First posted
Wednesday June 21, 2006 08:10
Friday September 28, 2012 07:14

One reason for our essential non-gas-wasting 4,680 mile 50th high school class reunion trip was to see Powder River, WY coal operation.

Black Thunder and North Antelope photos taken Tuesday October 17, 2006.

Chinese Slowdown Idles U.S. Coal Mines.

The Battle of Blair Mountain

Denmark - electricity production from coal sources

Dependence on Oil...Good or Bad?

China’s demand for the coal, uranium and other minerals that Mongolia has in abundance — but has so far barely touched — is gargantuan and growing. China, which surpassed the United States as the world’s biggest energy user in 2009, needs to find enormous quantities of new fuel to meet what, according to the International Energy Agency, will be a 75 percent increase in its energy needs by 2035.

Wednesday January 26, 2011 10:43

Obama State of the Union address Tuesday January 25, 2011.

1 kWh = 3412.14163 BTU.

"In 2011, half of U.S. households will devote at least 20 percent of their after-tax income to energy. Ten years ago, these households spent only 12 percent of their income on energy. The affordability of coal-fueled electricity has helped moderate this increase in energy costs, and continued reliance on coal can help the U.S. to recover economically and American businesses to compete globally."

Monday December 20, 2010, 9:17 am EST

China's State Grid, the government power provider, said in reports seen Monday on its websites that recent winter storms had pushed demand higher while worsening traffic bottlenecks, hindering coal deliveries.

China depends on coal for more than three-quarters of its electricity and also to fuel centralized winter heating systems in northern cities. Spates of unusually cold weather often strain supplies, with power rationing not uncommon.

Tuesday November 23, 2010

Coal, which fuels about three-quarters of the country's electricity generation, is a special concern, especially in winter months when it also is used in heating systems in the north.

Much of the coal is mined in north-central China and then shipped to big cities, utility plants and factories in the eastern coastal regions.

The planning agency complained that some areas, which it did not name, were requiring coal traders to obtain special permits before they can ship coal. "Coal production in some places is rather chaotic and supplies from small mines are unstable," it said.

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) a promising technology that can help mitigating carbon footprint

More U.S. coal-waste disposal sites than previously known have contaminated water with toxic metals, according to a survey by an environmental coalition that says the data are limited and only hint at the scope of the problem.

The study said that "large coal ash-generating states like Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico and Tennessee, to name a few, require no monitoring by law at coal ash ponds, at least while they are still in operation."

Black Mesa project November 21-28, 2009.

By contrast, direct carbon fuel cells (DCFCs) -- an umbrella term that encompasses a range of fuel cell technologies -- convert carbon sources to electricity in a single reaction step, just as current fuel cells do with hydrogen. Under various schemes that pulverize coal and feed it into the fuel cell in a slurry of molten salt or other superheated material, the carbon in the coal reacts in the cell to produce a moving stream of electrons, or electricity.

By calibration utilizing a standard specimen for a given type of coal, a profile for various types of coal can be obtained wherein measurement data is converted into an indication of the heat content typically measured in BTU per pound.

Dust explosions.

Coal is a combustible rock which has its origin in the accumulation and partial decomposition of vegetation that dates back over 300 million years. Peat is the first step in the transformation of vegetation to coal. Over time and with greater pressure soft coal (bituminous) was formed. It has a high heat value (12,000 Btu/lb), high ash content (10%) and medium ignition temperature (750 - 850ºF). Bituminous coal is found in many areas of the United States. Add another 100 million years and you get hard coal (anthracite) with a slightly higher heat value (13,000 Btu/lb), lower ash content (6%) and higher ignition temperature (925ºF). Most of the anthracite supply is in Pennsylvania.

Heat value

One ton of coal contains about 24 million Btu’s. It is equivalent to 175 gallons of #2 fuel oil, 240 therms of natural gas, 260 gallons of propane, 3 tons of green wood chips or 1.4 cords of hardwood. Most coal furnaces and boilers have a heating efficiency of 70 – 80% which is slightly lower than fossil fuel burners.

After coal is removed from the ground, it is sent through a crusher and then graded for size. The stoker grade of bituminous and the buckwheat and pea size of anthracite are used for stoker fed units. Delivery is usually by trailer truck directly from the mine. Coal at the mine is relatively inexpensive. At the present time, costs from $35 to $60/ton depending on heat output and location of the mine. Transportation costs vary with the distance it is hauled.

BTU output of coal dust.

Carbon Credits: An Economic Scam comment.

Ethanol's Persecution Complex: To Rehabilitate Its Image, It Must Understand the Issues comment.

Coal: What Happens if It Isn't Cheap and Plentiful? comment.

May 12, 2009

The message was twofold Monday at the first day of the 30th annual Eastern Coal Council conference: coal is a path to American energy security, but the industry that fuels half the nation's electricity could have a short future in the current political climate.

Coal Stocks Are on Fire

kilocalorie/kilogram * 1.79957 = Btu/pound

Moreover, coal prices at the port have all risen. By April 13, the Datong premium blend coal (6,000 Kcal/kg) has sold for CNY 590-610 a ton, the Shanxi premium blend coal (5,500 Kcal/kg) for CNY 565-575, and the Shanxi ordinary blend coal (4,000 Kcal/kg) for CNY 430-445.

R. Cargill Hall

Composition of Air.

The Skeptics Handbook.

The Real History of Carbon Dioxide Levels.

Organizers want the event to underline public support for government policies to cut greenhouse gases, blamed for global warming. World emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 2.8 percent last year as coal consumption outpaced crude oil and cleaner-burning natural gas, BP Plc said.

Life After Coal: It's Sooner Than You Think new comment.

Friday March 27, 2009 08:11

Desert Rock comment.

Wednesday March 25, 2009 08:51

Solar: No Profit for Two Years comment.

Apparent response to
Got a second call from ABEC [a beck] on Wednesday March 10, 2009. This time we registered with Matt.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Suzanne Hammelman for ABEC"
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 6:54:46 AM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: From ABEC: Please give us your opinion

Americans for Balanced Energy Choices
Resource Center P.O. Box 24636
Louisville, KY 40224
Tel: 1-877-358-6699 | Fax: 1-866-605-ABEC

Dear William:

We are interested in your opinion and need your input. As ABEC prepares to fight for American coal and funding for advanced clean coal technology in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures across the country, we wanted to make sure that members of the ABEC Citizen Army are prepared for the battle ahead. You can help us by taking the online survey. It should take you about five minutes.

ABEC – or Americans for Balanced Energy Choices – is an advocacy organization with almost 200,000 members across the country. We believe that coal must continue to be a part of the mix of fuels we use to generate electricity because it is America's most abundant resource and over 50% of our electricity comes from coal. Coal is also one of the most affordable fuels used to produce electricity. It is reliable – we can count on it to keep the power on. And, using American coal to produce electricity will help lead us to energy independence.

We also know that clean coal technology is real and coal has continued to get cleaner to use. We believe that with the right plan and adequate resources we will find the best way to deal with carbon dioxide emissions so we can continue using American coal.

Thank you for your commitment and your support. And, thank you for taking time to respond to this survey. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me at I'd like to hear from you.


Suzanne Hammelman
On behalf of ABEC

ABEC Citizen Army Survey

There are some error(s). Please see each marked section below.

1. In general, do you think things in the country are headed in the right direction or are they going off on the wrong track?
Very much the right direction
Very much the right direction
Somewhat right direction
Somewhat right direction
Very much off on the wrong track
Very much off on the wrong track
Somewhat off on the wrong track
Somewhat off on the wrong track
Don't know/not sure
Don't know/not sure

2. Do you agree that American coal should continue to be part of the mix of fuels we use to generate electricity as long as we can continue to advance pollution control technology?
Strongly agree
Strongly agree
Somewhat agree
Somewhat agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Strongly Disagree
Strongly Disagree

3. Do you remember hearing the presidential candidates - Obama and McCain - talking about the importance of coal-based electricity to our economy, and their support for advanced technologies that will continue to make coal cleaner?
Yes, heard both McCain and Obama talk about it
Yes, heard both McCain and Obama talk about it
Yes, heard Obama talk about it, but not McCain
Yes, heard Obama talk about it, but not McCain
Yes, heard McCain talk about it, but not Obama
Yes, heard McCain talk about it, but not Obama
Did not hear either condidate talk about this
Did not hear either condidate talk about this
Not sure
Not sure

4. Have you read or heard anything about Clean Coal Technology funding that has been included as part of the Economic Stimulus package passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the President?
Not Sure
Not Sure

5. Do you believe that America has the ability to develop advanced clean coal technologies that will capture and store carbon dioxide in the next 10 years? Yes
Not Sure
Not Sure

6. What percentage of electricity in the U.S. would you say is generated using coal? 350 character(s) left.

7. From time to time we look for members who are willing to speak out in support of coal-based electricity and funding for clean coal technology. Would you be willing to:
Yes No Not Sure
Send a letter to an elected official
Send an email to an elected official
Make a phone call to an elected official
Sign a petition
Write a letter to the editor of the paper
Attend a public hearing
Meet with a legislator
Tell friends about the importance of coal to America's energy future?

8. How much of your news do you get online through websites like CNN, MSNBC and other similar sites?
Only a little
Only a little
Not sure/Varies
Not sure/Varies

9. Do you regularly listen to talk radio shows?

10. If yes, have you ever called into one of the shows to voice your opinion?

11. ABEC has a Blog for our members- It's a very active online discussion on energy, the economy and environment. Would you be interested in participating in our Citizen Army Blogger Brigade?
Not sure/don't know how to Blog
Not sure/don't know how to Blog

12. Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that an "environmentalist" is someone who is concerned about environmental quality especially of the human environment with respect to the control of pollution. They define "conservationist" as a person who advocates for the conservation of natural resources. Would you describe yourself as a:
More of an environmentalist than a conservationist
More of an environmentalist than a conservationist
More of a conservationist than an environmentalist
More of a conservationist than an environmentalist
Not Sure
Not Sure

13. Do you belong to, or contribute to any local or national environmental or conservation organizations?
Don't know/ no comment
Don't know/ no comment

14. Are you active in any community, civic or business organizations?
Not Sure
Not Sure

15. Which ones?

350 character(s) left.

16. The next few questions are personal (and optional, of course) but are designed to help us get to know our members better:
What is your occupation or working status?
Job Title:
Company Name:

17. What is your highest level of education?
Less than High School
Less than High School
High School
High School
Some College
Some College
Completed College
Completed College
Graduate School
Graduate School

18. What is your age?
18 - 25
18 - 25
26 - 40
26 - 40
41 - 55
41 - 55
56 - 70
56 - 70
71 - 85
71 - 85

19. What is your Party i.d.?

20. What is your income range?
Under $15,000
Under $15,000
$15,000 to $24,999
$15,000 to $24,999
$25,000 to $34,999
$25,000 to $34,999
$35,000 to $49,999
$35,000 to $49,999
$50,000 to $74,999
$50,000 to $74,999
$75,000 to $99,999
$75,000 to $99,999
$100,000 to $124,999
$100,000 to $124,999
$125,000 to $149,999
$125,000 to $149,999
$150,000 to $174,999
$150,000 to $174,999
$175,000 to $199,999
$175,000 to $199,999
$200,000 to $249,999
$200,000 to $249,999

A proposed $6 billion power plant near this town in Surry County would be the second largest in Virginia, creating jobs and revenue but also emitting more than 10,000 tons of carbon monoxide and 200 pounds of mercury a year.

Bear Run will be the largest surface coal mine in the Eastern United States, with expected capacity of approximately 8 million tons of coal annually. The mine will initially supply two major Midwestern electricity generators under long-term contracts with terms of up to 17 years, which together are expected to generate nearly $6 billion in revenues.

"Long-term coal demand continues to grow. We are the largest producer and reserve holder in the Illinois Basin, which is one of the fastest-growing coal regions. We are pleased to be partnering with our customers to meet their energy needs and develop a major new coal mine," said Peabody Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory H. Boyce. "Peabody's history as a reliable supplier of affordable fuel, combined with our leading production and reserve position and financial strength, provided us the opportunity to secure some of the largest coal supply agreements in Peabody's history and develop this world-class operation to serve growing customer needs." ...

"Coal is the key to American energy independence and to the affordable power in which Indiana's future prosperity depends. This is great job news in the near and long term," said Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. ...

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) is the world's largest private-sector coal company, with 2008 sales of 256 million tons and $6.6 billion in revenues. Its coal products fuel 10 percent of all U.S. electricity generation and 2 percent of worldwide electricity.

Got a second call from ABEC [a beck] on Wednesday March 10, 2009. This time we registered with Matt.

ACCCE combines the assets and missions of the Center for Energy and Economic Development (CEED) and Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC). The change in our name more accurately reflects who we are and our belief that technology will help ensure that coal remains a fuel of the future when it comes to meeting America's growing energy needs.

[A]ccording to a recent USGS study (Assessment of Coal Geology, Resources and Reserves in the Gillette Coalfield, Powder River Basin, Wyoming, USGS open-file report 2008-1202), the coal reserve estimate for the Gillette coal field is 10.1 billion short tons, which is a mere 5% of the original 200 billion ton resource total. In other words, the USGS has just revised the Gillette resource base down by 95%.

Solar, Wind and Biofuels' Impressive Growth Surge in '08 comment.

Where Is That Mythical Housing Bottom? comment.
U.S. Wants Treaty On Mercury Reduction comment?
Manufacturing.Net - February 17, 2009 NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- The Obama administration has reversed years of U.S. policy by calling for a treaty to cut mercury pollution, which it described as the world's gravest chemical problem. ...

While substitutes exist for almost all industrial processes that require mercury, more than 50 percent of mercury emissions come from coal-fueled power plants, complicating efforts to regulate it in countries that rely on coal for power.

Some 6,000 tons of mercury enter the environment each year, about a third generated by power stations and coal fires. Much settles into the oceans where it enters the food chain and is concentrated in predatory fish like tuna.

Coal-Fired Electricity Under Attack, but Alternatives Seem Distant

Feb 16, 2009 [W]ith concerns over climate change intensifying, electricity generation from coal, once reliably cheap, looks increasingly expensive in the face of the all-but-certain prospect of regulations that would impose significant costs on companies that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

As a result, utilities' plans for new coal plants are being turned down left and right. In the last two and a half years, plans for 83 plants in the United States have been either voluntarily withdrawn or denied permits by state regulators. The roughly 600 coal-fired power plants in the United States are responsible for almost one-third of the country's total carbon emissions, and they are distinctly at odds with a growing outlook that embraces clean energy.

Tuesday February 17, 2009 07:21

Carbon Capping Debate - Will Results Favor Wall St.? comment.

Eisenfeld February 16, 2009 phone conversation.
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Mike Eisenfeld"
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 12:46:57 PM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: Re: ACTION ALERT – Deadline of February 23, 2009 to submit public comments: EPA needs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from Desert Rock

Thanks Bill!

On Feb 16, 2009, at 1:42 PM, wrote: ...

----- Forwarded Message -----
Cc: "Bob Collins" , "Melvin Davidson" , "brian dohe" , "Fred Fair" , "Cargill Hall" , "art morales" , "John Sobolewski" , "Robert & Susan Wayland" ,
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 12:42:34 PM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: ACTION ALERT – Deadline of February 23, 2009 to submit public comments: EPA needs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from Desert Rock



I will write.


Doubt remains about subject of global warming.
Former astronaut scoffs at global warming

Tom Sharpe | The New Mexican 2/14/2009

Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, one of the last men to walk on the moon and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico, doesn't buy the idea that humans are causing global warming.

"I don't think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect," he said. ...

"As a geologist, I love Earth observations," he wrote in his Nov. 14 resignation letter. "But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a 'consensus' that humans are causing global warming when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise.

" 'Consensus,' as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the 'global warming scare' is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities." ...

In a Saturday interview, Schmitt expounded on what he called "indisputable facts" that global warming is the result of natural, rather than man-made, causes. He said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise.

As for rises in sea levels, Schmitt said, geological evidence indicates major changes have been going on for thousands of years. Smaller changes in sea level are related to changes in the elevation of land masses, he said. For example, he said, the Great Lakes are rising because their bottoms are rising because the crust of the earth is rebounding from being depressed by glaciers. ...

"In Antarctica, it looks like the total volume (of ice) is increasing and if that's true, that's probably why you're getting increased ice moving away from the center of the continent and therefore these big icebergs and stuff are breaking off," he said.

Although Greenland's glaciers receded for decades, Schmitt said, they began advancing again around 2005.

Schmitt grew up in Silver City, graduated with a science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1957, studied geology at the University of Oslo in Norway and took a doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964. ...

We've heard differing opions on "global warming."

PNM forecaster Steve Martin alerted us about new construction as the principal factor in increased electric load. See FOIL 1.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Mike Eisenfeld"
To: "Mike Eisenfeld"
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2009 9:48:02 AM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: TAKE ACTION- Comment on DESERT ROCK to EPA by February 23, 2009

ACTION ALERT – Deadline of February 23, 2009 to submit public comments: EPA needs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from Desert Rock

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has requested public comments on the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant Prevention of Significant Deterioration (Air Quality) Permit specifically on EPA’s decision not to include limitations on emissions of carbon dioxide in the permit. The Desert Rock Prevention of Significant Deterioration Permit is currently under appeal by environmental/social organizations and the State of New Mexico. EPA has withdrawn comments on carbon dioxide in the permit based on conflicting legal interpretations set forth by the outgoing Bush administration. Our message to the EPA is that carbon dioxide should be regulated, control technologies for carbon dioxide emissions need to be evaluated and implemented, and that the entire air quality permit for Desert Rock needs to be redone. We’re looking to the EPA for leadership in addressing adverse air quality impacts to our communities and to public health, and to prioritize legal requirements under the Clean Air Act.

Please submit comments on Desert Rock and carbon dioxide by February 23, 2009 to the following address:

Joe Lapka, US EPA. 75 Hawthorne St (Air-3), San Francisco, CA 94105

Phone: (415) 947-4226 Fax: (415) 947-3579 Email:

The permit and addendum to the statement of basis are available on EPA’s website at

Sample Letter (please personalize and tell the EPA how they need to impose limitations on Desert Rock’s proposed carbon dioxide emissions and not allow Desert Rock to be the first coal-fired power approved under the Johnson Memorandum):
Mr. Joe Lapka
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Region 9
75 Hawthorne Street (Air-3)
San Francisco, California 94105

Dear Mr. Lapka,

I am writing to you in response to the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 request for public comment on revisions to its basis for issuing a Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit (AZP 04-01) authorizing construction of the Desert Rock Energy Facility (Desert Rock) 1,500 MW coal fired power plant on Navajo Nation land southwest of Farmington, New Mexico.

First and foremost, I believe that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and should impose strict controls on the proposed Desert Rock emissions of 12.7 million tons per year of carbon dioxide. Please revise the entire Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit for Desert Rock to evaluate control technologies for carbon dioxide emissions.

Secondly, please immediately rescind the December 18, 2008 Johnson Memorandum which runs counter to Mass v. EPA and therefore illegally set forth the notion that the EPA does not have to consider limitations on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The outgoing Bush administration set forth the rationale for not limiting carbon dioxide emissions for coal-fired power plants.

The new administration has the opportunity to set the Environmental Protection Agency on the right course in overseeing environmental policies and public health protection that address greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that the Clean Air Act requires the EPA to limit greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and so does the U.S. Supreme Court. We cannot afford to permit new coal plants that would vastly increase carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. Southwest.





You've received this message from San Juan Citizens Alliance

Mike Eisenfeld
New Mexico Energy Coordinator
San Juan Citizens Alliance
108 North Behrend, Suite I
Farmington, New Mexico 87401
505 325-6724 office
505 360-8994 cell

Life After Coal: Coming Sooner than You Think comment.

Feb 13 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News Coal-fired power plants make electricity by burning coal. They contribute to global warming by releasing greenhouse gases, while pumping out mercury that threatens to taint many of the fish people eat. [radiation too] The toxic metal already has polluted fish across South Carolina, including some in the Great Pee Dee. Several states have backed away from new coal plants.

The Santee Cooper plant is expected to release 93 pounds of mercury annually and some 10 million tons of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. [New construction may be to blame?]

Posted on Sat, Feb. 14, 2009 Luminant itself is building three coal-fired units with a total of 2,181 megawatts of capacity. Two of those are expected to be completed this year and one in 2010.

Coal Won't Be Replaced Anytime Soon comment.

Wednesday January 14, 2009 07:30

Chu: We Need Clean Coal, Carbon Capture comment.

fast neutron may have done bad things to the solar and wind electrical generation industries if the data cited is correct?

fast neutron Santa Fe, NM

From actual experience, wind farms produce 1.2 watts per square meter. Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic methods capture 5 to 6 watts per square meter. There is no economy of size in either technology. Dividing the watts you need by those values gives the land area in square meters needed to produce the juice. The numbers are astronomical

Tuesday January 13, 2009 07:01

This Week in Renewable Energy comment.

From Long Shots to Big Shots: 5 Small Cap Renewable Energy Stocks comment.

Advanced Nonsense: The Politics of Alternative Energy comment.

Chinese Government Offers Incentive for Solar Mergers comment.

"It is time that the state take control of this increasingly important issue." comment.

Making coal electric generation cleaner consumes BTUs.

The AMPGS project is an approximately 1,000 MW coal-fired generating plant, transmission line and associated facilities under development adjacent to the Ohio River in southern Meigs County. The facility will utilize the latest in proven, state-of-the-art emission control equipment, which will make the facility the cleanest in the region and one of the cleanest facilities of its type in the nation. AMPGS will supply power to 81 municipal electric systems in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and West Virginia.

Renewable Energy Reality: We're Dependent on Coal comment.

New Index for Carbon Credit Trading comment.

BP Inks Coal Research Deal with China comment.

Thursday November 27, 2008 14:53

EROEI - energy returned on energy invested. Pumping C02 requires BTUs.

Electric shortages in New Mexico might be expected in the next several years if FOIL 9 is correct.


Experiment aims to
curb greenhouse gases

By Thomas Guengerich
NM Tech News Service

SOCORRO - New Mexico Tech researchers are conducting a large-scale experiment near Aztec, N.M. that could have a dramatic impact on future outlook on greenhouses gases, fossil fuels and the oil and gas industry.

Tech researchers are leading a team sequestering carbon dioxide into coal beds, while simultaneously recovering natural gas. The total funding of the three phases is about $90 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and more than $30 million from other sources. Tech scientists are leading the project, with more than 20 partners, including other universities, national labs and industrial subcontractors.

The San Juan Basin project is part of Phase II of a three-phase project. The goal of the

San Juan Basin injection project is to inject 35,000 tons of carbon dioxide during a six- month demonstration near Navajo City, N.M. Phase III will involve a four-year injection project in Utah, sequestering up to 2.9 million tons of C02 with a maximum rate of 1 million tons per year.

"Our purpose isn't to make judgments about global warming," said senior scientist Reid Grigg. "Our purpose is to engineer projects to sequester C02. I believe what we are doing is sound engineering and sound science. If we inject CO2, we want' to do it under sound scientific and sound engineering principles."

The six-month injection project in the San Juan Basin is a precursor to a larger project near Price, Utah, with a goal of injecting about 2.9 million tons of carbon dioxide to be injected into a geologic feature called the Farnham Dome.

"We need to do all sorts of things to solve the energy crisis," he said. "To solve global warming, we need to look at carbon dioxide and we need to show that this can be done."

Grigg, an engineer at New Mexico Tech, said the decadelong project is examining methods of sequestering C02 into geological formations. The San Juan Basin coalbed methane site is one of three injection sites being used in Phase II.

In many coal deposits, methane or natural gas, is trapped within carbon deposits. When carbon· dioxide is injected into the coal bed, the gas is absorbed by the coal, forcing methane out, Grigg said.

Many coal beds in the United States are saturated with natural gas, but much of the gas is not extracted because methane is "stuck" in the coal. C02 shares the same tendency to bind to coal. Laboratory tests show that coal preferentially absorbs C02 over methane, with two molecules of carbon dioxide displacing one molecule of methane, Grigg said.

Until recently, the cost of injecting C02 was more than the value of the produced methane. Recent price increases make the process cost-effective, Grigg said.

"Just two years ago, the cost of injection was more than the price for methane," Grigg said. "With the price of methane going up and people wanting to get rid of C02, this process looks like a good sink to store C02."

At the San Juan Basin, there are three 20-foot layers of coal each separated by about 20 feet of rock at depths between 2,800 to 3,000 feet, Grigg said. One well was drilled, completed into the three coal zones where C02 is presently being injecting into each layer, Grigg said.

As the San Juan Basin project proceeds, scientists are using pressure gauges, tiltmeters that record minute surface movement, tracers, seismic methods, and compositional sensors to track the movement of C02.Grigg said.

"We have all kinds of nifty gadgets," Grigg said. "One device was sensitive enough that we recorded the big earthquake in China on May 12."

The project started with drilling the injection well in early May, with injection commencing on July 30. As the project proceeds, the rate of injection has been increasing, while project scientists track the surface pressure to ensure subsurface pressures do not exceed recommended levels.

Tech scientists at the Petroleum Research Recovery Center have been studying processes of injecting carbon dioxide into geological formations since the late 1970s, Grigg said. For the first 20 years, the studies concentrated on the industrial use of injected C02 for enhanced oil recovery. In the late 1990s, the focus started to shift toward sequestration of C02, using the same techniques. The long-term goal is to discover if carbon-dioxide can effectively be sequestered in geological formations. In cases like the San Juan Basin, the process is made more cost-effective by the fact that the extracted natural gas is marketable.

Currently, researchers are using naturally-occurring carbon dioxide. Ultimately, Grigg said the process could be used to sequester manmade carbon dioxide - mostly from power plant emissions. Presently the largest problem is the cost of separating C02 from other gases.

"We have a couple of methods of separating carbon dioxide from power plant emissions that work well," he said. "The problem is that they cost a lot."

Typically, power plant emissions are 85 percent nitrogen and 15 percent carbon dioxide. Scientists have devised methods to separate the two chemicals, but there is no market for nitrogen.

Grigg said the cost of separation is roughly 30 percent of the cost of power generation. In other words, for every 10 power plants, the industry would need three more power plants to produce enough energy to separate carbon dioxide from nitrogen.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is the lead organization of the U.S. Department of Energy's Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration. The partnership includes the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, as well as portions of Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. The Southwest partnership is one of seven regional groups.

BUSINESS OUTLOOK Albuquerque Journal Thursday November 6, 2008

La Plata Mine reclamation project drawing 6-year effort cleaned up old coal production site

By Cornelia De Bruin
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON-Six years in scope, BHP Billiton's La Plata Mine reclamation project is within months of completion.

"We think the last bucketful of earth will be turned at about the end of the year," said Charles Roybal, BHP Billiton's general counsel.

The project began in December 2002, after 16 years of coal production ended at the mine. During its operation, the mine produced almost 42 million tons of coal, which was accessed by moving 170 million cubic yards of material. The process affected 2,066 acres.

That's the size of the area that reclamation crews began reshaping to its original shape six years ago. When the project is complete, the crews will have moved almost all of the 170 million cubic feet of dirt twice.

When crews finish their earthmoving work, the clock begins ticking on a 10-year bond release period. The Mining and Minerals Division of New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources department will monitor the reshaped area to ensure it remains stable.

Establishing native grasses by planting up to 100 per square foot will continue off and on into spring Roybal said.

Billiton and its contractors also took into account how rain would run off the re-created hills and shape them. Called "fluvial geomorphology," Billiton's inclusion of the concept in its reclamation work helped the company win several noteworthy awards.

"We're proud of our environmental and safety records at the facility," Roybal said. "It was a major component of this area's coal supply for a long time."

One project to another San Juan Coal Company, a subsidiary of BHP Billiton, turned 40 acres of its La Plata Mine facility over to San Juan County on Sept. 5, 2007.

The county wants to build an industrial park at the site.

Deputy chief executive officer Kim Carpenter spent the last year determining how much is entailed to transform mining land, two buildings and a well casing into an industrial park.

"We have a preliminary lease agreement with Pesco for it to move into the warehouse," Carpenter said. "We're still finalizing it."

Pesco wants to expand it; energy-related operations, he said.

"We design and manufacture equipment for the production of natural gas," said Blake Wallace, Pesco's vice president of facilities. "It is wellhead equipment."

Business Outlook, Albuquerque Journal, Monday November 24, 2008

Sunday October 12, 2008 Most British output is sold to the 18 coal-fired power stations that generate a third of the country's electricity, but rising oil prices and demand from India and China have helped to triple the price of coal from $28.80 a ton in 1999 to $86.60 last year, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

Enter coal -- cheap, plentiful and easily stored. Europe holds a third of the world's reserves, and to many, coal-fired power stations seem a good idea again. Britain plans to open seven new coal-fired electricity plants. One application has been formally submitted, and if successful, will lead to Britain's first new coal-fired power station in 24 years.

Friday August 22, 2008 08:30

Think also about all of the BTUs it took to build the truck and shovel. Iron, rubber, ...

Why did the Albuquerque Journal publish the below coal article?

We may be observing corp/media [Urban Survival, George Ure] in action.

The intended corp/media message may be New Mexico may reached peak coal production in 2005 unless Desert Rock is approved and implemented.

New construction industry may have some real problems if Desert Rock is not built.

Government Accountability Project lawyer Tom Carpenter told me in about 1993 that he attended a meeting with, I believe, Sandia labs management where Fleck was in attendance.

Carpenter stated that management told Fleck what to write.

Thursday August 21, 2008 14:11

Mining coal takes lots of diesel, explosives, and electricity.

EROEI - energy returned on energy invested - is a key concept.

The truck below is likely operated with diesel.

The power shovel may be powered by electricity.

And the hole dug using natural-gas produced fertilizer explosive.

We see a problem of "limited intelligence or expertise." People get off on their own area of expertise without considering other factors.

That why we are trying to get PNM Evlin Wheeler's group to respond to our comments.

No luck, so far.

Note that coal production in New Mexico in 2006 is reported to have been 26.12 million tons.

In 2005 it is reported to have been 29.65 million tons.

EIA reports that in 2007 24.5 million tons were produced.

Peak New Mexico coal production in 2005?

Fleck failed to mention that the La Plata coal mine to the north of the San Juan coal mine was recently closed by BHP Billiton.

 COURTESY/PEABODY ENERGY Workers fill a dump truck at Peabody Energy's Lee Ranch Wine near Grants. Peabody's new El Segundo Mine, also near Brants, began loading rail cars In June.

Copyright © 2008 Albuquerque Journal

By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer

In the high country north of Grants, miners are filling rail cars bound for Arizona with coal from the first new coal mine to open in New Mexico in 16 years. Coal prices are soaring along with electricity demand. And with vast reserves of the hot-burning rock, you might think New Mexico is poised to capitalize on boom' times.-

But in the coal mining business, these are both the best of times and the worst of times.

A world economy running low on cheap oil is increasingly eyeing vast reserves of coal as an alternative. At the same time, concerns over coal's carbon dioxide emissions could lead to stricter regulations, boosting coal's cost.

As a result, experts say, nervous investors have made it difficult to find the money to build new coal plants.

That reality, combined with quirks of geography that make some of New Mexico's biggest coal deposits difficult to ship out of state, means the state's coal mining is not expected to grow substantially for the foreseeable future.

"Coal mining in New Mexico has been fairly steady for a number of years, and I think will likely stay steady," said Bill Brancard, director of the Mining and Minerals Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Coal power

Coal in New Mexico generates electricity. Much of what comes out of the outlets in your house comes from coal power, and we export both coal and electricity generated from coal to other states around the Southwest.

Coal mined in New Mexico last year was worth $693 million, and it contributed $29 million in state tax revenue.

New Mexico's coal reserves cover the San Juan Basin, a coal-rich region stretching from Grants to Farmington.

There are five operating coal mines in New Mexico, including Peabody Energy's new El Segundo Mine north of Grants, which began loading rail cars in June.

Price of coal, up but risks hold N.M. back

When production at El Segundo reaches full capacity, it will produce 6 million tons of coal a year, according to Peabody. Peabody ships the coal by rail to a power plant in Arizona, meeting a portion of that state's rapidly growing electricity needs. The number of operating coal mines in New Mexico will drop back down to four next year, as Chevron closes its McKinley Mine north of Gallup.

That is when McKinley will run out of minable coal, said Chevron spokeswoman Margaret Lejuste. The coal from the new El Segundo mine will merely serve as replacement for supplies lost when McKinley shuts down, said Damon Gross, spokesman for Arizona Public Service, the power company that uses El Segundo and McKinley coal.

The result is that, over the foreseeable future, coal production in New Mexico is likely to remain stable. That is the case despite the fact that spot market prices for much of the coal produced in the United States have doubled in the past year, according to the federal Energy Information Agency.

For the best-quality U.S. coal, used for making steel, miners are making as much as $150 per ton on the spot market - more than double what they made a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration.

But New Mexico coal is of a lower quality, primarily good for generating electricity. And there is a growing reluctance on the part of utilities to build new coal-fired power plants because of uncertainty over the future of greenhouse gas control legislation.

Greenhouse gas regulations, like those being developed by the state of New Mexico as part of the Western Climate Initiative, are likely to add to the cost of building a coal plant. The uncertainties associated with such carbon control legislation, combined with heavy political opposition, have collapsed the market for new coal-fired power plants.

"The 'carbon risk' is a real damper on the financing of these plants," said Jason Marks, chairman of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

Coal backers believe solutions are possible that would allow carbon emissions from coal plants to be captured and disposed of before reaching the atmosphere, Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton said.

But Marks noted that such carbon capture and storage technology has not been demonstrated on the scale necessary to make it practical for now as a solution to the climate problem.

Nowhere is this debate clearer than the political furor around Desert Rock, a coal-fired power plant proposed for the northwestern corner of New Mexico. On Navajo Nation land near Farmington, Desert Rock would be a state-of-the art coal plant, burning power generated from coal mined nearby.

The area has a lot of coal but lacks the rail connection needed to ship out the ore. The alternative is to burn the coal in a power plant next door to the mine; Instead of shipping coal by rail, you ship electricity over power lines. They call it "coal by wire."

Desert Rock would be the third such northwestern New Mexico power plant.

The mine that would feed Desert Rock has enough coal to generate electricity for the next 200 years, said Frank Maisano, spokesman for the project.

But according to a federal study of the project, Desert Rock will in the process emit 12.7 million tons per year of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Strong political opposition to Desert Rock, rooted in climate change concerns, suggests the project has become a litmus test, said project opponent Mike Eisenfeld of the San Juan Citizens Alliance.

PNM explores other electricity sources

By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer

When you flip on a light switch in Albuquerque, two-thirds of the electricity comes from New Mexico coal.

But that share is likely to decline in coming years as PNM, the state's largest utility, looks to other sources to meet growing power demand.

Part of the reason, according to PNM Vice President Jim Ferland, is a state requirement that N.M. utilities increase the amount or renewable energy they deliver to their customers. But the biggest reason, Fer land said in an interview, is that PNM does not need any more of the sort of big-plant electricity generating capacity that comes from coal.

Power companies get their electricity from a mix of sources, including big expensive "base load" plants, primarily coal and nuclear, that run all the time, and other smaller sources that are intermittent, like renewables, or that use natural gas and other sources to provide small bursts of power to meet peak demand.

PNM gets its coal power from two big base load plants in northwestern New Mexico and nuclear power from the Palo Verde in Arizona. That provides more than enough base load power to meet PNM's growing demand for at least 15 and probably 20 years, Ferland said. To the extent that more power is needed, renewables and natural gas combined with conservation efforts will be sufficient, he said. Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of coal, lack of a need for additional base load leaves PNM in a better position than many utilities, Ferland said.

Though coal is plentiful, its use is deemed harmful

Journal Staff Report

Today's coal started as a swamp tens of millions of years ago, said Gretchen Hoffman, New Mexico's coal science expert at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology.

Its energy is locked up in the chemical bonds holding together the complex carbon molecules - energy originally harvested by plants from the sun those many millions of years ago.

That heat can do useful work - generating electricity, for example, or making steel, or, on a smaller scale, heating a home. But scientists have blamed rapidly increasing carbon dioxide levels as the chief culprit in climate change. Therein lies the coal dilemma.

At current mining rates of about 26 million tons per year, there is enough coal in New Mexico to last 400 years. But experts say there's little prospect of seeing much of the new coal deposits mined for the foreseeable future.

BUSINESS OUTLOOK Albuquerque Journal Thursday August 21, 2008

We attended UA Starport at Cottonwood Mall I.O.U.S.A. (PG) - 1 hr 25 mins New Release | Documentary Thu., 8/21: 6:00pm

Visibility is super-critical for our legal project.

Billionaires say US debts need attention Friday August 22, 1:14 am ET

Wednesday August 20, 2008 7:19 am ET The move is meant to help offset coal costs that have squeezed utilities and prompted many to let coal stockpiles run low, raising the threat of power shortages and possible blackouts.

Much of Earth’s coal (often termed ‘buried sunshine’ by the coal industry) is thought to have accumulated in environments analogous to the peat swamp forests of Indonesia and Malaysia ...

Published: August 20, 2008 Renewable energy options will remain "boutique" industries unless their costs are cut to make them competitive with coal and other widely used power sources, said Dan Reicher, director for climate change and energy initiatives at, the company's philanthropic arm.

Monday August 11, 2008 09:06

Great Salt Lake Mercury Level Investigated

Scientists Begin Pollution Study

By Mike Stark
The Associated Press

GREAT SALT LAKE, Utah - The Great Salt Lake is so briny that swimmers bob in the water like corks. It is teeming with tiny shrimp that were sold for years in the back of comic books as magical "sea monkeys." And, for reasons scientists cannot explain, it is heavily laden with toxic mercury.

Exactly where the poison is coming from - and how much danger it poses to the millions of migratory birds that feed on the Great Salt Lake - are now under investigation.

"We've got a problem, but we don't know how big it is," said Chris Cline, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who has been collecting the eggs of cinnamon teal ducks from nests along the rim of the lake so that they can be cracked open and analyzed in the lab.

Three years ago, in an alarming finding, U.S. Geological Survey tests showed the lake had some of the highest mercury readings ever recorded in a body of water in the United States. The state warned people not to eat certain kinds of ducks because of the mercury.

This summer, scientists are fanning out across the lake and its marshy shoreline for the start of what is expected to be a multiyear study. The

Environmental Protection Agency and the state are footing most of the $280,000 bill for the initial phase.

One major question is whether the mercury is accumulating naturally, from some as-yet-unknown source in the ground, or is the result of industrial pollution. Researchers say mercury released into the atmosphere from coal-fired power plants in the West, gold mines in Nevada, volcanoes in Indonesia or industries in rapidly developing countries such as China or India may be settling in the lake.

Mercury can cause neurological damage in birds and affect their ability to fight off diseases. High mercury levels have been detected in some of the Great Salt Lake's birds. But so far there is no evidence that it is sickening them. "The jury's kind of still out on the impact, but it can't be a good impact," said Tom Aldrich, migratory gamebird coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. For all of its international recognition, the Great Salt Lake is still a deep. source of mystery. The lake is the remnant of a prehistoric sea that covered 20,000 square miles during the last ice age and was 1,000 feet deep in places. Today's Great Salt Lake is much smaller at 1,700 square miles, much shallower and significantly saltier - brinier even than the ocean-because of salts dumped by tributaries and left behind as the water evaporates.

Businesses make millions of dollars selling tiny brine shrimp, salt and other minerals from the lake, and it is a popular spot for boaters and other tourists, despite the often strong rotten-egg smell from decaying algae and other organisms, and despite the fact that practically the only creatures that can survive the 'salty water are bacteria, bugs and the shrimp. (Scientists say the mercury poses no danger to swimmers.)

But the wetlands and wide expanses of calm water are a draw for birds, including the world's largest concentration of Wilson's pharalope, which uses its needle-like bill to gobble shrimp and bugs.

Each year, more than 9 million birds stop by, many on their annual treks between Canada or South America and parts between, making the Great Salt Lake "sort of the Delta airplane hub of the West in terms of migration," Aldrich said.

The problem is that the lake has a peculiar combination of bacteria and chemicals that helps convert inorganic mercury to its more harmful form, methylmercury, scientists say. In some cases, the mercury gets into the brine layer on the lake bottom and makes its way up the food chain to the shrimp and then to the birds that eat them.

Once they have identified the source of the contamination and what sort of threat it poses, scientists hope to somehow reduce the amount of mercury getting into the lake, or perhaps control the bacteria that lead to the more harmful form.

Albuquerque Journal Sunday August 10, 2008

Power Plant Air Permit Approved

Foes Plan Appeal Of EPA Decision

By Felicia Fonseca
The Associated Press

Environmentalists who have been fighting a proposed coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation and supporters of the project expected it: an air permit for the plant.

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed off on the permit for the Desert Rock power plant, which the agency says will set a new level of performance for coal-fired plants in the United States.

The EPA filed a consent decree in June, agreeing to act on the permit, which sets limits for emissions covered under the federal Clean Air Act, by the end of July as part of the settlement of a lawsuit that the developers of the $3 billion project filed against the agency.

While environmentalists proclaimed it "a sad day" and prepared to appeal the EPA's decision, Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. hailed the decision as much-needed to improve conditions on the vast reservation, which stretches across northern Arizona and parts of New Mexico and Utah.

He said the benefits of Desert Rock, which will include $50 million in annual revenues to the tribe and thousands of jobs, outweigh the environmental concerns.

The Dine Power Authority and Houston-based Sithe Global Power are partnering to build the 1,500-megawatt plant near Farmington in northwestern New Mexico. The air permit was considered a major hurdle to overcome before construction on the plant could begin. An environmental impact statement also needs to be approved.

Navajos regard the Earth as their mother and the sky as their father, and Shirley said tribal officials are "doing the best we can to do our part to take care of the environment."

"At the same time, we know that the deities want us to take care of ourselves, to stand on our own two feet, as individuals, as families, as a community, as a nation," he said. "And that's certainly what Desert Rock is about."

Gov. Bill Richardson and New Mexico Environment Secretary Ron Curry plan an immediate appeal of the EPA's decision, claiming that the federal agency violated the Clean Air Act in issuing the permit.

"EPA is bending to the will of corporate, financial and misguided political interests that will pollute New Mexico's skies," Richardson said in a news release. "EPA's decision ignores its obligations to protect the health of residents and the environment in New Mexico and the region. We will not allow this ill-advised decision to stand."

EPA officials contend their process was thorough and involved comprehensive technical analyses that will ensure pollution levels safeguard public health and the environment

A review of the more than 1,000 mostly negative comments on the permit led to additional monitoring requirements for organic compounds, lead, sulfuric acid, hydrogen fluoride and visible emissions, said Colleen McKaughan, a Southwest region deputy air division director for the EPA. The EPA also lowered limits for nitrogen oxide, a precursor for ozone, she said.

The developers have also agreed to further reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in the area by generating or purchasing sulfur dioxide credits and retiring them.

McKaughan said' those who commented on the air permit and the consent decree can appeal the EPA's decision to the agency's Environmental Appeals Board, which has the final say on all administrative decisions. The EPA received nearly 100 submissions on the consent decree, all of which opposed either issuing the permit or approving the consent decree.

"EPA determined that the comments we got did not disclose any new facts or considerations that indicate that the consent decree or the permit is inconsistent with the Clean Air Act or other laws," McKaughan said.

Albuquerque Journal Friday August 1, 2008

HONG KONG, June 3 (Reuters) - Yanzhou Coal Mining Co Ltd (1171.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) (600188.SS: Quote, Profile, Research), China's No. 3 coal producer by market value, has settled 2008 term contracts to export half a million tonnes of coal at $151.67 a tonne, it said on Tuesday.

Yanzhou said in a statement the prices were 92.1 percent higher than in 2007, while the volume was down 9.1 percent.

Debate Rages Over Reservation Coal Plant

By Felicia Fonseca
And Paul Foy
The Associated Press

BURNHAM - In a corner of the Navajo Nation burdened by old and heavily polluting coal-fired power plants, it matters little to many tribal elders that another facility promises to be the most efficient and cleanest of all.

With two plants already a dozen miles away, the last thing they want is another one even closer, a 1,500-megawatt project barely two miles in another direction.

"We want the smoke to stop," said 76-year-old Alice Gilmore in Navajo, raising a hand toward the belching plants.

Others say the $3 billion Desert Rock Energy Facility could invigorate the lagging economy of the Navajo Nation, which stretches across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Backers say it would bring $52 million a year in revenues to the tribal government and provide up to 400 jobs on a reservation where unemployment hovers around 50 percent.

The plan has prompted fierce debate pitting that economic windfall against environmental concerns and traditional culture on the 27,000-square-mile reservation, rich with natural gas, uranium and low-sulfur coal.

Some Navajos believe they are inseparable from Mother Earth and Father Sky - stewards of the land who must live in harmony with the natural world. There are no Navajo words to describe the complexities of power plants to many elders, they are big stoves that produce electricity, the emissions wild spirits capable of harm.

Walters said tribal leaders need only consider the legacy of uranium mining booms in the 1950s and 1970s, which brought cancer, lung disease and death to the Navajos - to know that Mother Earth will retaliate for coal digging and burning.

Others, however, see a gift in their land's fortune of low-sulfur but high-ash and medium BTU coal. By various estimates, the coal reserve would last a century or more of stepped-up burning.

"The creator blessed us with this land, where there is an abundance of natural resources," said Lucinda Bennalley, president of the Nenahnezad Chapter, one of 110 such tribal chapters, or local governing entities.

Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr., a supporter of the project, says critics should "stop picking on the little Navajo" when countries like India and China are commissioning a new coal plant practically every week.

The debate over Desert Rock comes at a time when leaders in Congress and a number of states have begun questioning coal burning, and the volume of greenhouse gases it churns out. The project's backers, a private equity group, are trying to build ahead of a possible regulation by Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency or states to limit carbon dioxide emissions, produced in abundance by coal burning that takes most of the blame for heating up the planet.

The Navajo Nation picked Houston-based Sithe Global Power, which is 80 percent owned by New York-based Blackstone Group, to build what amounts to a "merchant" plant for hire or sale. Blackstone executives say customers won't be hard to find-Phoenix or Las Vegas, Nev., is the most likely consumer - among hard-pressed utilities in the booming Southwest.

Albuquerque Journal Sunday May 25, 2008

Consumers struggling with high gas prices, rising food costs and falling home values have something new to worry about: Sharply rising electricity rates due to a surge in coal prices over the past year.

-----Original Message-----
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Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 10:02 AM
Subject: HCN Comment Submission Accepted

Comments Accepted!

Thank you for your submission, which was reviewed and now appears on our website at

Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment (“C.A.R.E.”) and the San Juan Citizens Alliance were forced to take legal action against the Federal Office of Surface Mining (“OSM”) today over the agency’s approval of a massive mine expansion for the Navajo Mine. OSM’s decisions have already led to the permanent removal or relocation of numerous tribal members from their homeland and resulted in the permanent dumping of millions of tons of hazardous wastes. OSM recently issued mine permits to BHP Billiton, an Australian Corporation, which would significantly expand these practices.

BHP’s Navajo Mine is a massive 13,000 acre surface coal mining operation located in the Four Corners Region on the Navajo Nation. The two mine permits challenged by the groups authorize BHP to mine coal for the Four Corners Power Plant and to permanently dispose of Coal Combustion Waste (“CCW”). CCW consists of toxic solid wastes (including fly ash, scrubber sludge and bottom ash) from the power plant’s coal-fired generators.

“Over 1.5 million tons per year of coal combustion waste from the power plant is backfilled into the Navajo Mine,” said Mike Eisenfeld of the Alliance, “Despite legal requirements, OSM hasn’t required protections for ground or surface water. It doesn’t even require monitoring—even though the mine is part of a major river drainage,” said Eisenfeld. The Navajo Mine lies within the Chaco River drainage which drains north into the San Juan River. “OSM is creating a massive superfund legacy for the residents of the Four Corners. This is an irresponsible dumping practice and has to stop now.” “OSM’s permitting actions will result in the permanent removal and relocation of Navajo Nation tribal members including elders.” said Lori Goodman of Diné C.A.R.E. and Navajo Nation tribal member. “The agency and BHP treat this area as if it is uninhabited. OSM must understand that community members live or graze livestock in these areas. OSM fails to recognize that this is our homeland.”

View Navajo mine site from satellite.

Hunt’s not upset about global warming or the pollutants that pour out of the plant’s smokestacks. He’s mad about coal combustion wastes - CCWs, as activists call them - the solid remnants left over from burning coal. Hunt says they’ve sickened his family and neighbors, even killed his sheep. Each year, power plants in the U.S. collectively kick out enough of this stuff to fill a train of coal cars stretching from Manhattan to Los Angeles and back three and a half times. It’s stored in lagoons next to power plants, buried in old coal mines and sometimes just piled up in the open. It is the largest waste stream of most power plants, and a recently released study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that people exposed to it have a much higher than average risk of getting cancer. Yet the federal government refuses to classify the waste as hazardous, and has dragged its feet on creating any nationally enforceable standards. And with new attention focused on coal power’s impacts on the air, this great big problem may get worse, and continue to be ignored.

The power plant generates approximately 2 million tons per year of CCW. CCW from generating units 1, 2, and 3 is managed on the power plant site, while CCW from generating units 4 and 5 is placed in mine pits at the Navajo Mine (the second site visited).

The venturi scrubbers on generating units 1, 2, and 3 remove fly ash and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) sludge simultaneously. This wet mixture is pumped through a cement-lined ditch to onsite ponds. Ash pond #6 currently is the only active pond on site. The discharge point into the pond is moved around to disperse the slurry evenly. Slurry pumping to the pond is not continuous, but rather occurs only when there has been enough material collected in the bottom of the thickeners to send to the pond.

New Mexico coal can not easily compete with Wyoming coal because of the tremendous difference in seam thickness and the lack of an integrated rail network, particularly in the San Juan Basin.

Experienced observer pointed out that rail service from Gallup to Farmington should have started long ago.

San Juan June 2007 through December production.

Working, housing and living conditions at Broken Hill were appalling in the early days as the population soared from virtually nil in 1886 to 20 000 in 1891. Dysentery and diseases like typhoid were a problem due to the unsanitary conditions and lead poisoning was rife. 360 men were killed in the mines between 1894 and 1913, with many more dying subsequently of lung disease. BHP employees even had to pay the company four shillings out of their first pay for the shovel they were to use.

Elouise Brown, Hank Dixon, Nez and a few of their Navajo elders have gathered in the rustic hut to figure out how to block the new construction. Brown found out about the project in December when she came on a man drilling a test well on her family’s grazing land. She cornered the worker and forced him to leave. That same day she established a blockade at the site now known as the Dooda Desert Rock vigil (Dooda means “no” in the Diné language). Even without the new project a dense curtain of brown smog hangs over the desert between the site of the vigil and the distant silhouette of Shiprock peak.

The plant would burn 5.5 million tons of Navajo coal per year and produce 1,500 megawatts of electricity for the fast-growing cities of the Southwest. "You will hear that the Navajo Nation supports this power plant, but grassroots people do not support this," said Nez, who lives 20 miles from the site of the proposed plant. ...

Even if activists manage to derail the new plant, the Four Corners region is already “a national energy sacrifice area,” says Mike Eisenberg of the San Juan Citizens Alliance, a local community group. His group has been protesting the Four Corners power plant and the San Juan generating station, located within sight of each other just outside Farmington in San Juan County, which are two of the most polluting plants in the western U.S.

American Lung Association figures show that 16,000 people in the county, or close to 15 percent of the population, suffer from lung disease, most likely from plant emissions. The 2,040 megawatt Four Corners plant emits 157 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, 122 million pounds of nitrogen oxides, 8 million pounds of soot and 2,000 pounds of mercury a year. The 1,800 megawatt San Juan generating station releases over 100 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, more than 100 million pounds of nitrogen oxides, roughly 6 million pounds of soot, and at least 1000 pounds of mercury. Add to this the 18,000 oil and gas wells spread throughout the region and you have “massive cumulative impacts that will never be reversed,” says Eisenberg. ...

Air pollution is not the only problem. Waste from the area’s two coal mines has destroyed ground water with high sulfate content that kills livestock, “wiping out ranching as a viable business on this part of the reservation,” according to Jeff Stant, a consultant with the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based non-profit group.

Some “70 million tons of coal combustion waste has been dumped in the Navajo coal mine, making it the biggest dump of mine waste in the country," Stant continues. "Between this and the nearby San Juan mine there’s 150 million tons of waste sitting there. That’s more fly ash and scrubber sludge than the entire nation generates in one year.”

This waste, heavily laden with cadmium, selenium, arsenic, and lead – byproducts of coal-burning – leaches into groundwater turning it poisonous to people, livestock, and vegetation. A forthcoming EPA report released to the national environmental group Earth Justice indicates that groundwater contaminated with coal ash leads to a cancer risk as high as 1 in 100 – 10,000 times higher than previous EPA estimates. ...

“You cross that dirt road over there,” says Nez, “and there’s a little Hogan [traditional Navajo house] and a little sheep corral, no running water and no electricity, and in the backyard there’s a big behemoth power plant sending electricity down to Tucson, down to Phoenix, or Las Vegas.”

New Mexico had a decrease of 2.6 million short tons in 2006 to end the year with a total of 25.9 million short tons, a decline of 9.1 percent, which was attributable to the decreased production levels at BHP’s Navajo and San Juan South mines.

The electric power sector (electric utilities and independent power producers) accounts for about 92 percent of all coal consumed in the United States and is the driving force for the Nation’s coal consumption.

                             2006         2005
New Mexico 4   25,913 4  28,519 - -9.1
   Underground 1  6,993 1    7,905 - -11.5 San Juan coal mine.
   Surface          3 18,919 3 20,613 - -8.2

How do I find production data for coal in New Mexico?

The deep coals of the San Juan Basin are the result of numerous transgressive and regressive sequences of the Cretaceous epeiric sea.^The Cretaceous coals originated from related landward coal swamps with a general N. 50--60/sup 0/ W. trend.^Each landward coal swamp contains a few million to a few tens of millions of tons of high volatile subbituminous to bituminous coal.^The Fruitland Formation represents the last regressive sequence of the Cretaceous epeiric sea and contains some 200 billion tons of coal in beds more than 2 ft thick at depths to 4,500 ft.^As received, Btu values are from 9,000 to 13,000 with a low moisture content ranging from 2 to 6 percent.^The ash content of the coal is high (10 percent to more than 30 percent).^A total resource of 12 billion tons of coal is established for the Menefee Formation, in beds more than 2 ft thick with depths of as much as 6,000 ft.^The average heating value is 9,860 Btu per pound, with an average content of 12 percent.^Under present economic conditions underground mining of the deep coals of the San Juan Basin is not practical.^Some form of in situ gasification or liquefaction appears to be the most promising method of economic development.

Coal Can't Fill World's Burning Appetite
With Supplies Short, Price Rise Surpasses Oil and U.S. Exporters Profit

Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 20, 2008; Page A01

An untimely confluence of bad weather, flawed energy policies, low stockpiles and voracious growth in Asia's appetite has driven international spot prices of coal up by 50 percent or more in the past five months, surpassing the escalation in oil prices.

Coal News and Markets.
Saturday March 8, 2008

Central Appalachia    12,500 Btu, 1.2 SO2
Northern Appalachia 13,000 Btu, <3.0 SO2
Illinois Basin              11,800 Btu, 5.0 SO2
Powder River Basin     8,800 Btu, 0.8 SO2
Uinta Basin                 11,700 Btu, 0.8 SO2

Note the amount of overburden removal seen in top of picture.

Lots of diesel and explosives are used to mine coal. Think EROEI.

Article Launched: 11/28/2007 01:38:12 AM PST

Google said Tuesday that it'll spend "tens of millions" to research clean-energy alternatives to coal-fired power plants and "hundreds of millions" to cut the costs of this power.

The days of easy, shallow coal are gone
, Mr. Kohler said: “By necessity, we’re going deeper.”

Already coping with the highest emissions of nitrogen oxides, Navajo communities in the Four Corners area have been at a standoff with Sithe Global Power and the Dine Power Authority over the construction of Desert Rock, a 1,500 megawatt coal fired power plant that would cost 2.2 billion dollars to build and sit on 580 acres about 30 miles southwest of Farmington.

50 Dirtiest U.S. Power Plants: CO2 Pollution Linked to Global Warming on Track to Rise by a Third, Mixed Picture on Other Key Pollutants (2007)

To refresh your memory this includes all the defined varieties of coal including lignite, (6,300 Btu per pound); sub-bituminous (around 10,000 Btu/lb); bituminous (14,000 Btu/lb) and anthracite.

China has less than 50 years of reserves at today's production rythm and, considering that it's currently growing production at 10% or more per year, that would translate in less than 20 years with current growth.

SHERIDAN -- Nine times in 2007, air quality monitors in the southern Powder River Basin mining district have exceeded dust standards.

Below links related to Thursday June 14, 2007 day trip from Bozeman to Harlowton, MT.
Little Joe
. Harlowton. The Milwaukee Road electrification.Milwaukee Road class EP-1, EF-1, EF-2, EF-3, and EF-5.

We saw

between White Sulphur and Harlowton. No blades moving.

On return we stopped in Livingston, MT at Dan Bailey which is across the street from the rail road station.

show four pulling locomotive on a coal train. The coal looked a grey color possibly indicating that it is a lower BTU per pound [see Black Thunder BTU output of 8,800 Btu/lbs]. When train left station and three pusher locomotives were observed.

Here's train emerging from the pass separating Livingston and Bozeman

114 cars counted. Pushing locomotive disconnected. Lots of diesel fuel consumed in mining and transporting coal. Think EROEI ... and peak oil.

The Omaha Public Power District sued Union Pacific Corp. this week, joining at least two other utilities that have taken the nation's largest railroad to court because of coal delivery problems, acccording to this Associated Press report. The OPPD lawsuit, filed in Douglas County District Court, seeks more than $7 million in damages because the utility says Union Pacific has failed to live up to its contract since spring of 2005.

That timeframe coincides with when two derailments on the main line leading out of Wyoming's Powder River Basin in May 2005 revealed that accumulated coal dust in the rail bed made the line unstable. Repairs disrupted traffic and slowed deliveries for months.

China’s exports have been declining since reaching a high of 70m tonnes in 2003, and are now being outpaced by imports, mainly from Indonesia and Australia.

Let's try to attend PNM's Electric IRP.

Carbon dioxide emissions in Alabama have climbed at above-average rates in recent years, driven in large part by releases from coal-fired power plants, a new study has found.

Between 1990 and 2004, carbon dioxide releases in the state rose 29 percent, to about 141 million metric tons, according to the report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a Washington, D.C. advocacy group seeking steep cuts in emissions of the colorless, odorless gas linked to global warming.

Wyoming prairie dogs provide great sport

A state legislator has filed a measure to place a two-year moratorium on the building of coal-fired electric plants in Kansas.

OMAHA, Neb., Jan 15, 2007 -- BUSINESS WIRE

To help meet the nation's ongoing reliance on coal, Union Pacific moved 194 million tons of coal from Wyoming's Southern Powder River Basin (SPRB) during 2006 - a new record for the railroad.

Compared with 2005, Union Pacific moved an additional 895 trainloads of SPRB coal during the past year - an increase of 15 million tons of coal, or enough to generate a year's worth of electricity for nearly 2.5 million homes.

As train numbers increased during 2006, so did train size. UP trains transporting coal out of the SPRB averaged just over 15,000 tons each in the fourth quarter--an increase of 200 tons over last year's average. Investment in capacity improvements and new processes helped UP achieve the increased tonnage.

The problem is that IGCC plants still cost about 10 percent to 20 percent more per megawatt than pulverized-coal-fired power plants. (And that's without carbon dioxide capture.)

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest public coal company and America’s production leader, recently reported that 2006 production would be at the low ends of their targeted range of 230–240 million tons because of continued “transportation shortfalls,” and that “while Peabody’s Powder River Basin (PRB) operations will set shipment records in 2006, the mines continue to receive fewer trains than needed. ...

Last year, the two rail carriers in the PRB shipped some 325 million tons of coal. New government statistics suggest that perhaps the rail carriers' infrastructure improvements are having some success. After years of investments in new track, locomotives and equipment as well as increased hiring, in June of this year the UP reported record shipments off several of their western coal branches, Currently, both the UP and BNSF, its partner in the PRB Joint Line, are reporting that they're moving more than 80 loaded trains a day off the line, well over 10 percent higher than last year at this time.

January 10, 2007

TXU has some big -- and some say bad -- ideas. The utility wants to build 11 coal-fired power plants at a cost of $10 billion by 2010. AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 27, 2006 /PRNewswire-USNewswire

The Sierra Club, represented by the Austin office of Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), took legal action today to stop the "unprecedented, unreasonable, and ... illegal" plan by Governor Rick Perry to "fast track" administrative hearings for construction of up to 18 dirty coal-fired power plants in the state. Most of the plants in question are being proposed by the Dallas-based utility giant TXU.

Sunday December 24, 2006 about 12:00, Austin, TX, highway 1 [MOPAC] coal train [empty] heading north at about 20 mph.

Two pulling and one pusher locomotives. 133 coal hopper cars counted, most aluminum!

The technology of producing a liquid fuel from coal or natural gas is hardly new. The Fischer-Tropsch process was developed by German researchers Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch in 1923 and used by Germany and Japan during World War II to produce alternative fuels. Indeed, in 1944, Germany produced 6.5 million tons, or 124,000 barrels a day. ... "I have heard reports that China can produce oil for $25 per barrel from coal. We see it more in the $45 range here." [msm FACTOID?]

Protests are also expected against proposed transmission lines from two nuclear plants in Arizona to Southern California and against a 1,000-mile line that Arizona Public Service plans so it would be able to cool Phoenix with electricity from wind farms and coal-fired plants in Wyoming.

Coal is a hard, black colored rock-like substance. It is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and varying amounts of sulphur. There are three main types of coal - anthracite, bituminous and lignite. Anthracite coal is the hardest and has more carbon, which gives it a higher energy content. Lignite is the softest and is low in carbon but high in hydrogen and oxygen content.Ê Bituminous is in between. Today, the precursor to coal - peat - is still found in many countries and is also used as an energy source.

Coal's Possibilities

Reader comment November 30, 2006:

You fail to detail the increased cost of cleansed coal! Apparently 40 % or better of the power is lost in the cleansing. What will that do to the consumer? NG is pretty much history is about 5 years. Dave Graf

Beijing Sets National Standard

“Beijing Sets National Standard for Methanol as Automotive Fuel,” stated the well- regarded, if salmon-tinted newspaper. Methanol? Yes, good old “wood alcohol.” This is the stuff that if you drink it, will make you blind. But this particular label of Chinese methanol is not and will not be somebody’s moonshine. Instead, this Chinese methanol will be derived from coal in the so-called “Fischer-Tropsch” chemical process, which leads to an industrial method described as “coal-to-liquid” (CTL). Added to gasoline, coal-derived methanol creates a cleaner-burning type of fuel. And at oil prices above about $35 per barrel, methanol is very much a cost-competitive option for automotive fuel. Very clever, those Chinese. Here are a few of the key paragraphs from the Financial Times report:

“Beijing has settled on a national standard for methanol as an automotive fuel, a decision which will legitimize and bolster a market that has been growing rapidly without central government approval. The standard, which has yet to be officially announced, was reported in a trade magazine and confirmed yesterday by an official attached to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the economic planning body responsible for the standards.

“Local companies have under construction, or are awaiting approval to build, plants to produce methanol equivalent to about 20% of China's present oil consumption…By the time the plants, which convert coal to liquids, start producing in 2011-2013, China's oil demand will have doubled, allowing methanol to supply about 10% of the market.”

A New Kind of Energy for China

Methanol will become, for China, “a major alternative fuel which does not exist in any other country in the world," said James Brock, a Beijing-based energy consultant. Another commentator, a senior Chinese regional official who is deeply involved in China’s methanol industry, has stated that China’s coal industry “is doing the best job in China in promoting the use of methanol as fuel.” The Chinese official added, “Our aim is to solve the problem of China’s oil shortage. We are creating a new kind of energy.”

The man must mean “a new kind of energy for China.” The technology to turn coal into gas and oil was invented in the 1910s and 1920s in Germany. CTL processes were used extensively to manufacture motor fuel for the German armed forces during the Second World War. Of more recent vintage, CTL technology was greatly advanced by the South African company Sasol over the past three decades. Initially, the Sasol technology was used as a means for South Africa to avoid apartheid-era sanctions, and more recently, Sasol’s technology has been highly competitive in world markets on its own merits.

Large Foreign Investment, Advanced U.S. Technology

Within the past few years, China has been experiencing an investment surge into CTL plants. One recent announcement, for example, stated that Royal Dutch/Shell and a Chinese partner have committed to a three-year study of a CTL plant, which, if it proceeds, will cost between $5-6 billion and be one of China’s largest single foreign investments. The proposed Shell project, to be located in the western province of Ningxia, would produce the equivalent of about 70,000 barrels of oil a day, equal to about 1% of Chinese oil demand, now just over 7 million barrels per day (mpd).

Shell, which is a leader in liquefaction technology, has already licensed its technology to 15 projects in China. Shell has one plant with Sinopec, one of China’s leading petrochemical companies, under construction. According to Lim Haw Kuang, executive chairman of Shell in China, “We have proven technology that converts coal to gas and then gas to liquids. We believe this technology is important to China.”

The Shell process uses oxygenated gasification, a technology pioneered in the U.S., under the sponsorship of quite a bit of U.S. government funding over the years. Oxygenated gasification permits isolating carbon dioxide (CO2) during the manufacturing process, and thus is more compatible with carbon sequestration than other leading fossil fuel technologies. If the Chinese actually sequester the CO2, or use it for purposes such as enhancing oil production from older oil fields, this will be a big step forward for China’s environmental protection, as well as for controlling emissions of greenhouse gases.

30 Plants Under Construction

According to a report by Credit Suisse, there are at least 30 large-scale CTL projects in the detailed planning, permitting, or feasibility stage. The Credit Suisse report notes that the expensive, capital-intensive CTL plants are generally considered financially viable when oil prices are above $35-40 a barrel, which is a safe bet in a world that is catching on to the concept of Peak Oil. Coal is China’s “real strategic (energy) reserve,” states the Credit Suisse report, because it can be obtained locally, although China is also a major coal importer.

China possesses, of course, vast coal reserves. China also possesses one of the world’s most extensive coal mining industries, although working the coal pits of China happens to be one of the most dangerous and lethal occupations in that ancient land. According to the Los Angeles Times, well over 5,000 people per year perish in Chinese coal mines, a mortality of over 100 deaths per week. But despite the lethality of the effort involved, the Chinese coal industry is experiencing skyrocketing demand amid generally rising oil and energy prices.

Raw Strategic Calculus

In the raw strategic calculus of planning and developing its future energy infrastructure, CTL makes great economic and political sense for China. China has abundant coal resources, but rapidly declining domestic oil reserves. With anticipated future growth in its energy demand, China will become ever more reliant on oil imports, which now account for about 40% of Chinese oil consumption. The Chinese economy currently consumes about 7 mbd of oil, which means that China is the world’s second largest user of oil after the U.S., which uses about 21 mbd of oil (over 60% of it imported).

One major oil supplier to China is Angola, which is now China’s largest single source of petroleum. (And by the process of elimination, Angola is thus a problematic future supplier of oil to the U.S.) Other oil suppliers to China include Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are, of course, places with attendant political risk, even to the Chinese. On the other hand, much of China’s imported coal comes from Australia and Canada, places well known for long-term political stability.

In addition to the operations and logistics of assuring their own energy supplies for the future, the Chinese are apparently well aware of the concept and implications of Peak Oil. For example, a number of computer servers located in and around Beijing are among the busiest sites on the planet when it comes to accessing Western Peak Oil sites on the Internet. The Chinese are downloading Peak Oil-related information as fast as it is published. (Hi, guys.) So both in terms of gathering knowledge and securing future energy sources, the Chinese are, characteristically, thinking long term.

Whiskey & Gunpowder
November 27, 2006
by Byron W. King
Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

With oil and natural gas prices rising rapidly and nuclear power stuck in political limbo, the world's appetite for coal is soaring. In the United States, the Department of Energy estimates that 153 new coal-fired power plants will be built by 2025. Meanwhile, China and India, the world's second and third largest coal producers, are embarking on a coal power plant building spree. China alone is expected to construct 562 new coal-fired plants over the next eight years. Since the life span of a typical coal-fired plant is 50 years, coal's share of the world's energy production will rival oil's for most of the century.

Much of Earth’s coal (often termed ‘buried sunshine’ by the coal industry) is thought to have accumulated in environments analogous to the peat swamp forests of Indonesia and Malaysia ...

Coal would play an increasingly important role in the world's power supply in the absence of a policy focus, the IEA predicts. Already cheaper than oil or gas for electricity generation, coal has fed the energy use surge over the last years and is growing in importance as a fuel especially in China and India.

A typical new coal-fired power plant, one of the largest sources of emissions, is expected to operate for many decades. About one large coal-burning plant is being commissioned a week, mostly in China.

One ton of coal-to-oil-processing capacity requires an investment of 10,000 yuan (US$1,250)
. Thus the 3-million-ton annual capacity means an investment of 30 billion yuan, an astronomical figure for most enterprises, said Li Dadong, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

The Russian presidential administration has developed fuel strategy for Russian electricity. Kommersant has learned that it will not emphasize growing gas supplies, of which, experts say, there is already a 30-percent deficit, but coal. Thus, Russian authorities will convert domestic consumers to coal and heating oil, which will unavoidably lead to higher electricity prices, but guarantee that Gazprom meets its export plans.

Most Americans are all too aware of the extent to which we are dependent on oil for automotive fuel, for heating homes, and even for making pharmaceuticals and plastic. Some complain that our oil dependency is a national security issue because so much of the oil used in the US originates in countries that are unstable or even hate America. But not many Americans realize that 52% of America's electricity comes from burning coal, a fuel that is not only cheap but also present in abundance in the US. Indeed, the US has more coal than any other country on Earth, enough to last for 250 years at current usage levels. Most of the coal used in the US comes from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, and it is often described as "clean" (that is, low in sulphur).

Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future

Air conditioning doesn't save energy

I want to make sure that readers do not get a false impression regarding the energy consumption of refrigerated-air cooling for homes. The article on Charter Homes in Huning Ranch, Los Lunas, implies that refrigerated air is an energy efficiency feature.

Actually, refrigerated air uses three to five times more electric power than evaporative cooling. This is based on my experience as facilities engineer for a large building owner in Albuquerque, and on published information.

The story did not mention water consumption, but there is inaccurate information circulating about that as well. When the amount of water used at the power plant is considered - almost 1 gallon per kilowatt-hour - there is relatively little difference in water consumption between refrigerated-air cooling and evaporative cooling.

David Robertson
Thursday August 31, 2006 Business Outlook, Albuqueruque Journal


Since the invention of the original process by the German researchers Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch, working at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in the 1920s, many refinements and adjustments have been made, and the term "Fischer-Tropsch" now applies to a wide variety of similar processes (Fischer-Tropsch synthesis or Fischer-Tropsch chemistry)

The process was invented in petroleum-poor but coal-rich Germany in the 1920s, to produce liquid fuels. It was used by Germany and Japan during World War II to produce alternative fuels. Germany's annual synthetic fuel production reached more than 124,000 barrels per day from 25 plants ~ 6.5 million tons in 1944 (

After the war, captured German scientists recruited in Operation Paperclip continued to work on synthetic fuels in the United States in a United States Bureau of Mines program initiated by the Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act.

jetBlue peak oil solution.
Congress peak oil solution.

Don't worry about the "confidential" labels. We were cleared for SECRET/SCI access for electonic lock breaking work for the FBI.

The Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland power region, or PJM, showed the biggest jump, with electricity demand at the start of the week topping forecasts by 4.7 percent.

The increase was the equivalent of 8 to 10 new coal plants and meant that reserve margins would have narrowed to 17.7 percent from 23.2 percent projected for this summer, Parrella said.

Discovery Channel visits global warming tipping points across the globe, talks to the world’s leading experts and examines the latest evidence to determine the facts about global warming in Global Warming: What You Need To Know. Hosted by award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw, the two-hour special presents the facts and leaves it up to the viewers to determine their own truth about global warming.

Anyone concerned about the burning of fossil fuels and resultant climate change is scared beyond words because of the prospect of coal usage growing or continuing. But there is an additional side of coal, an even darker one - to many who have seen coal industry practices in Appalachia - than the distinction of being the worst polluting of the main fossil fuels.

Fueling America - click U.S. energy production to see coal production by state.

Night of June 5th we stayed at Doug and Tina's home in colorado springs, co.

Here's a view looking to the west from their driveway.

Tina points out that this neighborhood has the highest foreclosure rate in the US.

Doug was working in Douglas, wy doing legal searches for the oil and gas industry.

Tina reported that while trying to get a lawn started they got a $500 month water bill!

It will be interesting to see what rising energy costs will do on values of big houses.

We had lunch with Doug in Douglas, wy on Tuesday June 6, 2006.

Here's a map showing points of interest.

Red marks the approximate location of the Antelope Mine.

Blue marks the approximate location of the Black thunder mine.

Green marks the approximate location of the Jacobs ranch mine.

Antelope coal silos.

Blackthunder drag line.

Here's a typical view drving east on highway 240 to Newcastle, WY.

Prarie dog shooter from Illinois and michigan stayed at the motel in Newcastle.

Rail line with concrete ties was directly behind the motel.

Here's a close-up of a aluminum hopper car.

Here's a pusher locomotive on a train going west.

Leaping from 9 million tons to 30.5 million tons in the past six years, US coal imports could jump to 40 million tons this year, government analysts say. And that trend is accelerating as demand for low-sulfur coal grows following last year's federal Clean Air Interstate Rule, a mandate for big cuts in sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants in the eastern US.

Tighter air pollution regulations are hiking demand for low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. But a spokesman for CPS Energy of San Antonio, says the company imported 150,000 tons of coal from Colombia because of rail delivery problems of the powder-river coal.

The railroads blame their recent coal delivery problems on two derailments in the Powder River Basin coal region in Wyoming and Montana in May 2005, which cost six months of repairs and upgrades, plus last year's hurricanes, which disrupted service nationwide. They agree that captive shippers pay more than shippers served by multiple railroads, but many businesses, including airlines, charge different rates to different customers, they note.

Audience applauded at end of

Gore didn't talk about peak oil. But did give a plot of the population explosion from about 2 billion to 6.5 billion. Extrapolation showed human world population stablizing slightly less than 10 billion.

Or do you think that human world population will decrease with decrease in production of oil? Perhaps Peak oil overthrows green revolution?

Gore compared conclusions of scientists to those of media people on global warming. Gore's messge was that media types try to create doubt ... for business and government reasons.

December 16, 2005 may have been peak oil, professsor Deffeyes computed.

Albuquerque Journal Venue Friday June 29, 2006


by Byron King

Up until lately, it has been easy for a large segment of the political and intellectual leadership in the developed world to look down their collective noses and to dismiss the "global warming crowd" as a bunch of fringe kooks. For example, for many years, it has been possible for some segment of the respectable scientific community to say that increased levels of carbon dioxide were not a major threat because the world's oceans would absorb most of the excess CO2 molecules. But on this subject, the scientific jury has in recent times been walking back into the courtroom, and those jurors do not look happy. Pretty soon, the accepted scientific verdict will be that global warming is real and that carbon dioxide buildup is among the guiltiest of guilty parties.
Several companies have already committed to building new coal plants over the next 25 years. If technology to sequester the carbon dioxide that comes out of these plants underground isn't developed, these new plants will spew 145 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

That's as much as humanity put into the air through coal between 1750 and 2000, said David Hawkins of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Railroads struggling to meet demand for Wyo. coal

By Bob Moen
The Associated Press

WHEATLAND, Wyo. — In the time it takes to microwave a frozen dinner, another 120 tons of coal is dumped from a railroad car at the Laramie River Station. It’s a scene that can occur 200 times a day.

To keep electricity flowing to some 1.6 million homes, the power plant burns up to 24,000 tons of coal every day Operat­ing 24/7, the plant’s three gener­ating units require a depend­able, steady stream of coal.

This past year however, the stream of coal was anything but steady even though the plant is only about 100 miles from the largest producing coal mines in the United States the Powder River Basin in northeast Wyoming, home to the nation’s top 10 producing coal mines.

As the power plant’s stockpile of coal, sapped by sporadic shipments, dwindledto less than a week’s supply, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, based in Blsmarck, ND., had to make plans for scaling back the plant’s operations and power output.

“The best I can characterize it is that we’re operating on the ragged edge,” Basin Electric spokesman Floyd Robb said.

Power plants around the country saw their coal stock­piles dwindle last year and over the winter, mainly because of problems with shipping coal out of Wyoming and increasing worldwide demand for energy.

The result has been higher electric bills in some areas because power companies were forced to replace coal with more expensive natural gas to feed their plants.

“People call us the Saudi Ara­bia of coal. But if you don’t get it to the power plants, it doesn’t matter,” said Mike Grisso, exec­utive director of the Alliance for Rail Competition, a ship­pers’ organization.

The two main shippers of US. coal — BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad — say they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in order to ship more Wyoming coal and keep up with an ever growing demand for power.

Anthony Hatch, an independ ­New York, said he believes rail­roads will meet future demands for shipping coal. But it will take time because of the enor­mous task of expanding an industry that until only a few years ago was track as its business dwindled.

But until the rail system can match rail capacity and demand for service, there will be periods where rail shipments can't keep up, he said.

With plentiful coal reserves and alternative fuels still too cost or years away from becoming reality, coal is seen by many the as most pracftical means to meet the nation's and world's growing power needs.

"The economy is still rolling along so everybody expect production and demand to keep increasing," Fred Freme, industry statistician with the U.S. Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration. “It is the cheapest as far as electric generation goes.”

Owned by six electric utilities, the Laramie River Station’s three 605-foot-tall stacks tower above the landscape of east-central Wyoming and the nearby community of Whealand. Each of its three genera­tors produce enough electricity to power roughly 550,000 homes.

To generate the electricity Laramie River wrn burn up to 1,125 tons of coal an hour at full throttle.

The coal arrives by rail from mines north of Wheatland. Each BNSF train tugs about 135 open-top rail cars loaded to the brim with chunks of gleaming black coal.

The coal cars are pulled through a long, narrow build­ing where a layer of coal dust covers the floors, railings and steps up to a half.inch deep. Like an amusement park ride, each 20-ton car is grabbed by four clamps and turned upside down. Its cargo of 120 tons of coal pours into a chute and is funneled to a conveyor belt, and then to holding bins.

It takes about 2 1/2 minutes to dump each rail car.

Richard Bower, engineering assistant at the plant, said ideal­ly the plant would have 700,000 to 800,000 tons of coal on hand. But this winter, the plant’s coal supply dwindled as low as 150,000 tons, less than a week’s supply prompting Basin Elec­tric to consider curtailing power production.

“It’s not increased generation causing the stockpile to go down,” Basin Electric spokesman Robb said. “It’s lack of coal deliveries.”

Other power companies are having similar supply problems. Entergy Arkansas said its coal shipments declined up to 20 nercent last year, forcing it to reduce operations at two power plants in Arkansas and to buy power on the open market. Wisconsin utilities incurred nearly $50 million in extra costs last year because of interruptions in coal shipments.

Entergy Arkansas has sued Union Pacific Railroad, claiming the railroad schemed to hold back deliveries of Wyoming coal in an effort to make more money UP denied the claim, saying it actually turned down new contracts to ship coal in order to catch up with delayed shipments to existing customers.

Power generating companies are not expecting any improvement this year. David Wilks, president of energy supply for the Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy testified before a Senate committee last month that power companies may be forced to buy up to $2 billion worth of natural gas to make up for a coal shortfall.

It used to be that people would set their clocks by the train coming into town. But the business of running the nation’s train traffic is much more complicated these days.

Today’s railroads use a rail system that had not added track and other infrastructure for decadas. In fact, before 2003, railroads had been abandoning miles of unprofitable and underused lines.

Just in the area of coal, “the rails have to keep up with 20 (million) to 30 million tons of increased shipments each year,” David Khani, an industry analyst with of Friedman Billings Ramsey in Arlington, Va., said.

At the same time, increasing imports of goods from China and elsewhere are competing for space and time on the nation’s rail system, he said. With little margin between coal supply and demand, any disruption in train traffic, especially in the movement of coal out of Wyoming, will influence coal prices around the country he said. That’s what happened a year ago when derailments in Wyoming stopped traffic briefly and slowed shipments for months.

BNSF and Union Pacific jointly share a rail line coming out of the southern end of the Powder River Basin. With an average of about 61 coal trains a day traveling on the joint line, some 325 million tons of coal -about one-third of the nation’s total coal production - was carried over the line Last year. The same line handled just 19 million tons of coal in 1985.

BNSF and UP are investing about $200 million in a project that will eventually expand what had been a two-track line into three tracks for the entire 75-mile length. A 15-mile stretch will get a fourth set of tracks, BNSF spokesman Pat Hiatte said.

As a result of the expansion, the two railroads expect to be able to ship more than 400 mil­lion tons of coal a year over the joint line.

In addition, a new staging yard is being built and conductors, mechanics and other rail workers are being hired, said Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF Railway Co.

Over the first four months of this year, BNSF hauled out about 6 percent more Wyoming coal than during the same period last year.

And the first major rail expansion in the United States in about a century is in the works. The South Dakota-based Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad is seeking $2.5 billion in federal loans to extend and rebuild rail lines so it can haul Wyoming coal to the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. Its loan application is pending before the Federal Railroad Administration. “What we’re seeing here is a rail renaissance,” Hatch said.

On the Net:

BNSF Railway:

Union Pacific Railroad:

Alliance for Rail Competition:

The Jamestown Sun [ND] Monday June 12, 2006

We stopped for breakfast at McDonald's in Jamestown after staying the night Milnor, ND to see two of Payne's cousins. That's where we got the above Moen article.

Youngest cousin Alice is 84 ... and walks at least 2 miles each day, Alice reports.

Payne grandfather, Alonzo Payne, owned a farm about one mile outside Milnor, Alice reported. Alice's mother was sister to Payne's father.

Alice's grandfather on her father's side lived across the road, Alice reported.

Alice grew up in Milnor. Alice reported as kids they rode horses lots.

Alice and her husband operated a grocery store in Wyndmere, ND from 1940 to 1958.

Alice reported that they sold fresh bananas, oranges, ... even in 1940.

Rail transport was replaced by trucks when the road got better.

Better roads, Alice reported, meant that residents could travel further for groceries so Alice and her husband got out of the grocery store business.

Payne stayed with cousins in Milnor and Wyndmere during Shattuck christmas vacation in 1954. Travel from Minnesota to California was too expensive then.

Over that same period, coal's share will rise to 27 percent, up from 24 percent; natural gas will make up 26 percent of consumption, up from 24 percent; renewable fuels like biodiesel and ethanol will rise to 9 percent of total world energy demand, up from 8 percent.

Tuesday June 6, 2006 at the Antelope strip mine near bill, wy.

Full and empty coal conveyor trucks.

Coal train moving south on Tuesday June 6, 3006. Note triple tracks. A fourth track is planned.

Trains have two pulling diesel locomotive and either one of two pushers.

Those are aluminum hopper cars!

New housing addition in the west Austin oak hill district hot weather power requirement caused the below electrical transformer fire on about Wednesday July 19, 2006.

Tuesday August 22, 1:06 pm ET

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. has issued an ultimatum to Austin Energy: fix your Oak Hill powerworks or else.

Freescale Vice President of Corporate Communications Tim Doke says "chronic power issues" -- specifically four power outages in the last four years -- have cost the Austin-based Motorola spinoff $20 million so far and Freescale is looking at its options.

A heavy snowstorm in May contributed to two train derailments,
delaying coal shipments and setting off a frenzy in coal markets that have pushed Powder River Basin coal prices at the start of 2006 over the once unheard of level of $20 per ton.

It's a scene that can occur 200 times a day. To keep electricity flowing to 1.6 million homes, the power plant burns up to 24,000 tons of coal every day. Operating 24/7, the plant's three generating units require a dependable, steady stream of coal.

As the power plant's stockpile of coal, sapped by sporadic shipments, dwindled to less than a week's supply, Basin Electric Power Cooperative had to make plans for scaling back the plant's operations and power output.

"The best I can characterize it is that we're operating on the ragged edge," Basin Electric spokesman Floyd Robb said.

Basin Electric is not alone. Power plants around the country have seen coal stockpiles dwindle, mainly because of problems with shipping coal out of Wyoming and increasing worldwide demand for energy.

One objective, of several, of the 4680 mile essential non-gas-wasting travel

Budget Blue cobalt essential non-gas-wasting 50th high school reunion trip

 Date miles driven gallons of
regular used
price $ mpg  comments
06/05/2006 14:13:04 335.3 11.700 2.792 28.66 starting on 50th high school reunion trip from albuquerque. Pueblo, co
06/06/06 11:41 348.5 9.460 2.659 36.84 Douglas, wy
06/07/06 10:22 372.5 11.066 2.889 33.66 Kadoka, sd
06/08/06 08:59 345.5 11.060 2.889 31.24 Jackson, mn
06/10 08:57 366.0 14.618 2.799 25.04 Faribault, mn
06/11/06 13:27 268.1 6.993 2.769 38.34 north of minneapolis
06/12/06 08:28 320.2 10.047 2.849 30.58 Jamestown, nd
06/12/06 10:39 197.0 6.06 2.899 32.51 Dickinson, nd
06/13/06 07:37 323.4 10.297 2.769 31.41 Billings, mt
06/15/06 09:12 378.0 10.542 2.789 35.86 Ennis, mt
06/16/06 09:09 142.0 4.078 2.799 34.82 Bozeman, mt
06/18/06 13:18 301.7 8.233 2.869 36.64 Spanish fork, ut
06/18/06 02:55 416.5 11.631 2.879 35.81 Moab, ut?
06/19/06 10:34 379.9 10.802 3.149 35.17 Bloomfield, nm
06/19/06 13:54 172.5 4.813 2.899 35.84 albuquerque, nm

attend Shattuck/St Mary's 50 year reunion was to see Thunder Basin, Bill, WY coal/rail operations.

Here's Bill, WY! And Budget blue cobalt.

Senior citizen right-wing bird hunting buddy emails

----- Original Message -----
To: "bill payne"
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 1:55 PM
Subject: Re: bill, wy

> You missed the Dry Creek Community Center, which is next door to the
> Bill Store. That is the used as the church my son and his in-laws
> attend. The in-laws live 8 to 12 miles due east of Bill. The owner of
> The Bill Store helped me change my flat tire. A really nice guy.-

Bird hunting in-laws, bird hunting buddy reported, are bible thumpers.

Bird hunting buddy is also prarie dog shooter [.223 savage, heavy barrel] ... on in-law's property!

Here's inside wooden convience store.

To the left at the back of the convience store is an attached bar.

Convenience store clerk reported that the coal miners frequent the bar.

If this coal/rail operation fails in any way, then electricity goes off in parts of the US.