Senate Democrats

Analysis: Reid's shadow over FERC

For the second time in a year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has turned what should be a noncontroversial appointment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission into yet another headache.

First, it was former Colorado electricity regulator Ron Binz last fall, bowing out of his nomination to chair FERC in the face of opposition by Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va. over his views on natural gas and coal.

Now Reid is faced with finding a way to confirm President Barack Obama's followup nominee for chairman, Norman Bay.

AEP projects higher-than-projected coal burn this year


Ohio-based utility American Electric Power said it would burn more about 60 million short tons of coal this year, up as much as 15 percent from earlier projections, Platts reports.

Energy Guardian

Democrats air plan to extend LaFleur's time as FERC acting chair

Senate Democrats on Tuesday floated a proposal to resolve the concerns of a key colleague about President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, one that would leave Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur in the post for some time to come.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., said the proposal to confirm Norman Bay to the commission and confirm LaFleur for a second term, while leaving her in her current post as acting chair, would address concerns by him and Republicans that Bay lacks sufficient regulatory experience.

Utilities' political sway limits fear of EPA regs


The EPA's plan to allow states to develop plans to achieve federal limits on carbon emissions at existing power plants has tempered fear among utilities, confident that their sway over state governments will result in more favorable regulations, E&E reports.

China's pollution woes could hinder U.S. coal export ambitions


China's recent moves to limit reliance on coal in order to cut air pollution may scuttle some U.S. coal companies' export ambitions, already suffering from a number of domestic challenges, Bloomberg reports.

FERC photo

Landrieu gives GOP more time before committee vote on FERC nominee Bay

A committee vote on President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission won't happen this week, according to an aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is raising new questions about the choice.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, proposed a business meeting Thursday on the nomination of Norman Bay. But Murkowski, the ranking Republican from Alaska, asked for more time to deliberate on his nomination, her spokesman Robert Dillon said.

An aide to Landrieu confirmed that she agreed to put off the meeting on Bay and the nomination of Cheryl LaFleur to a second term on the five-member commission. LaFleur's term expires at the end of this month.

Kentucky making moves to limit coal reliance

The New York Times

Despite loud opposition to the EPA's limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants in coal-rich Kentucky, some state officials say the state is already moving toward reducing its reliance on coal and competition from natural gas will keep power prices at bay, The New York Times reports.

Under attack, coal maintains its political muscle

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The coal industry is shedding thousands of jobs and facing the government's most severe crackdown on carbon emissions yet. But king coal still flexes its political muscle in Kentucky and West Virginia, where Republicans and even Democrats try to out-coal one another by cozying up to the industry and slamming President Barack Obama.

In other coal-producing areas such as Ohio and Virginia, Democrats have been able to win even with the industry against them. That's not an option for politicians in the heart of Appalachia.

Many people here still cling to coal as a source of work and cultural pride, so almost everyone running for office seeks the mantle of coal savior, or at least defender.

FERC photo

FERC nominee Bay says grid can handle Obama carbon rule

President Barack Obama's nominee to become the nation's top electricity regulator isn't buying assertions coming from critics of power plant carbon regulations, who contend reliability could be undermined by the 30 percent emissions cut proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Norman Bay, nominated to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said in written answers to questions raised by members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that planning by industry, regulators and grid operators "can help anticipate and address any potential implications for resource adequacy and reliability."

Blast rocks Kosovo power plant; at least 3 dead

OBILIC, Kosovo (AP) — A huge explosion rocked Kosovo's main power plant Friday, killing at least three people and injuring more than a dozen, a government official told The Associated Press Friday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the number of casualties was not final and the official was not authorized to talk to the media before the families of the victims could be notified.

The official said authorities believe the blast at Kosovo A power plant was caused during a botched replacement of hydrogen canisters used for cooling generators. The powerful blast was heard in the nearby capital, Pristina. A black plume of smoke could be seen rising from the coal-fired plant, as ambulances ferried the injured to hospitals.


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