The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: fossil fuel industry

Excerpt from 1966 Mining Congress JournalThis is an excerpt from a 1966 article in Mining Congress Journal indicating mining interests were already aware of the potential for climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions.

Circuit Court ruling: Private emails on public servers don’t always equal public records

KNOXVILLE — A Knox County judge ruled in a lawsuit that spun off from the “Coal Knew, Too” scandal that emails sent or received by a University of Tennessee professor aren’t public records.

Circuit Court Judge William T. Ailor turned aside a bid made by Knoxville-based writer Kathleen Marquardt to review the emails of Chris Cherry, a professor with UT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, according to court records. 

Marquardt filed the Public Records lawsuit four years ago, but the case didn’t actually make it into a courtroom until a pair of hearings held earlier this year. 

According to Judge Ailor’s opinion, the bare fact that Cherry and freelance reporter Élan Young (who was also employed by UT at the time and currently writes for Hellbender Press) exchanged emails using their UT accounts “does not raise the emails themselves to the level of being public records.” 

The origins of the lawsuit date back to 2019, when Cherry rescued some old coal industry trade journals that a colleague was about to toss in a dumpster after cleaning out an office.

In one of the discarded issues of the Mining Congress Journal was an article from 1966 that contained a statement from the then-president of a coal mining organization explaining that fossil fuel use was causing an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide that would cause vast changes in the Earth’s climate through global warming. 

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Citizens call on TVA to stop passing gas

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Valley Authority in coming years plans to add both natural gas and solar plants to its portfolio to meet what it says are rising energy demands.

TVA’s Board of Directors laid out the federal utility’s plan in a meeting at Norris Middle School in May. Environmentalists at a previous hearing criticized the utility’s focus on natural gas rather than renewables or other measures. Other people, largely tied to local power providers, argued that a switch to renewable energy would be unreliable.

TVA showed a map in a press release following the meeting, showing four proposed natural gas plants and two proposed solar plants. Two of those natural gas plants would be in Tennessee while the other two are planned for Alabama and Kentucky. It stated these new plants will total 3,800 megawatts. It also spoke of its System Operations Center, set to open in fall 2024 in Georgetown to manage the utility’s grid. TVA also stated a desire to research nuclear technologies.

“Our region is experiencing growth at six times the national average, which means we must invest in our current power system and build new generation so we can continue meeting our region’s demand,” said TVA president and CEO Jeff Lyash.

Several citizens criticized TVA’s focus on natural gas plants and new pipelines at the listening session May 9. Among them was Clinton resident and activist John Todd Waterman.

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5 July 2022 US Significant Climate Events Map

Record-setting bill will fund extensive efforts to address climate change, but the sausage-making deal is decried by some as a ‘suicide pact’

This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate, along party lines, passed a sweeping energy, health care, climate and tax package Sunday afternoon, following an overnight marathon of votes that resulted in just a handful of notable changes to the legislation.

The 755-page bill was passed after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the evenly divided Senate. It now heads to the House, where Democratic leaders have announced they will take it up on Friday.

At last, we have arrived,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.  Democratic senators broke out into applause as Harris announced passage of the bill, expected to total more than $700 billion.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he dedicated the measure to young Americans who have pushed and protested for the Senate to take action on climate change. 

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NYT: Shareholder revolt forces troubled Exxon to focus on a fossil-free future

Exxon stock tanked (it was even kicked off the Dow Jones Industrial Average) in recent years, largely because of the oil giant's dismissive stance toward climate change and renewables. This led shareholders to conclude the oil giant wasn't playing the long game by investing in carbon-free fuel technologies.

Both a renegade hedge fund and huge investor groups recently forced a change by electing half a slate to the board of directors who are calling for increased energy-source diversification. Some of the largest pension-investment groups in the country drove the change because Exxon's coddling of climate denialists was definitely and demonstrably bad for business.

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