E2 Round-up: Obama charts new course on energy, cities find going green not so easy, Colorado creates controversy with 'roadless' exemption and more

The administration has “been very effective and very activist on their executive policy agenda,” says Kevin Book with ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington market research firm.

"Now, however, the president faces his biggest energy test for his union of energy-environment policy: getting Congress to pass a comprehensive climate-energy bill that will put a price on carbon emissions – legislation now stalled in the Senate. ...

“Unless there is a price to be paid for carbon dioxide emissions, for instance, construction of coal and natural-gas power plants could surge, while wind and solar power construction dry up,” the Monitor reports.

* Some cities are finding it hard to go green

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, takes a look at the difficulty some cities are having in meeting their goals for green jobs.

“Declaring that a city is going to replace yesterday's lost jobs with new green ones is a lot easier than actually doing so. Cities from Tulsa to Honolulu proclaim themselves destined to become leaders in green jobs, a broad classification for work tied to renewable energy and energy efficiency that includes insulators and solar-panel installers,” the Journal reports.

Bottom line: “U.S. companies are starting to create new jobs—from factories making batteries for electric cars to solar-panel manufacturers ramping up output—but so far they haven't produced a big green job machine.”

* Colorado seeks exemption to ‘roadless’ rule, putting Obama administration in awkward spot

The Journal also examines the controversy generated by Colorado’s move to allow industries to build roads in protected forestlands. The Obama administration has to sign off on the plan.

“The governor's plan would allow the development of more ski runs in 14 areas, expansion of three existing coal mines and drilling at more than 100 unexplored oil and natural-gas leases in Western Colorado. It would also allow road building to log trees afflicted by a bark-beetle infestation to reduce the fire hazard they pose to rural communities.

Colorado officials say their proposal strengthens protections for all but a few swaths of the state's 4.2 million acres of roadless forest land, as it would put other conservation measures in place. …

But many environmentalists are furious. They say if the administration approves Colorado's proposal, roadless areas nationwide could be at risk, as states would be emboldened to push for exemptions,” the Journal reports.

West Virginia Dems react differently to mine disaster

The Washington Post examines what the mine blast in West Virginia means for three Democratic members of Congress who represent the state.

“The underground explosion that killed 29 miners in Montcoal, W.Va., has only worsened the uncomfortable spotlight on the three: Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV and Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

They were already being pulled in opposite directions by a Democratic White House and home-state interests, which had criticized administration policies on climate change and 'mountaintop removal' mining. Now they are in the middle of a debate about whether the federal government let coal companies skirt safety rules,” the Post reports.