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Bill decarbonizing energy sector out within weeks; Glencore faces lawsuit

Bill to decarbonize US energy sector coming within weeks

Democratic leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce hope to release within weeks a draft proposal for decarbonizing the country's energy sector, including electric power plants. The pending draft bill is one of several that committee Democrats are forming to help the U.S. achieve a "100% clean economy" by 2050 to avoid the worst potential impacts of climate change.

Glencore faces lawsuit from investors over bribery probes

Institutional investors in Glencore PLC plan to sue the Swiss commodities giant for claims "expected to run into the billions" over share price drops caused by bribery probes it is facing, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 5, citing a statement by New York-based law firm Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office recently confirmed that it is investigating Glencore on suspicions of bribery as part of its business affairs. This comes after similar probes in the U.S. and Canada pulled down the company's share price in the past 18 months, the report said.

FERC probes ties between potential El Paso Electric buyers and JPMorgan

The buyers behind the proposed sale of El Paso Electric Co. will need to provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with more details concerning an investment fund's relationship with a JPMorgan Chase & Co. subsidiary before the agency signs off on the deal. In a Dec. 5 deficiency letter, FERC directed the buyers ⁠— IIF US Holdings 2 LP, or IIF 2, which is advised by J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc. — to disclose much of the same information sought by Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group that has raised questions about the close ties between the two entities.

Bankruptcy court confirms Cloud Peak's reorganization plan 7 months after filing

A federal bankruptcy court approved Cloud Peak Energy Inc.'s disclosure statement and confirmed its bankruptcy reorganization plan nearly seven months after the Powder River Basin producer filed for bankruptcy protection. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross approved the company's plan in a Dec. 5 filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The court had previously approved the sale of Cloud Peak's mines to Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC, making the latter one of the nation's largest coal producers by volume.

Coal union prepares to renegotiate agreement with Murray Energy amid bankruptcy

The United Mine Workers of America is preparing to defend its union members and retirees in the months ahead as Murray Energy Corp. advances through bankruptcy proceedings. Murray Energy, the nation's largest privately held coal company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October alongside certain subsidiaries amid more than $8 billion in potential and actual legacy liabilities and $2.7 billion in outstanding funded debt obligations.

US EPA's mercury proposal ignores billions in health benefits, economists find

A group of economists released a report Dec. 4 suggesting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ignoring the latest science in its bid to scrap the legal basis for an Obama-era rule targeting mercury emissions from power plants. The report was produced by the External Environmental Economics Advisory Committee, a newly created entity comprising academic experts from schools including the University of Southern California, Yale University, Duke University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles and the independent research firm Resources for the Future.

States cut environmental budgets as attorneys general fought federal rollbacks

Some states decreased financial support or staffing levels for their own agencies' pollution control programs in 2018 compared to a decade prior even as attorneys general for 28 states stepped up their efforts to slow the pace of environmental regulatory rollbacks under the Trump administration, according to two new reports. Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, more than two dozen state attorneys general have taken at least 300 actions related to defending federal and state environmental regulations and laws, including those related to tackling climate change, according to a Dec. 9 report by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at New York University School of Law.