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Trump budget highlights fossil fuels; Commerce Department seeks tariffs on steel

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Trump budget highlights fossil fuels; Commerce Department seeks tariffs on steel

Trump budget would offer more to fossil fuels, less to renewables, nukes

The Trump administration's latest budget request repeated calls to cut funding for many U.S. Department of Energy research programs but provide more money for certain other energy-related areas, including for fossil-fuel energy.

For fiscal year 2019, the White House requested $30.6 billion for the DOE, in line with the fiscal-year 2017 enacted level. The DOE budget request included $502 million for fossil energy research and development, $81 million above the 2017 enacted level and up sharply from the president's request of $280 million for the 2018 fiscal year.

Commerce Department recommendations on steel may boost US metallurgical coal

U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is recommending that President Donald Trump take "immediate action" to impose tariffs on imports of steel, a move that could be a boon to U.S. metallurgical coal producers.

The coal sector has been eyeing potential moves to stymie the imports of foreign steel based on potential increases in domestic demand for metallurgical coal used to make steel. Ross' report recommends either a global tariff of 24% on all steel imports, a tariff of at least 53% on steel imports from a targeted list of 12 countries or a quota on all countries' steel imports capped at 64% of their 2017 sales into the United States.

W.Va. lawmaker moves to streamline coal permitting by deferring to MSHA plans

A new bill introduced in the West Virginia legislature includes a provision to defer to federal authority instead of drafting individual state-approved mining plans.

Coal miner and state Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, introduced a bill containing provisions that would allow coal companies to submit plans approved by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to West Virginia regulators instead of creating separate state-approved plans. The law would apply to plans for ventilation, seals, roof control, belt air, self-contained self-rescuer storage, tracking and communication and emergency shelters.

DOE announces $44M in funding for carbon capture technology

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $44 million in funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced carbon capture technology projects.

The agency said in a Feb. 16 press release that the money will go to seven projects divided into two sections, one involving engineering-scale testing of solvent-based or membrane-based technology and another focused on designing a commercial-scale, post-combustion carbon capture system at an existing coal-fired generator.

DOE announces $6.5M funding for 9 coal pilot projects

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $6.5 million in funding split between nine coal technology research and development projects seeking to improve efficiency and lower environmental impacts.

The funding represents the first phase of three, announced in August 2017, which would invest $50 million in cost-shared research and development to develop two large-scale coal pilot projects that would advance the performance, efficiency, emission reduction and cost of electricity from coal-powered systems.

Wyo. lawmakers seek to sue Washington for blocking coal exports

Wyoming lawmakers have introduced legislation in the state House of Representatives that would authorize them to sue Washington for denying permits for planned coal export terminals critical to the future health of the Powder River Basin coal industry.

Republican representatives introduced a bill Feb. 8 that appropriates $250,000 into a fund for litigation and authorizes the legislature or management council of Wyoming to begin and prosecute the lawsuit.