Meter Reading: Cali Starts Trading Carbon, Coal Company Made Campaign Donations Before Layoffs, and More

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Coal miners look on as Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at American Energy Corportation on August 14, 2012 in Beallsville, Ohio.

The ‘Golden State’ launches a massive initiative to go green today; a big coal company made some big campaign contributions before laying off workers; and some skepticism on how long the U.S. will hold the crown of ‘Oil King;’ plus more, in this morning’s Meter Reading:

  • Sorry, I’m Going to Have to Let You Go (Right After This Campaign Donation): Murray Energy, the nation’s largest privately-held coal company and a major contributor to the campaign of Mitt Romney, announced shortly after the election that they’d have to lay off 163 workers because of potential new regulations during President Obama’s second term. But in September, the company made $100,000 in donations to a Republican Super PAC, Politico reports, and a total of $2.8 million in donations and lobbying by the company and its employees during the election.
  • Quid Pro Coal: California begins the nation’s first carbon swap today, and many eyes are on the state to see how it will work. NPR’s Christopher Joyce breaks down the plan: “Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit — from smokestacks to tailpipes — and they have to get permits for those emissions. The clock starts Jan. 1.”
  • ‘I Want My Hummer Back:’ That’s how Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy is feeling after a report that the U.S. will soon outpace Saudi Arabia as a producer of oil. But he isn’t convinced that will last long. “Our reign as the world’s oil king, if it ever happens, probably won’t last more than five years,” Steffy writes. And it isn’t likely to mean much to American consumers, either, he says. (Jordan Weissman at The Atlantic is skeptical as well.)
  • GOP Govs Want the Wind to Keep Blowing: A group of Republican governors is pressuring congressmen to extend a federal tax credit for wind energy that’s set to expire at year’s end, The Hill reports. 81 percent of wind installations in the U.S. are in Republican districts, a wind trade group says, and losing the credit could result in eliminating 37,000 jobs across the country.

What we’re watching today: the Lower Colorado River Authority may approve a second year of emergency drought measures today that could cut off rice farmers for a second year in a row. But the plan is different this time, Mose Buchele reports, and could result in the Highland Lakes dropping to record low levels.

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