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A New Deal for Renewables

In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama set a lofty goal of generating 80% of the nation’s electricity with “clean fuels” by 2035. Just so there’s no confusion, he wasn’t thinking primarily about coal that generates almost half of our electricity today. Certainly the environmental community didn’t hear coal, “clean” or otherwise. They understood he meant ABC fuels, the anything-but-coal fuels—especially renewable fuels—that some officials in his administration believe will transform our brawny fossil fuel economy into a sylvan landscape dotted with windmills and solar panels. Sort of a bigger Holland.

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A Glass Half Full

By Luke Popovich

As House Republican leaders loaded up for their first round of hearings on the administration’s regulatory agenda, NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn made a timely appearance on Platts “Energy Week,” a program carried on CBS for Washington’s policymaking community.  In a wide-ranging interview on coal issues, Quinn summarized coal’s prospects as “secure despite its challenges because coal is the lowest-cost and most reliable source of electricity.”

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Year of the Rabbit

By Luke Popovich

This week begins the Year of the Rabbit on the Chinese calendar, auguring a period of calm and harmony.  Maybe it will be in China, but probably not here in Washington. From the Capitol Building, 2011 looks to be less like a yoga mat and more like a wrestling mat.

No sooner was the 112th Congress sworn into office in January then leaders were busy preparing for tough debates and deep differences over federal spending, health care and even energy policy.  The Arizona tragedy may lead to a truce, but most think partisan divisions are too deep for peace to prevail this year.  Look no further than Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), the feisty new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Report Committee, who is preparing investigations into costly regulations and a growing bureaucracy.  He has asked the NMA and other industry groups to bring our regulatory concerns and alternative ideas forward.

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Cold Climate

“It doesn’t look so good right now,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), explaining his absence from the UN climate summit in Cancun that again failed to agree on a binding greenhouse gas reduction plan. This was a diplomatic understatement for the disappointed champion of the cap-and-trade bill that died in the Senate. Imagine Napoleon saying the same thing at Waterloo and you get the picture.

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Apres Le Deluge

That’s fancy French for “after the flood.” It’s a phrase historians apply to post-revolutionary periods but suitable for describing Washington after the election that just cast out many congressional Democrats and with them much of the administration’s energy and environmental agenda. The result administered by angry, frustrated voters certainly resembled a flood if not the tsunami that some hoped might also swamp the Senate along with the House.

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