of shakedown.

The case is immediately rooted in the rancid 2010 Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, under which a cabal of radical environmental non-governmental organizations, ENGOs,

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[Nevada] Mining Not Major Threat To Sage Grouse, Says Mining Association – by Casey Morell (Nevada Public Radio – December 22, 2015)

The battle over the sage grouse continues.

The National Mining Association, a group representing mining companies, is protesting the federal government’s plan to protect the sage grouse.

Specifically, the group does not want the Bureau Of Land Management to protect the bird on land that can be mined for gold and minerals.

“I think our major concern is the proposed withdrawal of 10 million acres of land from mining operations,” said Katie Sweeney, senior Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel, National Mining Association.

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