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Moniz says there is no Obama ‘war on coal’

Moniz says there is no Obama ‘war on coal’
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Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizProgressive group slams Biden White House pick over tie to fossil fuel industry OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump takes major step toward Alaska wildlife refuge drilling opposed by Biden | Grijalva backs Haaland for Interior Secretary | Obama alumni considered top picks for Biden Energy secretary Progressives urge Biden away from including Obama energy secretary in administration MORE is dismissing Obama administration critics who have accused the president of waging a “war on coal” through his environmental policies.

In an interview with the Lexington Herald Leader on Thursday, Moniz said the Obama administration has worked to develop policies to help the coal industry even while it pursues a lower-carbon energy sector in the future. 

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“Make no bones about it — we start with the assertion, the commitment, that we are talking about a progressively lower carbon future,” Moniz told the paper. “But we have not abandoned coal as part of that future.”

Moniz pointed to Obama’s support for research into carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which would remove carbon from power plant emissions. Obama proposed $6.5 billion for carbon capture technology in his 2017 budget request. 

“We wouldn’t have put $6 billion into CCS” if the administration was waging a war on coal, Moniz said. 

Republicans and coal-state lawmakers have broadly opposed Obama’s environment policies, saying his focus on reducing emissions through power sector regulations is diminishing the fuel. Coal’s share of the energy production market has declined steadily over recent years, mainly due to the prevalence of cheap natural gas production in the U.S. 

Even so, Republicans and industry groups have slammed Obama regulations like the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon rule for power plants, saying they are hurting coal production and jobs. They note CCS technology is expensive and hasn’t yet been deployed in the United States. 

“They have been constant in their actions against this industry,” Bill Bissett, the president of the Kentucky Coal Association, told the Herald Leader.