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Lawmakers clash over future of coal

Lawmakers clash over future of coal
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Lawmakers clashed Tuesday at a hearing over "innovative and alternative" uses for coal energy.

Republicans on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources insisted the industry is on the rebound. But Democrats at the contentious hearing pushed back, arguing that the GOP is trying to prop up coal for political reasons.

Subcommittee Chairman Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarOn The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Trump looms large over fractured Arizona GOP 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (R-Ariz.) defended the hearing, saying lawmakers "should examine how coal will be a vital energy source in meeting the world’s electricity needs."

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But Rep. Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalShakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' Face mask PPE is everywhere now — including the ocean Native Americans urge Deb Haaland to help tackle pollution in communities of color MORE (D-Calif.) said the administration was "checking boxes" on issues important to the industry. He said the focus should be on the health impacts from coal mines and accused the administration of "trying to bury science."

Lawmakers heard from Julian McIntyre, founder and CEO of ARQ, a company that processes coal wastes into new energy products.

“Our technology can have an immense impact on the economy and environment,” McIntyre said.

Randall Atkins, CEO of Ramaco Carbon, told lawmakers that new uses for coal would transform the industry.

“Coal will be serving a higher purpose,” he insisted.

Republican lawmakers also used the hearing to hammer former President Obama and praise President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE's coal policies.

Rep. Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonStefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Business groups scramble to forge ties amid race for House Agriculture chair MORE (R-Pa.) accused the former president of being biased against the industry.

“Obama tried real hard to kill coal,” he said.

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyCheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe Cheney compares Trump claims to Chinese Communist Party: 'It's very dangerous' MORE (R-Wyo.) expressed her support for Trump's efforts to aid the industry and pressed those testifying on what Congress could do to boost coal development.

Democrats, though, questioned the basis for the hearing.

“Coal mining will not be making a major comeback, despite what the president has convinced some people,” said Lowenthal.