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 GosarOvernight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe House approves two bills to block Trump drilling House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban 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 LowenthalDemocrats dread Kennedy-Markey showdown in 2020 House leaves for six-week August recess House passes bill opposing BDS, exposing divide among Democrats 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 John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's coal policies.

Rep. Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonDreamers-for-wall trade going nowhere in House Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg denies selling 'anyone's data' | UK Parliament releases more Facebook docs | Canada reportedly arrests Huawei CFO | Fallout from Marriott hack | Cuba rolls out internet service for mobile users Bipartisan bill would create grant program promoting cybersecurity education 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 CheneyHouse rejects GOP measure censuring Schiff House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Republicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death 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.