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Domestic coal consumption is continuing to shrink in the U.S., where a combination of low natural gas prices, tightening environmental regulations and the falling price of renewable energy generation are pushing utilities away from conventional coal plants.
As a result, coal producers in the U.S. are looking abroad to find willing buyers.
Coal represents a mere fraction of U.S. energy exports, currently around five percent. Nonetheless, skyrocketing exports constitute a noteworthy trend.
In 2005, the U.S. exported 50 million short tons of coal, while in 2012 it exported 126 million short tons. Half of U.S. coal exports go to Europe, 26 percent are sent to Asia and around 10 percent go to North and South America each.
In Washington, conservative leaders have once again renewed their push to loosen fossil fuel export regulations. Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) representing a major coal-producing state, called Thursday for President Obama to allow more natural gas, coal and oil to be shipped abroad.
Sen. Barrasso and his allies have seemingly spent little time considering the environmental consequences of extracting and exporting even more dirty fossil fuels, instead preferring to emphasize the job-creation benefits of expanding the energy sector.
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After four decades of improving air quality, the U.S. has started to take a step backwards, as the number of polluted days has ticked upwards over the last two years, the Associated Press reported.
Governors in Vermont and Maine signed bills on Monday that will ban plastic bags in their states next year, The Hill reported.
The Maine ban will go into effect next Earth Day, April 22, 2020. The Vermont ban, which extends beyond plastic bags and is the most comprehensive plastics ban so far, will go into effect in July 2020. The wait time is designed to give businesses time to adjust to the ban.
By Molly Taft
Lisa Marshall isn't your typical activist. For one thing, she's not into crowds. "I don't really like rallies," Marshall, a mom of three from upstate New York, said. "They're a little stressful — not my favorite thing."
Total Ban on Fracking Urged by Health Experts: 1,500 Studies Showed 'Damning' Evidence of Threats to Public Health, Climate
By Jake Johnson
A comprehensive analysis of nearly 1,500 scientific studies, government reports, and media stories on the consequences of fracking released Wednesday found that the evidence overwhelmingly shows the drilling method poses a profound threat to public health and the climate.
By Grace Francese
A new Environmental Working Group (EWG) study published in Environmental Research found that nitrate, one of the most common contaminants of drinking water, may cause up to 12,594 cases of cancer per year, but that's not its only danger: It can pose unique health risks to children.
Former coal lobbyist and Trump-appointed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a rule Wednesday that officially replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Plan with a new regulation that Wheeler said could lead to the opening of more coal plants, the Associated Press reported.