Author Archive: Tom Sanzillo

Director of Finance Tom Sanzillo has 30 years of experience in public and private finance, including as a first deputy comptroller of New York State, where he held oversight over a $156 billion pension fund and $200 billion in municipal bond programs. 


IEEFA New York: NYC Pension Funds Begin to Craft a Fossil-Fuel Divestment Path Others Can Follow

IEEFA New York: NYC Pension Funds Begin to Craft a Fossil-Fuel Divestment Path Others Can Follow

As the Financial Rationale Grows, a Mechanism for Exercising Fiduciary Responsibility

A certain recent RFP from the New York City comptroller on behalf of the city’s pension funds could be the beginning of something big. It calls for a carbon footprint analysis of the funds’ holdings and advertises an opening for a climate-risk investment-strategy consultant. While the RFP is shrouded in pension-speak, its aim is clear: […]

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IEEFA Puerto Rico: The Hidden Boogeyman in the Commonwealth’s Debt Crisis

IEEFA Puerto Rico: The Hidden Boogeyman in the Commonwealth’s Debt Crisis

What’s overlooked in Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is how so much of it can be tied back to a dangerously fossil-fuel dependent and debt-laden electricity system. The bill that Congress passed—and that President Obama signed into law last week—ignores dangerous flaws in makeover plans for the island’s utility, which would only worsen Puerto Rico’s dire economic situation. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is […]

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A Coal Boss Praised for Hard-Earned Success Appears to Be Taking the Low Road Out


A Coal Boss Praised for Hard-Earned Success Appears to Be Taking the Low Road Out


The CEO of Murray Energy Was Different, or So It Seemed

The news that Murray Energy, the largest privately held coal producer in the U.S., is considering laying off 80 percent of its workforce shows that even coal executives who preach the gospel of “change or die” cannot save an industry crumbling against competition from renewable energy and natural gas. CEO Bob Murray is pretty much […]

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Why Utah’s Coal Port Investment in Oakland Is So Suspect

Why Utah’s Coal Port Investment in Oakland Is So Suspect

A Backdoor Tax Increase Absent Normal Oversight 


This week we signed onto a letter asking for a federal review of the odd transaction that diverts $53 million in Utah taxpayer dollars to a port expansion 730 miles away in California. It’s a letter well worth expounding on. Here goes. While environmentalists are opposed to the project for its climate-change and pollution effects, […]

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Coal Industry on the Brink in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

Coal Industry on the Brink in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

Where Is the Leadership to Help Families, Communities, and Economies Manage the Change?

It is past time for governors and legislators in the Rocky Mountain West to seriously plan for what they are going to do to help mining communities and families hit hard by the coal industry’s collapse. These leaders—in the six states from the Canadian border to Mexico—have been silent for too long. The coal-mining sector […]

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Investment Bank Blindness to Risk in Fossil-Fuel Sector

Institutions That Fail to Heed Market Warnings Are Likely to End Up With Far Worse Than Bad Grades From the Rainforest Action Network

When did the finance industry abandon basic long-term business and investment principles? And why does an environmental organization have to play the role of canary in the coal mine? A new report by Rainforest Action Network shows just how deep the banking sector is buried in fossil fuel investments with shrinking returns. The RAN research […]

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The Statistics Speak: U.S. Coal Rebound, if It Happens, Will Most Likely Be Muted

Industry Production Down, Market Out of Balance as Natural Gas Prices Remain Low

The most recent monthly electricity-sector compilation from the Energy Information Administration shows coal-fired generation accounting for just 23.7 percent of generation in the U.S., which means that number averaged 29 percent of the first quarter. Last year coal held 33 decade of the market,a decade ago 48.5 percent. In March (see the post above) natural […]

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Emblematic of a Sector in Distress, Homer City Power Station in West Pennsylvania Is on the Ropes

Emblematic of a Sector in Distress, Homer City Power Station in West Pennsylvania Is on the Ropes

The Hour Is Late for This Generator and for the Mines That Supply It; More Evidence that U.S. Merchant Coal Plants Are No Longer Viable

In late 2012, Edison International’s 1,884-megawatt Homer City Generating Station in western Pennsylvania went bankrupt. The subsequent workout allowed General Electric Capital Corp, the major bondholder in the plant, to take control. Now, on the heels of a weak end-of-year 2015 financial report, GE has indicated that the plant is in default on its debt […]

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What Happened When a Power Plant Closed in Upstate New York? Electricity Prices Stayed Low and Outside Coal-Fired Power Wasn’t Required

What Happened When a Power Plant Closed in Upstate New York? Electricity Prices Stayed Low and Outside Coal-Fired Power Wasn’t Required

The Grid Is Unaffected by the Retirement of Huntley Power Station


Our 2014 report on the failing financial health of the Huntley Generation Station in Tonawanda, N.Y., highlighted the fact that regional grid operators were relying less and less on the plant for electricity. Huntley’s capacity factor—the ratio of how much power it produced versus how much it was capable of producing—had been declining for five […]

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A Top Industry Advisor, Long Singing the Coal-Export Anthem, Follows a New Tune

A Top Industry Advisor, Long Singing the Coal-Export Anthem, Follows a New Tune

Firm Continues to Distance Itself From Its Previous Assessments

Wood Mackenzie in the lead-up to the collapse in the coal industry was the principal major business consultancy driving bullishness on the global coal trade. Granted, Wood Mackenzie is a firm with a great brand name—much of it deserved. Its coal-export analysis in recent years is not among the sagas that have earned it its strong reputation, […]

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