Big Coal In the Hot Seat

Photo by Duncan Harris, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncharris/4209526040/">via Flickr</a>.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Top executives from three of the country’s largest coal companies will testify before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming on Wednesday, where they will address, among other things, what they think about climate change.

 Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and Rio Tinto have significantly different takes on climate legislation. Rio Tinto is a member of the US Climate Action Partnership, which advocates for putting a price on carbon. Peabody and Arch, however, both oppose climate legislation. 

The committee doesn’t oversee mine safety policy, and Massey Energy won’t be among the witnesses, but it’s inevitable that the hearing will cover the recent tragedy in West Virginia that led to the deaths of 29 miners. The House Education and Labor Committee is also expected to look more closely at the disaster, and senators have pledged to examine it as well.

With concerns mounting about both safety issues and carbon pollution, the coal industry is coming under heavy fire. The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued tough new guidelines on the controversial practice of mountaintop removal mining. And it’s not so long since the the coal industry’s front group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, found itself mired in scandal after it hired a contractor that forged letters from citizens’ groups protesting the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill and sent them to members of Congress.

Wednesday’s hearing aims to delve deeper into all these questions about the industry’s future. “Whether it’s climate science, the viability of ‘clean coal,’ or safety concerns, I believe Congress requires answers from the coal industry on their ability to be a part of our clean energy future,” said committee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

I’ll have more from the hearing this week.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate