E2 Round-up: Green subsidies, and more on mountaintop mining

Is there a subsidy backlash looming? Well, there's at least concern that the support isn't as efficient as it could be.

“Critics say subsidies of any kind waste taxpayer dollars. But even fans of renewable energy worry this public largesse is costing too much. They say renewable energy deserves subsidies to help it mature to the point where it can compete against fossil fuel,” the Journal piece notes. “But they are concerned that society, in its haste to roll out wind turbines, solar panels and other forms of clean power, is spending billions of dollars without spurring as much renewable energy as it could.”

While overall subsidies for fossil fuels are far larger worldwide, renewables often get more support for each unit of energy produced, the story notes.

Elsewhere, there’s a ton of coverage about something Jim wrote about yesterday: A major new study by scientists that calls Appalachian mountaintop mining so destructive that it should be halted outright.

Several pieces, like this one from McClatchy Newspapers, include response from EPA:

"This report underscores EPA's own scientific analysis regarding the substantial environmental, water and health impacts that result from mountaintop mining operations. EPA's responsibility under the Clean Water Act is to ensure that mining activities do not degrade the quality of water used by communities, and we intend to ensure this requirement is met,” EPA said.

"EPA will continue to rely on the latest scientific information to inform our Clean Water Act review of mountaintop mining permits. We look forward to reviewing the details of this latest study and considering carefully its recommendations," the agency added.

Just this week, however, EPA gave the go-ahead to a West Virginia mining permit that it had been holding up, which along with the cold weather has sent mining stocks upward, reports MarketWatch.