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Manchin's Opposition May Doom Clean-Power Plan Biden Backs

Senator Joe Manchin has told the White House and congressional leaders that he will not support including a key clean-power provision in the Democrats’ spending package, putting at risk a central element of the legislation designed to fight climate change, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

Joe Manchin

A final decision about the fate of the program, which would pay utilities for using clean energy and penalize those that don’t, hasn’t been made, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing non-public deliberations. But without the support of Manchin, who holds a swing vote on the package, it’s not likely to survive, the person said.

“Senator Manchin has clearly expressed his concerns about using taxpayer dollars to pay private companies to do things they’re already doing,” Sam Runyon, a spokesman for Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said. “He continues to support efforts to combat climate change while protecting American energy independence and ensuring our energy reliability.”

The program, known as the Clean Electricity Performance Program, has been a major priority for the White House and President Joe Biden’s goal of de-carbonizing the nation’s electric grid by 2035. He’s due to travel to Scotland for a United Nations conference starting October 31 where he’ll seek to show US leadership on fighting climate change.

“We don’t comment on the state of our negotiations with the wide array of Senators offering views about the Build Back Better agenda,” said Vedant Patel, a White House spokesman. “The White House is laser focused on advancing the President’s climate goals and positioning the United States to meet its emission targets in a way that grows domestic industries and good jobs.”

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Montana and Wyoming See Increase in Coal Production

Coal production has increased in Montana and Wyoming due to demand in the Asia Pacific region.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said coal production increased 2% in Montana and 7% in Wyoming this year compared to the first nine months of 2020.

Steve Read of Signal Peak Energy said exports are the primary driver of Montana coal production. He said coal trains from Signal Peak go to British Columbia for shipping, with the coal most likely going to Japan.

“We have spent years developing the Japanese market, and that is our most reliable market. It is the highest valued market for our product,” Read told the Billings Gazette in a story on Saturday.

Exports of U.S. steam coal, the kind used in power plants and the kind of coal produced in the two states, were up about 47% in the first half of the year compared to the first six months of 2020.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com. 

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American Resources Corporation Engages Contract Mining Company to Operate Its Carnegie 2 Metallurgical Carbon Mine and to Further Expand Production

American Resources Corporation, a next generation and socially responsible supplier of raw materials to the new infrastructure and electrification marketplace, today announced that it has engaged a contract mining company to operate its Carnegie 2 mine. The Company's Carnegie 2 mine is the second of a series of metallurgical carbon mines located in Pike County, Kentucky accessing high-quality carbon from the Alma seam specific and an essential ingredient to the production of new steel.

Mark Jensen, CEO of American Resources Corporation commented, "Now that we have restarted our McCoy Elkhorn processing and logistics complex as well as our Carnegie 1 mine, it is important for us to rapidly scale our production of high-quality metallurgical carbon to meet the growing demands of the infrastructure market and our customer base. With so many constrained supply chains worldwide, we are expecting a longer-term tightening in the metallurgical carbon market when combined with a lack of invested capital throughout the industry. We find ourselves in an exciting position to be a long-term supplier given the unique growth platform of assets we have built over the past six years and the restructuring efforts we have made to cut costs and streamline efficient operations. We're excited to have come to terms with a proven producer that has access to strong and dependable talent in the industry."

The Company's Carnegie 2 mine accesses the same boundary of premium High Vol A/B carbon as its Carnegie 1 mine. The Carnegie 2 mine will utilize one continuous miner under a single-section mining plan. The Company expects production at Carnegie 2 to begin before the end of the fourth quarter of 2021. Once fully ramped, the production rate is expected to be approximately 8,000 to 12,000 clean tons per month to enhance and compliment the production of the Carnegie 1 mine. All production from the Company's Carnegie mines will be processed at its nearby McCoy Elkhorn facility and shipped into both the domestic and international markets.

The Carnegie 2 mine will be operated by a contract mining company for a fixed fee per clean ton of approximately $50 USD per ton, plus the cost of power and infrastructure. The engaged contract mining company comes with decades of mining experience throughout the region and brings a team of highly skilled miners which allows the company to better navigate a tighter labor market since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent, expanded unemployment benefit programs.

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WV Coal Association President Presents Challenges, Opportunities for Mining Industry To Joint Legislative Committee on Coal & Energy

“While the mining industry is under attack by a President committed to moving our country away from fossil fuels, world events and energy markets have combined to dictate an increased demand for coal and West Virginia is starting to see the benefits,” said WV Coal Association President Chris Hamilton in addressing the Joint Legislative Committee on Energy at an Oct. 12th meeting in Charleston.

“Coal supplies have tightened, inventories are low, and the price of natural gas has skyrocketed,” said Hamilton. “This has given coal an advantage over competing fuels.” Hamilton noted that coal production in West Virginia is 20 percent ahead of 2020 output and the industry expects to finish the year strong.

Chris Hamilton

Hamilton also impressed upon policy makers that coal needs to be a key part of West Virginia’s future going forward. “Between our world renowned, rich met reserves, the delivery of high-quality thermal coal ensuring the uninterrupted delivery of household and industrial power, and our vision for advanced carbon products, we will continue to drive West Virginia’s economy for decades to come.”

The WV Public Service Commission ruled on Oct. 12th to approve AEP’s request to comply with federally mandated environmental requirements at the John Amos, Mountaineer and Mitchell coal-fired power plants, which keeps them operational through at least 2040. This positive result retains thousands of jobs at the power plants, maintains significant sources of state and local tax revenue, keeps the local communities around these facilities vibrant, and sustains the coal mines, miners and hundreds of associated vendors that supply these plants with fuel.

Hamilton explained to legislators that the state has a golden opportunity to capitalize on this positive momentum, but we must take steps now to do so. He encouraged policy leaders to view our existing state energy operations and coal assets as our most valuable commodity and do whatever we can to keep them viable going forward.

Hamilton noted that West Virginia’s electric utilities and the mining industry have made incredible progress over the past twenty years removing harmful particulates from coal-fired emissions and that the industry has the best technical minds in the world working to develop carbon capture and sequestration technologies to continually improve.

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National Coal Council Approves Report for U.S. Secretary of Energy

Members of the National Coal Council (NCC) have approved a new report for the Secretary of Energy that provides an assessment of opportunities to enlist advanced manufacturing techniques to enhance use of U.S. coal in new and expanded carbon product markets. The report, completed at the request of the U.S. Secretary of Energy, emphasizes the value coal-to-carbon products provides in meeting top priorities of the Biden Administration, including job creation, economic revitalization, environmental stewardship, infrastructure improvement and supply chain resilience.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm

The report – “CARBON FORWARD: Advanced Markets for Value-Added Products from Coal” – highlights the various applications of carbon-based products for the aerospace, agricultural, automotive, consumer goods, construction, defense, energy, environmental and medical sectors.

Compared with traditionally manufactured products used in these industry sectors, coal-derived products can provide benefits such as:

• Improved Product Quality & Performance – stronger, more durable, lighter weight, corrosion and fire resistant, greater energy storage capacity

• Improved Economics – reduced manufacturing complexity results in reduced costs, domestically abundant and affordable coal resource base, utilization of existing infrastructure

• Enhanced Environmental Stewardship – lighter weight products use less fuel, more energy efficient production, shorter supply chains reduce air emissions, carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration potential, reduced water consumption, hydrogen production potential

• Enhanced National Security – improved supply chain resilience through use of domestic resources and diversified feedstock sources, reduced dependence on imports of critical materials

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.

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