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DOE says coal plants need state support; EPA to delay coal ash pond closure


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DOE says coal plants need state support; EPA to delay coal ash pond closure

US EPA's mercury proposal ignores science, actual compliance costs, critics say

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's bid to rescind the legal basis for an Obama-era rule targeting mercury emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants ignores new science and lower-than-previously-estimated compliance costs, critics argued March 18.

The comments were delivered at the only public hearing for the EPA's December 2018 proposal to revoke the legal justification for the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

US SEC backs shareholder asking utilities to report costs of climate efforts

The U.S. SEC has sided with an energy company's request to block a pro-renewables resolution. It also has allowed a measure by the co-founder of a pro-coal campaign targeting two other utilities for their climate-related efforts.

On March 12, the SEC sided with a shareholder seeking to have Duke Energy Corp. and Exelon Corp. report on the costs and the benefits to shareholders, the public health and the environment of those companies' environment-related activities, while agency staff on March 13 gave MGE Energy Inc. the thumbs up to block a shareholder resolution that asked the company to outline its options for transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

Federal impact statement on NM coal project recommends operation through 2033

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement wrapped up its final environmental impact statement on a request from a former subsidiary of Westmoreland Coal Co. to mine 53 million tons of coal from federal land in New Mexico.

The proposed Deep Lease Extension modification to the mining plan would add 10 to 15 years to the operation's life until 2033, allowing newly formed Westmoreland Mining LLC to produce about 3 million tons of coal annually from the San Juan mine, according to a March 1 decision posted in the Federal Register on March 15.

Climate change takes center stage as Democrats vie for White House

Climate change has emerged as a top early issue for Democratic primary contestants in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, with most backing aggressive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

The subject could be a divisive one in the general election as Republicans, including President Donald Trump, blast the progressive Green New Deal aimed at lower reliance on fossil fuel-based energy, a plan many Democratic White House hopefuls support.

DOE's Perry: Coal, nuclear support need to be provided by states

The U.S. Department of Energy has not forgotten about the plight of at-risk coal and nuclear plants, but states should craft their own programs as a workable federal solution continues to elude the department, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said March 13 at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston.

Over a year has passed since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected the Trump administration's original plan to prop up coal and nuclear generators by guaranteeing full cost recovery and a return on investment for generators with 90-day on-site fuel supplies.

Moderate Democrats voice misgivings with Green New Deal, seek alternatives

A group of moderate Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives wants to find alternative ways to tackle climate change, saying the Green New Deal is ambitious but is not the right approach.

The New Democrat Coalition is a group of over 100 House Democrats committed to "pro-economic growth, pro-innovation and fiscally responsible" policies that can "bridge the gap between the left and right."

DC Circuit gives US EPA more time to reconsider coal ash pond closure deadline

A federal appeals court granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's request for more time to reconsider a rulemaking that extended the lives of unlined coal ash ponds, accepting utilities' assertions that vacating the extension would threaten the reliability of the nation's electric grid.

In doing so, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a request from environmental groups to stay or vacate the EPA's move to let unlined coal ash ponds continue operating until October 2020.

Labor secretary objects to Mission Coal's bankruptcy plan, citing health claims

The U.S. Labor Department secretary's office filed a limited objection to Mission Coal Co. LLC's Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan, calling on the company to include a provision to pay for claims incurred but not yet reported under its self-funded health plans.

The coal producer's wind-down plan does not contain funds to cover health claims incurred but not reported for its employees under its self-funded medical, dental and vision health plans once it stops operations, according to a March 11 filing with the U.S Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, southern division.