Reuters: Trump Seeks to Ax Appalachia Economic Programs, Causing Worry in Coal Country

President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating funding for economic development programs supporting laid-off coal miners and others in Appalachia, stirring fears in a region that supported him of another letdown on the heels of the coal industry’s collapse.

The 2018 budget proposal submitted to Congress by the White House on Thursday would cut funds to the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The Washington-based organizations are charged with diversifying the economies of states like West Virginia and Kentucky to help them recover from coal’s decline.

The proposed cuts would save the federal government $340 million and come as the Republican president seeks to slash a wide array of federal programs and regulations to make way for increased military spending.

International Energy Agency: CO2 Emissions Flat for Third Straight Year Even as Global Economy Grew in 2016

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency, signaling a continuing decoupling of emissions and economic activity. This was the result of growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency, as well as structural changes in the global economy.

Global emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatons last year, the same as the previous two years, while the global economy grew 3.1%, according to estimates from the IEA. Carbon dioxide emissions declined in the United States and China, the world’s two-largest energy users and emitters, and were stable in Europe, offsetting increases in most of the rest of the world.

New York Times: With EPA Cuts, States Would Lose Help in Emergencies

Late one Friday night in 2014, Ohio’s environmental agency received word of a frightening test result from Toledo’s water supply: A toxic greenish substance had rendered the drinking water of half a million Toledo residents unsafe to drink.

“Immediately we reached out to the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Craig Butler, the director of Ohio’s environmental agency. “Because of the scale of the problem, and the technical knowledge required, we needed their expertise.”

State officials flew water samples from Toledo to an EPA laboratory in Cincinnati, where staff scientists identified the substance as microcystin, a rare but toxic substance that is produced by algae blooms in water and causes liver damage in humans.

The resources to respond to those emergencies, along with much of the other state-level work performed by the agency, would be eliminated or sharply reduced by President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal 2018, which cuts the EPA by 31 percent, more than any other agency.

Guardian: Seawater Could Provide the Solution to South Australia's Power Woes

The federal government has announced a $2 billion plan to expand the iconic Snowy Hydro scheme. It will carry out a feasibility study into the idea of adding “pumped hydro” storage capacity, which it says could power up to 500,000 homes.

Hydro is one of the oldest and most mature electricity generation technologies. And pumped hydro storage -- in which water is pumped uphill for later use, rather than simply flowing downriver through a hydro power station -- is the dominant form of energy storage globally.

But there are limitations to how much freshwater hydro can be accessed, so it’s worth looking at what alternate approaches are available. One promising prospect is to use seawater instead of rivers. This tactic could potentially help South Australia resolve its highly publicized energy problems.

Associated Press: NV Energy Pulling Plug on Coal-Fired Power Plant Near Vegas

Environmental advocates and members of an Indian tribe who live nearby hailed the closure Thursday of an embattled coal-fired NV Energy power plant 40 miles north of Las Vegas.

Officials from the state's dominant electric utility marked the occasion by flipping a transformer switch to disconnect the fourth and final unit of the Reid Gardner Generating Station near Moapa from the regional power grid. The first three units shut down in late 2014.

The Moapa Band of Paiutes, which has long blamed the Reid-Gardner plant for environmental and health concerns, issued a statement applauding NV Energy "for standing by its commitment to retire this plant."