E2 Round-up: Investigations follow West Virginia mining tragedy, the White House pushes for a climate bill, Exxon pays no U.S. taxes, and more

Massey is defending its safety record, calling it better than the industry average. Jim wrote a piece yesterday about the Capitol Hill response to the accident.

* The White House is stepping up its push for an energy and climate change bill.

We covered National Economic Council Director Larry Summers’ speech on energy Tuesday. Several other outlets weighed in too. The Financial Times called his comments a “a forceful case for energy reform,” and also took note of Summers’ “optimistic tone about the economy.” Reuters looks at his remarks here.

The White House posted the entire speech here.

* Oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. paid no U.S. income taxes last year -- report.

This Forbes story notes that Exxon coughed up $15 billion in tax payments last year – but none of it went to U.S. coffers. From the Forbes piece:

ExxonMobil paid more income taxes than any other U.S. company last year, some $15 billion, or 47% of pretax earnings. Exxon's peers Chevron and ConocoPhillips likewise paid out more than half their earnings in income taxes. The oil companies are oddities among the multinationals because many of the oil-rich countries where they do business levy even higher taxes than the U.S.

Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. No wonder that of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas.

* The CEO of utility giant Exelon Corp. is bullish on the prospects for climate change legislation.

John Rowe spoke Tuesday at a climate change conference in Chicago. The public radio station WBEZ covers his comments here. The Chicago Tribune covers his remarks here -- including his skeptical comments about capturing and storing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Exelon operates the nation’s largest nuclear power fleet, and stands to gain from expanded federal support for nuclear power and an emissions-capping system that rewards non-carbon power sources. Both elements are expected to be part of the Senate climate change bill due out later this month.

* The World Bank is under fire over its planned multi-billion dollar loan to South Africa to build a huge coal-fired power plant.

The proposal is under attack by environmentalists and several U.S. lawmakers, including Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has called on the World Bank to pull back support for projects that contribute to global warming.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick defends the plant in a letter to lawmakers described in this Washington Post account, while the New York Times looks at the controversy here.