How Will Trump’s Moves on Coal Affect the Industry?

Coal’s share of the U.S. power market has dwindled from more than 50 percent last decade to about 32 percent last year. Gas and renewables have both made gains, and hundreds of coal-burning power plants have been retired or are scheduled to shutter soon — trends over which Trump has limited influence. Utilities “are not going to flip on a dime and say now it’s time to start building a whole bunch of coal plants because there’s a Trump administration,” says Brian Murray, director of environmental economics at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Read More in The Denver Post


NC Lawmakers Move To Limit Renewable Energy’s Impressive Gains

“Despite the good news about renewable energy, over the last few years, our state legislators and the Utilities Commission have allowed these smart policies to erode, and in some cases, have worked to slow the growth of renewable energy. For example, North Carolina state law prohibits consumers from purchasing electricity from anyplace other than the utility company,” writes School of Medicine professor Dr. H. Kim Lyerly, director of the Environmental Health Scholars Program, with a  colleague.

Read More in The News & Observer

Trump Moves Decisively To Wipe Out Obama’s Climate-Change Record

President Trump will take the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record Tuesday, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions. Tim Profeta, who directs the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, says regulators from more than half-dozen states in the Southeast are now talking about how to chart their own path forward. “We are now talking about the evolution of the power sector in an environment of uncertainty,” Profeta says. “We’re seeing the beginning of states taking control of their destiny.”

Read More in The Washington Post

Should Congress Cut The EnergyStar Program?

It makes little sense to eliminate a program that has demonstrable benefits for the economy with fairly low cost to taxpayers, says economist Gale Boyd, who has studied energy efficiency in the industrial sector for over 25 years. “It seems short-sighted at best to eliminate a program like this,” he says. “If we’re interested in revitalizing the manufacturing sector, there may be lots of ways to do that, but having companies become more profitable by being more energy efficient, I think, is a smart strategy.”

Read More in Vice

A Budget for the People?

“The core purpose of federal taxing and spending is to provide the American people with the government services and public goods they need, want, and deserve. The new administration’s budget, if we can even call it that, does nothing of the sort,” writes Mark Paul, an economist and postdoctoral associated at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.

Read More on Medium

What Trump’s Pending Budget May Slash at EPA

Congress is awaiting President Donald Trump’s budget proposal with the details about his vision of government. According to some reports, the Environmental Protection Agency may lose as much as a quarter of its budget. One of the EPA’s programs, Energy Star — it puts those labels on appliances — could be slashed. Billy Pizer, a professor of environmental sciences and policy, is interviewed.

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Oklahoma AG Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA

“The Senate has confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt filed 14 lawsuits challenging EPA regulations, including limits on carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants,” writes Tim Profeta, founding director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, in a summary of the week’s top environmental news.

Reads More in National Geographic

Energy Discussions Live on as EPA Rule Faces Death

If there’s an enduring upside to U.S. EPA’s doomed Clean Power Plan, it’s that it spurred some much-needed discussions about energy on the state level, says Brian Murray, director for economic analysis at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. “There really was not much going on in terms of coordination and dialogue between energy and environmental regulators at the state level before all this.”

Read More at E&E News

Trump’s Repeal of Stream Rule Hurts Climate, Species


When he rolled back a regulation to protect streams from mining pollution last week, President Donald Trump made good on his promise to ease up on coal mining. “This repeal is ignoring a lot of the recent science that clearly documents a lot of these downstream impacts,” says biology professor Emily Bernhardt, who has studied the ecological effects of coal mining.

Read More at Inside Climate News


Economics of Dakota Access Pipeline

“The financial crisis and ensuing banking bailouts ensured private profits while socializing losses. Trump is bringing the same logic to the table, socializing costs associated with pollution — and not counting them — while privatizing profits from the pipelines,” writes Mark Paul, postdoctoral associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. (Photo by Tony Webster)

Read More in The Huffington Post

Where Will Clean Power Plan Organizers Refocus Their Efforts?

Think tanks and other groups around the country for the past few years have examined how states could comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. As the fate of the plan remains uncertain under the Trump administration, those organizers turn their focus to the questions states face as they navigate a still-changing electricity system. Tim Profeta, director the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, says the institute’s work “on climate policy and clean energy extends beyond a single policy. Ultimately, power sector planning does not occur in four- or even eight-year increments.”

Read More in Climatewire

Behind Trump Pipeline Orders, a Pledge to Deliver Energy Jobs

President Trump has issued executive orders backing pipelines, and wants to open federal lands and loosen regulations. All that may add jobs in the industry, but market forces are in driver’s seat. Opening up federal lands “won’t necessarily lead to more wells if natural gas prices are low,” says Lincoln Pratson, a professor of earth and ocean sciences. For oil, Pratson says that demand from car drivers and truckers looks more stable than poised for big increases.

Read More in the Christian Science Monitor