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DOE expects report on coal's alternative uses; House tax panel mulls carbon fee

European Energy Insights February 2021

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DOE expects report on coal's alternative uses; House tax panel mulls carbon fee

Mining-state Democrats propose bill to extend abandoned mine land fee to 2036

Six mining-state Democratic lawmakers recently introduced a bill to extend the abandoned mine land reclamation fee on coal producers by another 15 years beyond its fiscal 2021 expiration date.

Under the Abandoned Mine Land Fund fee, coal mine operators pay 28 cents per ton on surface-mined coal, 12 cents per ton on underground coal and 8 cents per ton on lignite to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, according to a U.S. Department of the Interior website.

Coal advisory group preparing report for DOE on possible alternative uses for coal

Parts of the U.S. coal industry are near finalizing a report requested by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry that envisions plenty of new uses for coal with potential to use volumes on the same order of magnitude as that projected for coal power generation in the country.

Perry requested a report on the potential of new markets for coal including carbon engineering projects, conversion to other fuels, and rare earth element extraction in an August 2018 letter to the National Coal Council.

Former US EPA head: Next White House should consider beefier Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator who oversaw the development of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan believes a future presidential administration should consider introducing a stronger version of the sweeping regulation targeting fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Report: US EPA plans big shift to nix increased deaths estimates of carbon rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reportedly will finalize a new approach to the way it measures the negative health effects of tiny airborne soot pollution as part of its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

The regulation, dubbed the Affordable Clean Energy rule, will include a cost-benefit analysis that assumes no additional health benefits can be gained by reducing fine particulate matter pollution below the current legal limit, according to The New York Times.

Ariz. regulators to discuss APS study on converting coal unit to burn biomass

Arizona utility regulators are scheduled to consider an Arizona Public Service Co. study assessing the feasibility and potential cost of modifying an existing coal-fired unit to burn forest cuttings in order to help reduce the risk of wildfires. They apparently will not, however, take up at the meeting a separate proposal by Arizona Corporation Commission staff related to utility electric vehicle pilot programs.

Alabama Power faces $250,000 fine for coal ash violations

Alabama's Department of Environmental Management proposes fining Alabama Power Co. $250,000 after groundwater near a coal ash pond at the Gadsden power plant in Etowah County, Ala., had high levels of arsenic and radium.

The Southern Co. subsidiary on May 2 submitted data from groundwater monitoring tests to the state agency, indicating that the utility "has caused or allowed the unpermitted discharge of pollutants" from the wastewater of the Gadsden coal ash pond into groundwater, according to an order proposed by the department.

US EPA watchdog finds former chief spent excessively on first-class travel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's internal watchdog said May 16 that the agency should consider recovering $124,000 in "excessive costs" related to former Administrator Scott Pruitt's use of first-class and business-class travel.

The EPA's Office of Inspector General said it launched the investigation after receiving "numerous congressional requests and hotline complaints" expressing concerns about Pruitt's travel "as well as that of those traveling with him."

US House tax panel mulls carbon fee at 1st climate hearing in 12 years

During its first climate change hearing in over a decade, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means considered the benefits and drawbacks of a potential federal fee on carbon dioxide emissions.

But enacting a carbon tax will require more forceful lobbying by the business community to overcome resistance from some lawmakers, particularly in the GOP-majority U.S. Senate, one Democratic committee member said.

More CEOs join ranks of companies lobbying for federal carbon price legislation

The CEOs of a number of companies have announced plans to lobby for federal climate legislation, including an economywide price on carbon.

The announcement comes as a growing number of energy and other companies are lobbying on climate change. Some participants in the new CEO dialogue initiative are already involved in similar climate or carbon legislation efforts.