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.
In an Op-Ed for National Review, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican presidential hopeful, said he would end the ban on crude oil exports, halt the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and leave energy regulation to the states if elected.
President Barack Obama wants Congress to pass legislation commemorating the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, approve new infrastructure updates and set up an endowment for future projects, The Hill reports.
Rival factions in OPEC are split over whether the cartel should include oil-price forecasts in its imminent long-term strategy report, pitting Saudi Arabia and its allies, who wish to exclude price assumptions, against Iran and other members, Bloomberg reports.
The White House on Wednesday announced a set of actions aimed at supporting Alaskan communities impacted by climate change, including $17.6 million in grants for rural water infrastructure, new relocation funding and improved coordination between the state and federal governments, The Hill reports.
Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said the company's newly approved takeover of BG Group would allow it to become a "simpler and more profitable company" during a prolonged period of low oil prices, Platts reports.
Oil prices continued their downward slide Wednesday morning on news that U.S. crude stocks increased last week, Reuters reports. U.S. crude for October fell $1.93 to $43.48 per barrel, a 4.25 percent decline, while Brent crude dipped $1.51, or 3 percent, to $48.05 per barrel.
The European Union is poised to extend until March 15 a set of sanctions aimed at specific Russian and Ukrainian-separatist firms and individuals in an effort to press Russia to fully implement a ceasefire in Ukraine by the year's end, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A Dutch court ruled that a joint natural gas venture operated by Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil in the Netherlands must compensate homeowners for declining property values linked to drilling-induced earthquakes, Reuters reports.
Hitachi Ltd. is looking to expand its research into offshore wind energy and is considering development of a new manufacturing line that would produce parts for 5-megawatt systems by March 2016, Bloomberg reports.