Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy has been staging a media blitz to sell President Barack Obama's plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants. This week, the coal industry fights back.
Coal miners and coal companies are taking to Capitol Hill to make their case that Obama's EPA is a threat to their jobs and low electricity costs. They'll be backed by coal-state lawmakers, who will unveil a draft bill to limit EPA powers and will stage their first hearing to air coal country criticism of McCarthy and Obama.
House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing, "EPA vs. American Mining Jobs: The Obama Administration’s Regulatory Assault on the Economy." West Virginia Coal Association Senior Vice President Chris Hamilton, Alaska Department of Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Edmond Fogels among witnesses.
The head of a key coal trade group sought to persuade the Obama administration to slowly phase in carbon capture requirements for new coal-fired power plants, and plans to continue making that argument.
"We put forward standards. I don't believe that you should just be against things, I think you need to have solutions," Robert "Mike" Duncan, president on the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, told the Platts Energy Week television show on Sunday.
One of big question marks under President Barack Obama's climate plan is the amount of carbon that must be cut from power plants to reach his goal of reducing emissions 17 percent by 2020.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy has contended that actual emissions reductions will be worked out with the states in advance of a proposal by next June. But one clue to the magnitude of the challenge was included in the Climate Action Report issued by the State Department on Thursday.
The report said Obama's target could be reached through overall annual energy sector carbon cuts from 8 percent to 12 percent by 2020, on top of reductions already expected from current regulations.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will make the case often in the coming months that proposed new power plant carbon regulations don't represent a war on coal, because no new coal plants were going to be built anyway.
Her critics accuse her of ignoring the cost of complying with EPA's mercury rule that will make old coal plants too expensive to upgrade. But what gives McCarthy confidence is the natural gas boom that President Barack Obama has embraced _ and must continue to encourage _ if he is to achieve his greenhouse gas reduction goals.
China's once-massive demand for coal appears to be waning as the nation looks to cut pollution and switch power sources, forcing some mining firms worldwide to look into more marketable commodities, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Wednesday became the first Democrat to announce his opposition to President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Manchin, an advocate for coal-fired power, said the day before that he was troubled by the testimony of former Colorado utility regulator Ron Binz during his Senate Energy and Natural Resources confirmation hearing. In a statement declaring he would vote against his confirmation, Manchin said he has "grave concerns" about how Binz would chair FERC, a move that adds new uncertainty to the nominee's confirmation chances.
The ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday said she cannot yet support President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, putting a question mark over his potential confirmation.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said at the confirmation hearing for former Colorado electricity regulator Ron Binz that she was concerned about his past statements on the role of regulators and about how he would lead FERC. "At this point I am not convinced that your views are compatible with FERC's mission," she said.
Climate change and the future of coal have become priority issues in the Virginia gubernatorial race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, with outside groups making heavy ad investments on both issues, ABC News reports.
President Barack Obama's regulatory and climate agendas take center stage in Washington this week with hearings on Capitol Hill and the planned release of his revised proposal to limit carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants.
First up will be a hearing scheduled Tuesday in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on three nominees, including his pick to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Environmental Protection Agency is set to follow, no later than Friday, with the release of the power plants proposal.
The U.S. power industry isn't sure what to think about the Supreme Court's ruling on mercury emission standards, with some calling the ruling "significant" and others downplaying its importance to utilities that are already complying, Platts reports.
Coal producers, including Arch Coal, Peabody Energy and Alpha Resources, got a boost in stock prices following the Supreme Court's ruled that EPA should have taken cost into account before pursuing mercury emission regulations, Bloomberg reports.
Crude oil prices slid further on Monday as traders looked to avert risks due to bank shutdowns in Greece and the slip in the deadline in nuclear talks with Iran, Reuters reports. Brent crude fell $1.20 to $62.02 a barrel, while U.S. crude dropped $1.30 to settle at $58.33 a barrel.
The Environmental Protection Agency's forthcoming Clean Power Plan may work to exacerbate already tense in-state relations between lawmakers and regulators, as they work together to develop state compliance plans for the rules, E&E reports.
Melting Arctic ice could work to alter ocean circulation patterns that transfer cold and warm water between the poles and the tropics, a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change says, a development that could shift climate patterns in Europe, The Washington Post reports.
Wildfires have burned more than 1.18 million acres across Alaska this month alone, putting the state on pace to exceed 2004, its worst wildfire season on record, where 6.59 million acres were burned, The Washington Post reports.
Cheniere Energy plans to take on as much as $5.8 billion in debt in order to expand its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas facility, which last week won additional authorization to export gas to countries without free trade agreements, FuelFix reports.
The local government in Lancashire County in England dealt a blow to British efforts to develop shale resources, rejecting a plan from Cuadrilla Resources to use hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas, The New York Times reports.