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.
Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., announced Friday that the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act has acquired two more co-sponsors, bringing the total of backers for the measure to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act to a filibuster-proof 60, National Journal reports.
Fourteen senators from both sides of the aisle, many from ethanol-producing states, went to the White House Thursday to tell chief of staff Denis McDonough that the Environmental Protection Agency should make a bold move when it finalizes three years’ worth of blending mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard next month, The Hill reports.
Control of Miller Energy Resources Inc. will be handed over to an affiliate of Apollo Global Management LLC and J.P. Morgan Chase unit Highbridge, under an agreement in place as the Texas-based Alaska driller filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A sharp drop in the overall U.S. rig count—to levels not seen since 2002—sent oil prices rebounding Friday. West Texas Intermediate Crude for November delivery jumped 80 cents, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $45.54 a barrel on the Nymex, while in London, Brent gained 44 cents to $48.13, Marketwatch reports.
SolarCity says it plans to start producing a panel with an output of 22 percent—which it touts as a 40-percent improvement in efficiency—at its Silicon Valley factory this month, The New York Times reports.
“Storage is the solution” to integrating solar energy into the grid, SunPower Corp. CEO Tom Werner told E&E in an interview, adding that he thought the utility industry and the grid would be transformed within a decade.
The International Energy Agency expects the growth of the renewable energy sector to level off, meaning it will fall short of what’s needed “to meet ambitious climate change mitigation goals,” the agency's renewable chief told The Washington Post.