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Coal lobbying slips; industry advocates back bill to ban future moratoriums


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Coal lobbying slips; industry advocates back bill to ban future moratoriums

Coal lobbying spending down 26% in Q2'17 as Trump administration takes hold

U.S. coal lobbying expenditures have gone down as the mining industry focuses on regulatory issues in the wake of an election that left the sector in a more favorable political environment. According to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of coal-sector spending, lobbying expenditures from industry advocates and coal mining companies declined 21.4% from the first quarter of 2017 to the second quarter. That is a drop of $447,460 from the industry's total spending of $2.1 million in the first quarter.

Conservative witnesses say coal moratorium, social cost of carbon hurt US jobs

A fossil fuel advocate and a conservative think tank fellow have expressed support for federal legislation that would ban future coal lease moratoriums and prohibit federal agencies from considering the social cost of greenhouse gases when taking action.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who introduced a bill that would require a joint resolution of approval from Congress to implement any future federal coal lease moratoriums, said at a July 27 hearing that while Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke had lifted the previous coal lease moratorium, measures were needed to stop the possibility of such a moratorium from happening again without full congressional approval.

Witness Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, said Cheney's bill would help insulate the coal industry against partisan politics of the day and Congress should have a say in such matters.

Enviros expand administration suit over public records regarding coal moratorium

An environmental group expanded a suit aimed at the Trump administration for failing to release public records regarding the federal coal lease moratorium. According to a document filed July 26 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Center for Biological Diversity, or CBD, has expanded the lawsuit to include the U.S. Department of the Interior.

William Snape, CBD's senior counsel, said the environmental group did not include the U.S. Department of the Interior in the original lawsuit since the agency initially sent a receipt acknowledging it had received the Freedom of Information Act request. Snape blamed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for the "radio silence" since the first receipt, suggesting agency leadership had clamped down on potential responses.

EPA planning 'inside the fence' replacement for Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears set to replace the broadly scoped Clean Power Plan with a narrower rule requiring generators to make plant-specific thermal efficiency improvements to coal-fired facilities, according to a former transition team member for President Donald Trump and two industry sources familiar with the agency's plans.

Myron Ebell, who advised the Trump campaign on environmental policy and is director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Energy and Environment, told S&P Global Market Intelligence in a recent interview that the EPA's Clean Power Plan replacement strategy is expected to follow an "inside the fence" approach to regulating power plant emissions, meaning generators would be required only to make changes within the power plant site.

Sierra Club rallies for effluent rule; utilities call review 'vitally important'

The Sierra Club rallied in Washington, D.C., July 31 to press the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to back off a planned delay and review of the 2015 effluent limitation guidelines for steam electric power plants as the agency held an open house for comment on the proposal.

"These new standards were a big step forward, and unfortunately the new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is trying to take that away from the American people," said Mary Anne Hitt, the organization's Beyond Coal Campaign director. "We are not going to stand for it. We're here to stand up for our clean water."

US should continue to invest in carbon capture demos, report says

A nonpartisan study on energy demonstration projects recommends that the U.S. should continue to invest in a wide variety of innovative technologies, including carbon capture and storage.

"The United States should build and sustain a robust, diverse portfolio of technology demonstration projects as part of a comprehensive clean energy innovation policy. Its current portfolio is not robust, and it is rapidly dwindling," said the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation in a summary of the report released July 26.