Trump era’s first new coal mine opens in Pennsylvania

Global Business

Trump era's first new coal mine opens in Pennsylvania

U.S. President Donald Trump says he’s opened a “new chapter” for American coal mining. The mine opens one week after President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement, leading to criticism from world leaders and environmental activists.

CGTN’s Harry Horton reports.

A brand new coal mine in a rust belt county, is the sort of event that makes America Great Again, that’s why he swept up three quarters of the vote last November.

U.S. President Donald Trump couldn’t attend the opening in person, but in a video message, he promised the miners he’d make coal great again.

“As you all know and you all saw we have withdrawn the US from the horrendous Paris climate accord, something that would have put our country back decades and decades,” Trump said. “We would have never allowed ourselves to be great again.”

The coal dug up here will be sold to steel companies in the US, Europe and Asia. Local politicians here said they want global business, but not global agreements like the Paris accord.

“The rest of the world might not always like us,” Pennsylvania State Rep. Carl Metzgar said. “They might think us cowboys, coal miners but we’re dangerous and tough cowboys and coal miners and they certainly don’t hesitate to call us when things get bad.”

That is what locals say President Trump wants Americans to see. New coal mines and new jobs. But the question is, will it really boost the economy, and what’s the cost to the environment.

This mine creates up to 100 new jobs, but bosses insist it could lead to more than 500 indirect jobs.

Environmental groups said that’s minimal and investment in renewable energy makes more sense.

“It’s clear in the United States that coal companies are also investing in wind and solar and so I think the market forces are going to continue to push toward a low carbon future,” National Resources Defense Council’s Jake Schmidt said.

Activists and protesters see a new mine as a critical blow at a fragile time for the environment.

What the mine owners here want everyone to know is that American Coal is back and Donald Trump is the man to thank.

But as the United States backs away from tackling climate change, the rest of the world might not be listening.

Scientists offer utility firms cost-cutting methane mapping

A small disaster zone remains of a Colorado home after it exploded in April. Authorities blame odorless gas from a severed pipeline for the blast which killed two people.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

“Anytime you have a natural gas leak, it’s out of its pipe in an urban area,” Colorado State Univ. Assoc. Prof. Joe von Fischer said. “You can have an explosion risk if that gas were to accumulate inside a structure or inside of a closed environment.”

Joe von Fischer’s mission is tracking methane leaks. He says the main constituent in natural gas isn’t hard to find.

“There can be hundreds or thousands of natural gas leaks in some cities that have aging infrastructure,” he said.

This Colorado State University researcher has developed an infrared laser methane analyzer which when mounted on a car can find leaks more quickly.

“We’re able to find more subtle patterns in methane coming from natural gas in the environment than are most utilities using standard techniques,” said von Fischer.

Most utilities already do mobile leak detection. But it can be a time-consuming process. Cars have to drive slowly. Crews often have to get out of their vehicles and take readings manually.

“If you look at all the money we spend on looking for leaks, repairing leaks, replacing leaky pipe, it’s a very expensive proposition,” said National Grid Utility Vice President Sue Fleck.

Von Fischer’s technology, which he developed with the Environmental Defense Fund, using Google Street View mapping cars, detects leaks over a greater distance in vehicles that cover more ground.

“Because of the high sensitivity of these analyzers, you don’t need to spend as much time in a given area in order to get information about leak magnitude and locations,” von Fischer.

David Livingston provides expert analysis of the G-7 environment meeting

CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to David Livingston to get some expert analysis of the G-7 environment meeting. Livingston is an associate fellow of the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment.