U.S. Energy News

Coal companies position themselves as part of climate solution

COAL: The three largest U.S. coal producers are promoting carbon capture and sequestration while lobbying for a tax bill to expand government subsidies to reduce the environmental impact of coal burning. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• An appeals court won’t rehear the case of former coal company CEO Don Blankenship, who was convicted of conspiring to violate safety standards prior to a deadly mining disaster. (Associated Press)
• The Interior Department blocks Obama-era changes to how the federal government values coal extracted from public lands pending the outcome of legal challenges from mining companies. (Associated Press)
• The Trump administration will wait four months to consider a requirement that coal companies prove they have the finances to clean up polluted mining sites. (Associated Press)

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FRACKING: In an effort to curb fracking-related earthquakes, Oklahoma regulators say 71 new wells must limit their underground wastewater disposal. (Reuters)

PIPELINES: A New Jersey commission votes to approve a controversial natural gas pipeline that will run through the protected Pinelands forest. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

POLLUTION: An underwater natural gas pipeline that began leaking in Alaska nearly three weeks ago can’t easily be shut down, according to the company that owns the pipeline, and it’s posing a threat to endangered beluga whales in the region. (InsideClimate News)

CARBON TAX: Exxon Mobil’s new CEO speaks out in support of a revenue-neutral carbon tax on his blog, saying it would “provide incentives for markets to develop additional low-carbon energy solutions for the future.” (Bloomberg)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A dysfunctional federal gas tax system is causing more states to implement fees on electric vehicles, with 10 states already charging customers. (Vox)

SOLAR:
• By surveying wide regions from the air, drones are helping companies design solar farms that can fit more panels on a piece of land. (Guardian)
• A California company plans to build a 5-megawatt solar farm on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. (Pacific Business News)

POLICY:
• A new bill introduced in Georgia would prohibit state regulators from recommending or mandating any changes to utilities’ energy generation mix, which critics say would hurt solar growth. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• An energy lobbyist and former top aide to President Trump tells a coal association that research funding for wind and solar power will likely be cut by the administration. (Time)

POLITICS:
• EPA administrator Scott Pruitt lied to the Senate under oath about using a private email address to conduct state business, meaning thousands of emails he sent to oil and gas companies still haven’t been disclosed. (ThinkProgress)
• The Oklahoma attorney general’s office moves to block a judge’s order to release more emails between Scott Pruitt and fossil fuel companies. (Huffington Post)
• President Trump will demand tens of billions of dollars in budget cuts from the EPA and State Department, while sharply increasing spending on defense, according to four senior administration officials. (New York Times)

REGULATION: EPA chief Scott Pruitt announces plans to roll back the Clean Power Plan and rules governing methane emissions and water. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY:
• A Republican plan for a carbon tax should include a climate mitigation approach called cap and dividend, says a former field director with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. (Scientific American)
• The vice president for research at MIT explains how to fight coal emissions while still supporting coal communities. (Washington Post)
• The Trump administration’s budget proposals would cut the Department of Energy’s research funding, crippling clean energy progress, according to an associate director at the Council on Foreign Relations. (Quartz)

 

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