Moniz Touts Obama's Energy Plan In Coal Country

  • Marie Cusick

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque /Landov

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Newly appointed U.S. Energy Secretary Ernst Moniz met privately with business leaders in Pittsburgh this week.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Moniz tried to reassure them the Obama administration will not leave coal and natural gas out of its energy strategy:

In the room, executives from U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Phipps Conservatory, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Consol Energy shared their concerns and suggestions for energy development.
Steven Winberg, Consol’s vice president for research and development, said after the meeting he doesn’t think the administration is putting enough money into coal and gas and that investment should be proportional to the role fossil fuels play in supplying the country’s electricity.

The Pittsburgh Tribune reported Moniz also spoke to about 300 scientists at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia about the president’s energy policies:

“We have an all-of-the-above (energy) strategy. And it’s real,” Moniz said during a half-hour speech shown live to other federal labs, including one in South Park. “These are decadal challenges, but to answer them on that timescale, we have no time to waste. And, again, what you all are doing here at NETL is really central to that.”…
With 1,300 employees between them, the federal energy labs in Morgantown and South Park long have been key in the quest to clean up coal. Several scientists showed off cutting-edge work they’re doing to capture the carbon that burns off coal. Decades of research have led to progress, but it’s still 10 to 15 years before it can work affordably for large power plants, George Richards, one of the lead researchers in Morgantown told Moniz.

In June President Obama gave a closely watched speech on climate change, saying he would direct the federal Environmental Protection Agency to complete carbon emissions standards for new and existing power plants.
Governor Corbett reacted by calling the proposal a “war on coal” and a “war on jobs.” Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest coal producing state in the nation.
The boom in the production of shale oil and gas has lead to a decline in the coal industry nationwide. Demand for coal is at a nearly 63-year low.

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