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 GosarHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader On The Money: Trump says he won't declare emergency 'so fast' | Shutdown poised to become longest in history | Congress approves back pay for workers | More federal unions sue over shutdown 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 LowenthalOvernight Energy: Court rules for Trump in environmental case over border wall | House bill would stop Alaska refuge drilling | Ads target Dems over Green New Deal Lawmakers introduce bill to ban drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge Overnight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans 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 TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job 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 CheneyOvernight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Liz Cheney calls for House vote on Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal Liz Cheney mocks Booker over factory farming comments: 'I support PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals' 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.