Alpha Natural Resources Pollution Reduction 2011
|Company||Alpha Natural Resources, Inc.|
|Filer||Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations|
|Sector||Mining & Resources|
|Subject(s)||Air Pollution; Coal|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Pollution reduction report|
|Supporting Memo||Download PDF|
In October 2009, a National Academy of Sciences report stated that the burning of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. causes about $62 billion a year in "hidden costs" for environmental damage, not including the costs for damage associated with GHG emissions. According to the U.S. EPA, monetized costs and benefits of complying with the Clean Air Act and its amendments total over $700 billion and $23 trillion, respectively.
In September 2010, Wood Mackenzie stated, “Of the several EPA anticipated and proposed non-carbon regulations, those with the most significant anticipated impact on the coal-fired fleet are: the Clean Air Transport Rule; Mercury Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard; Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) standards; and a new rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA).” “Compliance with the anticipated EPA rules for further regulating non-carbon emissions would require installing expensive emissions controls on generators not yet retrofitted.” As coal-fired plants lose their competitive advantage to more stringent regulations, many will be forced into the red and early retirement, while others will be encouraged to switch to more emission-efficient natural gas.
In September 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported, based upon multiple sources including Bernstein Research, that if all coal-fired power plants must install sulfur-dioxide scrubbers to meet EPA emissions standards for mercury and acid gases, energy production by coal-fired plants will decrease by approximately 9.6% by 2015, and this slack in production will probably be buttressed by a migration to natural gas. For instance, in August 2010 the Tennessee Valley Authority announced that it will idle nine coal-fired plants while continuing to expand its natural gas capacity. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that, whereas coal accounted for 18% and natural gas accounted for 42% of total new capacity in 2009, it’s predicted that coal will decrease to 10% and natural gas will increase to 82% of total new capacity by 2013.
A comprehensive two-year study released by the MIT Energy Initiative in 2010 (assuming a scenario where the U.S. mandates a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2050) predicts that total energy use would decrease, as well as coal’s share of the generation mix – to be substantially replaced by natural gas. “Because national energy use is substantially reduced, the share represented by gas is projected to rise from about 20% of the current national total to around 40% in 2040.”
In November 2010, Deutsche Bank released a report estimating that “coal-fired generation is forecast to decline from 47% to 22% in 2030, while electricity sector coal demand decreases from 930 million tons to 460 million tons.”
RESOLVED: Shareholders request a report (reviewed by a board committee of independent directors) on how the company is responding to increasing regulatory, public and competitive pressure to significantly reduce pollution from the company's operations and use of its primary products. This report will omit proprietary information, be prepared at reasonable cost, and be made available to shareholders by September 1, 2011.