Overnight Energy: Coal miner deaths double in 2017 | EPA takes 7 Superfund sites off list | Delaware threatens to sue feds over air pollution

Overnight Energy: Coal miner deaths double in 2017 | EPA takes 7 Superfund sites off list | Delaware threatens to sue feds over air pollution
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15 COAL MINER DEATHS IN 2017: The coal mining industry saw 15 worker deaths last year, nearly double the number from 2016 and the highest in three years, federal records show.

The 2016 total, eight, was the lowest since Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) records began.

The 15th death came early Friday morning at a Revelation Energy mine in Fayette County in southern West Virginia, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported.

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Thurman Watts died when a piece of machinery he was operating went over a high wall.

West Virginia saw the bulk of the 2017 miner deaths, with eight.

Read more here.

 

EPA REMOVES 7 SUPERFUND SITES FROM LIST: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it has taken seven Superfund sites either completely or partially off of its list last year.

The deletions of sites in 2017 -- four partial and three complete -- mean that the EPA judged those sites sufficiently cleaned up from past pollution.

EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittPress: Drain the swamp – of Scott Pruitt Overnight Energy: Supreme Court to rehear Alaska moose hunter case | Greens to sue Trump's Chicago hotel | EPA stops having press aide review grants Supreme court to rehear Alaska moose hunter, hovercraft case MORE is touting the deletions as a victory in his mission to chip away at the 1,300 or so sites for which the agency is overseeing cleanups.

"We have made it a priority to get these sites cleaned up faster and in the right way," Pruitt said in a Tuesday statement.

"By creating a streamlined task force and making major remedy decisions that hold potentially responsible parties accountable for clean up, the Superfund program is carrying out the Agency's mission of protecting human health and the environment more every day."

In 2016 the EPA only deleted two Superfund sites, one complete and one partial.

But previous years showed similar or higher deletion records. The EPA removed seven sites in 2015, 15 sites in 2014 and 12 sites in 2013.

Read more here.

 

DELAWARE THREATENS TO SUE EPA: Delaware's state government is threatening to sue the EPA for not approving four requests to crack down on out-of-state air pollution.

The state's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says that four specific coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are contributing to ozone pollution in Delaware and that the EPA has a responsibility under the Clean Air Act to force them to control their pollution better.

"The Clean Air Act entitles Delaware to relief from upwind pollution and the remedy we are seeking is reasonable and within EPA's authority and responsibility to grant," Gov. John CarneyJohn Charles CarneyNew Jersey governor signs sports betting into law GOP New Hampshire governor signs law banning gay conversion therapy Delaware governor makes state’s first legal sports wager MORE (D) said in a statement.

"Delawareans deserve clean air, but our air quality is significantly impacted by pollution traveling downwind from other states. We are simply asking that the EPA require these power plants that pollute Delaware's air to run their existing pollution control equipment when the plants are in operation."

Delaware officials filed four petitions with the EPA in 2016 -- one for each power plant -- asking the agency to take action under the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act.

The EPA extended its deadlines to respond to the petitions by six months, but did not decide whether to grant or deny them.

Read more here.

 

HOUSE PANEL TO LAUNCH ENERGY REORGANIZATION PUSH: The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced its first step Tuesday in a push to reorganize the Department of Energy (DOE).

Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonClinton advocates 'sane gun laws' at Robert Kennedy memorial Facebook investor compares company’s handling of user data to 'human rights violation' GOP split on immigration is a crisis for Ryan’s team MORE (R-Mich.), who chairs the panel's subcommittee on energy, announced a hearing for next Tuesday on "DOE Modernization." He said it will feature current DOE officials and outside science and policy experts, who have not been announced yet.

"The nation's energy landscape has changed dramatically since the Department of Energy was created in the 1970s amid energy scarcity and global market turmoil," Upton said in a statement

"It's time we flip the script on the department and ensure its mission can meet 21st Century challenges -- from its continuing nuclear security responsibilities to the geopolitical benefits of energy abundance to the emerging threats of the cyber age."

 

AROUND THE WEB:

California utilities want to pass on the costs of wildfire damage to their infrastructure to customers, Marketplace reports.

A "bomb cyclone" is coming to the Atlantic coast later this week, bringing snow and frigid temperatures, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang reports.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against a Kentucky utility over alleged coal ash discharges, saying it should be a state matter, WFPL reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Tuesday's stories ...

- Study: Quarter of world's population could face permanent drought if Paris deal goals aren't met

- Coal mining deaths double in 2017

- EPA removes 7 cleaned-up sites from Superfund list

- Delaware threatens to sue EPA over out-of-state air pollution