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The Fayette Power Project Plant, a coal-fired power plant near La Grange, in Fayette County, is one of 16 Texas coal plants targeted in a new report that claims plant waste pits are leaching pollution into groundwater.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

 

As the Trump administration considers weakening Obama-era safeguards for the disposal of toxic coal waste, a new report shows that groundwater near all of Texas’ 16 monitored coal-fired power plants is contaminated with pollutants — including known carcinogens — linked to so-called coal ash.

Greg Kelly's grandson, Caden, scampers to the tree-shaded creek behind his grandfather's house to catch crawdads, as Kelly shuffles along, trying to keep up. Kelly's small day pack holds an oxygen tank with a clear tube clipped to his nose. He has chairs spaced out on the short route so he can stop every few minutes, sit down and catch his breath, until he has enough wind and strength to start out again for the creek.

The Trump administration has moved to formally replace the Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that former President Barack Obama once lauded as the single-most important step America has ever taken to fight climate change.

The long-anticipated proposal, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would give individual states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

New and tougher rules designed to protect coal miners from the coal and silica dust that causes the fatal disease black lung may not be enough to stem an "epidemic" of the worst stages of the disease or the highest rates of disease in Central Appalachia in 25 years.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry spoke in Austin today about a new Department of Energy plan to bail out failing coal and nuclear power plants in the name of national security.

President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to help financially troubled coal and nuclear power plants.

Texas' energy industry is in flux.

The state's seen recent closures of three coal-powered power plants, as the state market shifts toward renewable sources like wind and solar energy. And, on the national level, the state's former governor is lobbying to extend a hand to the nation's struggling coal and nuclear industries.

KUT's Mose Buchele spoke to Jennifer Stayton about what the closures mean for Texas' energy industry and about this week's rejection of a plan from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to subsidize nuclear and coal power. 

A federal energy regulator has rejected a proposed rule that would have subsidized nuclear and coal plants, helping those fuel sources compete with cheaper natural gas and renewables.

The rule was described by the Department of Energy as a way to promote the resilience of the electric grid — that is, its ability to provide reliable energy in the face of disruptive events like bad weather.

Gabriel Cristover Perez / KUT News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Wind power’s growing in Texas; Fort Worth is the latest Texas city grappling with pension woes; banned books in Texas prisons; and more.

One of the many things Donald Trump promised during his campaign was that he would boost the country’s coal industry. Soon after he won the presidency, though, it became clear to some experts that the future of coal in the U.S. was dim; that natural gas, wind and solar were pushing it out of the market.

The coal industry found an ally in Trump’s pick to helm the Department of Energy: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

From Texas Standard:

While the Trump administration says the "war on coal" is over, market forces are having their say when it comes to the fossil fuel, closing plants in several Texas communities.

Texas' largest generator of coal-powered energy, Luminant, says it is ceasing operations at two plants in the state. The company says Texas' competitive energy market and cheap natural gas  make these older coal-fired plants unprofitable. Another Texas coal operator has already announced plans to close two facilities.

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

President Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate deal.

Here are five things that could be affected by the decision.

1. The coal industry

Even coal companies had lobbied the Trump administration to stay in the agreement.

Rick Perry's Energy Legacy Is More Complicated Than You Think

Dec 13, 2016
Abby Livingston / Texas Tribune

As he said farewell to the Texas Legislature in January 2015, Rick Perry couldn’t help but reflect on how energy technology and policy had transformed the state’s landscape — and fueled its economy — during his record 14 years as governor. 

Wikimedia

At least seven coal-fired power plants in Texas could face closure in coming years because more renewables and cheap gas makes coal power too expensive. That’s according to a new report commissioned by the environmental group Public Citizen.

Victor Palomares / KUHF

NPR aired an interesting story on Monday about how the coal industry in Texas is paying for science teachers to attend a camp where they learn all about mining.