Update on the States

by William Yeatman on March 14, 2011

in Blog

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Minnesota

In 2007, then-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) championed and ultimately signed the Next Generation Act, which effectively imposed a moratorium on coal-fired power plants in the State. Evidently, the legislature is having second thoughts about a future without coal, because last week both the House and the Senate moved legislation that would overturn the coal ban. By a 15 to 6 vote, the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committee passed H.F. 72, “A bill for an act relating to energy; removing ban on increased carbon dioxide emissions by utilities.” The Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications passed a companion bill, by a 9 to 3 vote.

West Virginia

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a section 404 Clean Water Act permit to a Massey Coal subsidiary for the Reylas Surface Mine in Logan County, West Virginia. The permit was originally issued in 2007, but it became ensnared in the Obama Administration’s war on Appalachian coal (click here or here for more information on that subject). In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended against granting the permit, so there is a good chance that the EPA will veto this permit. In January, the EPA exercised this authority for the first time in the history of the Clean Water Act in order to veto the Spruce No. 1 mine, which is also in Logan County. Notably, the EPA objects to these mines because they allegedly harm an insect that isn’t an endangered species. But before the EPA could act, environmentalist lawyers won an injunction in a West Virginia federal court.

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