In the news today and from the weekend…
- E&E Greenwire reports health officials in Pittsburgh are ordering the reduction of coking coal in their steel producing plants following a Christmas Eve fire that affected pollution controls at one of its plants.
- The Register Herald (WV) and the Fayette Tribune (WV) carries an op-ed from Dr. John P. David, professor emeritus of economics at West Virginia University Institute of Technology and director of the Southern Appalachian Labor School. In the piece, David argues the Black Lung Excise tax should remain at its current level.
- The Exponent Telegram (WV) carries an op-ed in which the author writes that cutting the coal severance tax isn’t the best answer for West Virginia.
- Utility Dive reports the agreement to keep the 847-MW San Juan coal plant in New Mexico open, saving jobs and maintaining the local tax base according to Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes.
- Reuters reports over 90 percent of 265 U.S. coal plants that monitor groundwater near coal ash heaps have unsafe amounts of toxic metals compared to federal standards, with 52 percent of the plants having elevated levels of arsenic, according to a report from multiple environmental groups.
- Alabama Media Group reports the William Crawford Gorgas Electric Generating Plant is set to be retired in April, but Alabama Power customers will be repaying about $740 million in costs related to the Walker County coal power plant long after it closes.
- Seattle Times reports Washington’s state Senate passes a bill requiring utilities to stop using coal by 2025.
- NPR reports fewer than 130,000 households still use coal for heat, but the coal industry wants to boost that number and has a plan to attract more customers.
- Utility Dive reports New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to phase out old peaking power plants in an effort to get to 100 percent clean energy.
- The Washington Examiner reports Energy Secretary Perry warned that a polar vortex descending on the US in the first half of March would be a major test of our nation’s electricity grid, and pushed for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy.
- InsideEPA reports speakers at EPA’s public hearing on its proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule gave early signals of how they plan to attack or defend the eventual final version of the rule in court, with environmentalists hinting at procedural and substantive arguments that they could raise in litigation aimed at striking down a narrow CWA test.
- PoliticoPro reports since joining EPA 16 months ago, air chief Bill Wehrum restarted an effort he took up when he worked for the Bush EPA: paring back the New Source Review program.
- The New York Times reports Senate Minority Leader Schumer said he intends to announce a proposal for a special Senate panel this week that would examine climate change, and that he wants to bring climate legislation to a vote in early 2021 if Democrats assume control of the presidency and Senate in the 2020 elections.
- E&E Daily reports the first specifically climate-focused hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in nearly seven years will occur tomorrow as members meet to consider climate change and the electric sector.