Unsung Role of Fossil Fuels in the Miracle of U.S. Growth

Past, Present, and Future, Part I

Robert Gordon’s seminal book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, has a pessimistic message with profound economic, social, and political implications. But nowhere in Gordon’s 762-page book does he give credit to fossil fuels for the economic miracle of the past two centuries. In this article, I focus on the critical historical role that fossil fuels played in creating the technological and economic miracles that Gordon articulates so well.

Splitting the Difference on Coal Ash

Industry wins exemption for ‘beneficial use’ but faces tighter rules on impoundments and landfills.

The EPA only has limited authority to implement and enforce a Subtitle D nonhazardous waste rule, like the coal combustion residuals rule. As a result, EPA had to promulgate the standards as “minimum federal criteria” that states are encouraged to adopt as part of their Subtitle D programs (but EPA cannot actually require states to adopt or implement these requirements.) Nonetheless, the new minimum criteria do indeed serve as legal standards that an owner or operator of a coal combustion residuals disposal unit must meet.

Keeping a Lid on Coal Ash

EPA’s rule said to favor repurposing and recycling – over landfills or disposal ponds.

The EPA’s new final rule marks a turning point in the handling of coal fly ash. EPA has tried to balance the needs of utilities with existing coal ash deposits and the needs of communities that are worried that such ponds will leak into waterways, or even worse, burst open and wreak havoc. In the process, it’s pleased few.

Hedging Your Bet on Cheap Gas

Portfolio theory points to energy efficiency as invaluable in resource planning.

Overlooked in planning, and undervalued by today’s low natural gas prices, energy efficiency offers a valuable hedge against fuel price volatility.

ClearSign Announces Agreement With Waste And Energy Services Company

ClearSign Combustion executed a letter of intent to enter into a multi-phase commercial development agreement with a waste and energy services company. Phase one of the anticipated three-phase agreement began in July with testing in ClearSign's Seattle combustion test facility. Subsequent phases would include full-scale testing and evaluation at a larger US-based facility. Additional contract details will be disclosed upon execution of the definitive agreement.