Author Archive: Karl Cates

Director of Media Relations Karl Cates has been an editor for Bloomberg LP, an editor for the New York Times, and a consultant to the Treasury Department-sanctioned community development financial institution (CDFI) industry.

Data Bite: A Wind-Generation Record in the Lone Star State

Data Bite: A Wind-Generation Record in the Lone Star State

Gaining Ground at the Expense of Coal-Fired Electricity in Texas, and as a Federal Tax Incentive Hangs in the Balance

Texas is characterized typically as an oil-and-gas state, but the Lone Star State is also far and away the biggest producer of wind energy in the U.S., outpacing second-ranked California by a long shot. Globally speaking, Texas is the sixth-biggest producer of wind-powered electricity, right behind India and slightly ahead of Great Britain. Why? One […]

and December 16, 2015 Read More →
Appalachia’s Coal-Industry Troubles Started a Long Time Ago

Appalachia’s Coal-Industry Troubles Started a Long Time Ago

Production Has Waned Since the Late 1980s; Coal Jobs Have Been Disappearing for 30 Years; Unemployment Has Dropped Under Obama

One of the ugly myths promoted by the coal industry is that President Obama is to blame for its decline. It’s a narrative that’s of a piece with Obama Is a Muslim and Obama Is a Kenyan, canards that have an unspeakably hateful subtext at their heart. The “war-on-coal” chapter of these fictions took an especially […]

October 27, 2015 Read More →

Media Monitor: Op-Ed Epiphany, Informed Comebacks, and Two Editorials of Note

The Governor of West Virginia Says He’s Looking Beyond Coal

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has a remarkable column in yesterday’s Charleston Gazette-Mail in which he lays out the beginning at least of a vision for a post-coal economy in a state that for generations has been so deeply connected to coal. Tomblin has been governor for only three years but has spent his […]

September 2, 2015 Read More →

A War on Coal, Indeed (and No Talk of Truce)

News Coverage and Editorials That Acknowledge the Momentum Toward a Cleaner Energy Economy

Provocative may be the best way to describe comments published the other day in the Beckley, W.V., Register-Herald suggesting the region is coming to terms with its failing coal industry much like a person in the throes of coping with a profound loss. “They start with denial—and we’ve been in denial about the upcoming changes—that […]

August 12, 2015 Read More →

More Headline Risk Around Alberta’s Oil-Sands Industry

Questions Multiply on Future of Canadian Projects

July hasn’t been a very good media month for Alberta’s oil-sands industry, and not just because of all the coverage given the fifth anniversary of the Enbridge Inc. spill in the Kalamazoo River of northern Michigan. The Wall Street Journal had a one-two oil-sands punch with separate articles on the same day last week, one […]

July 27, 2015 Read More →

Arch Coal Versus the Vatican

An Industry Lobbyist Decrees the Pope Fallible; Brave Journalism Down Under; the Power of Content Partnerships

You have to wonder what Thomas Altmeyer, an Arch Coal lobbyist in Washington, was thinking when he sent around an email this week taking on Pope Francis. Altmeyer presumably meant the missive to be seen only by the members of Congress he directed it to. But, as emails will, it leaked. It was picked up […]

June 19, 2015 Read More →

Investors Flap Their Wings, Coal Industry Shudders

Power-Plant Skepticism in India; Regulatory Darkness in Alabama; Kemper on the Hot Seat; a Mickey Mouse Solar Park

The “butterfly effect” comes to mind on seeing what coal-industry executives must have perceived as an unnerving headline yesterday in Business Insider Australia, “A Chill Wind From Norway.”  The article, by Greg McKenna, follows up on news out of Oslo on Wednesday that Norwegian lawmakers have agreed to require the country’s gargantuan pension fund to […]

May 29, 2015 Read More →

Media Monitor: The Voodoo Economics of Coal-Industry Expansion

‘Financially Unviable’, Oil-Sands Setbacks, U.S. Royalty Reform

Tree huggers and protectors of the Great Barrier Reef have lots of sway, maybe, but theirs may not be the most powerful hex on a proposal to build one of the world’s biggest greenfield coal mines, as Jennifer Rankin tells it this week in The Guardian. Rankin’s piece explains how “bad economics” are bewitching the […]

May 15, 2015 Read More →

Media Monitor: U.S. Coal, Battered and Baffled, ‘Is on the Way Out’

The Typical American Fossil-Fuel Executive Is Behaving ‘Like a Deer in the Headlights’

Stark is the word to sum up Lester R. Brown’s assessment of the health of the U.S. coal industry. “The coal companies—the big ones—have really sort of bit the dust in terms of stock prices, in terms of sales,” Brown said yesterday in a nationally syndicated radio segment of WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show (“The Large-Scale […]

IEEFA Media Monitor: Nonprofit ‘Shills’ for a Utility Merger

IEEFA Media Monitor: Nonprofit ‘Shills’ for a Utility Merger

Exelon and Pepco Throw Some Money Around; Peabody Spins Its ‘Pay Cut’ Story; What Lies Past the Pay Walls

Mark Rosenman minces no words in a Chronicle of Philanthropy column this week about corporations that shape public policy by giving money to charities and then getting those charities to support what they want. Rosenman notes that it’s a time-tested and dark art being practiced with gusto (and success) recently by Exelon Corp. and Pepco […]