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.
Under pressure from Democrats, Republican and the White House to step down, Rafael Moure-Eraso has resigned as chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, although the CSB said he would remain a member until mid-April, National Journal reports.
A budget amendment from Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., which some say is a referendum on opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, was approved on a 59-40 vote, E&E reports.
Oil has started to give back some of its recent gains as fears that the Yemen conflict would affect the supply in the region have receded. U.S. benchmark crude was $1.05 lower to $50.38 a barrel in electronic trading on the Nymex, while in London Brent also fell $1.05 to $58.14, Reuters reports.
Brazil’s troubled state-run oil company has picked development bank chief Luciano Coutinho as chairman, disappointing some who had wanted to see an outsider in the post, The Wall Street Journal reports.