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Trump energy rules under scrutiny; talks to keep Montana coal mine open continue


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Trump energy rules under scrutiny; talks to keep Montana coal mine open continue

EPA science panel questions Trump energy rule rollbacks

A federal advisory panel that provides scientific guidance to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns with some of the Trump administration's efforts to undo or relax environmental regulations affecting the energy sector. The concerns were laid out in several draft reports that the EPA's Science Advisory Board made public ahead of a Jan. 17 meeting on the documents.

Deadline approaches as Montana officials work with NTEC to keep coal mine open

Montana state officials continue to negotiate with the Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC, or NTEC, over operation of the Spring Creek coal mine acquired during the bankruptcy reorganization of Cloud Peak Energy Inc. A temporary and limited waiver of sovereign immunity agreement between the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and NTEC expires Jan. 8. Rebecca Harbage, the DEQ's public policy director, said Jan. 6 that the two parties are still negotiating the terms of a long-term resolution.

US Congress: Climate, clean energy tax bills to be 'front and center' in 2020

Despite facing low odds of enactment, U.S. lawmakers are likely to keep pushing ambitious legislation in 2020 to address climate change as they sharpen their messages on the issue ahead of the November elections. But members of the U.S. Congress could score victories on more modest, bipartisan measures to curb global warming, including bills to fund research and development of low-carbon technologies and expand tax incentives for clean energy sources. Chances are also good for signing a broad surface transportation bill into law that contains climate- and energy-focused provisions, industry sources say.

Additional West Coast coal export capacity unlikely in near term, experts say

Proposed West Coast coal export terminals made little headway in 2019, and two experts recently said they did not expect additional capacity to open in the near term. Two planned western coal terminals, one in Longview, Wash. and one in Oakland, Calif., have been tied up in various legal battles with local or state governments as well as environmental groups.

SEC proposed rule would have blocked 614 ESG resolutions since 2010, data shows

Since 2010 more than 600 environmental, social and governance-related resolutions likely would have never advanced under a newly proposed rule by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to data the Sustainable Investments Institute shared with S&P Global Market Intelligence. The SEC in November 2019 proposed to increase the amount of support a shareholder resolution required to be reconsidered in the years following an initial vote.

Shareholder takes NorthWestern to court on anti-coal-fired generation resolution

A shareholder of NorthWestern Corp. asked a federal court to order the utility to include an environmental resolution in the proxy materials for its 2020 annual meeting. Shareholder and lawyer Thomas Tosdal has proposed a resolution to have the utility "cease coal-fired generation of electricity from the Colstrip plant" in Montana and replace that capacity with renewables and energy storage by the end of 2025.

Coal's relationship with rails, regulators highlighted amid rulemaking activity

While the National Coal Transportation Association became increasingly active on issues before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in 2019, its executive director said the coal sector has a solid relationship with the board and the railroad companies. The board is considering several issues, including those pertaining to the railroad rate reform process, demurrage and revenue adequacy, according to John Ward. Ward began serving the association as executive director in early May.