Friday, March 31, 2017

Top 3 coal producers want U.S. to keep climate-change agreement; top independent doesn't

The top three coal producers in the U.S.—Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Cloud Peak Energy—told White House officials they would not object to the U.S. remaining in the Paris climate-change agreement, particularly if the Trump administration "can secure more financial support for technology to reduce pollution from the use of coal," Andrew Restuccia reports for Politico. But that approach faces resistance from others in the industry, such as Murray Energy, the largest private coal company in the country. CEO Robert Murray has close ties to the Trump administration.

White House sources said Peabody, Arch and Cloud Peak, which are publicly traded and mine more than 42 percent of the coal produced in the U.S., "hope to see their policy priorities reflected in the reworked domestic climate plan that the Trump administration would probably submit if it decides to stay in the 2015 Paris deal," Restuccia reports. "In the agreement, the U.S. and nearly 200 nations committed to take steps in the coming decades to sharply reduce their emissions of the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet."

Arch spokeswoman Logan Bonacorsi "praised the administration for reconsidering former President Barack Obama's climate change regulations for power plants and focusing instead on 'driving progress on advanced, low-emissions fossil fuel technologies that will provide far greater benefits over time,' but she did not directly address the company's position on the international deal," Restuccia writes. Peabody and Cloud Peak did not comment.

"Other coal companies remain deeply opposed to the U.S. remaining in the Paris deal, arguing that the global effort to crack down on emissions could further harm the ailing industry," Restuccia writes. Robert Murray "called the deal 'illegal' and a waste of taxpayer money in a February speech in Miami. He joined the president on Tuesday when Trump signed an executive order that took the first steps toward repealing key portions of Obama's climate agenda."

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