Presidential debate highlights future of coal

Obama-Romney debate

During the second Presidential debate on Oct. 16, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney hit on key energy issues like the future of coal and wind energy.

"Coal” was mentioned 22 times – 14 times by Romney and eight times by Obama. Both candidates stressed an “all of the above” energy policy – utilizing traditional fossil fuels, natural gas and renewable energy.

“We have seen increases in coal production and coal employment,” Obama said. “But what I've also said is we can't just produce traditional sources of energy.  We doubled clean … energy production like wind and solar and biofuels.”

“I want to make sure we use our oil, our coal, our gas, our nuclear, our renewables,” Romney said. “I believe very much in our renewable capabilities; ethanol, wind, solar will be an important part of our energy mix.”

Both candidates made comments on the uncertain future of coal power generation in light of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. “I was in coal country,” Romney said. “People grabbed my arms and said, ‘Please save my job.’ The head of the EPA said, ‘You can't build a coal plant …  it's virtually impossible given our regulations.’”

Obama combated by pointing out that Romney himself has been opposed coal to some degree. “When you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, ‘This plant kills,’ and took great pride in shutting it down. And now suddenly you're a big champion of coal.”

The plant Obama was referring to, Footprint Power’s Salem Harbor coal plant, is still operating two of its four units, but the company plans to close it by 2014 and convert it to burn natural gas. In 2003, Romney said he was against giving the plant an extension on regulations that required a reduction in emissions.

Obama stressed the need for more coal generation while highlighting the importance of clean coal technology. “We made the largest investment in clean coal technology, to make sure that even as we're producing more coal, we're producing it cleaner and smarter.”

Romney argued that the President’s track record has not been one of supporting coal. “This has not been Mr. Oil, or Mr. Gas, or Mr. Coal … The right course for America is to have a true all-of-the-above policy. I don't think anyone really believes that you're a person who's going to be pushing for oil and gas and coal.”

The candidates also brought up wind energy, which has already faced hundreds of layoffs in the U.S. over the last few months due to the expiring Production Tax Credit.

“You've got thousands of people right now in Iowa, right now in Colorado, who are working, creating wind power with good-paying manufacturing jobs,” Obama said.

“I appreciate wind jobs in Iowa and across our country …  I'm going to make sure we're taking advantage of our energy resources,” Romney said.

Read more policy news

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production Report has been updated for the week ended October 11, 2014.

Some states fear ‘2020 cliff’ under EPA Clean Power Plan

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan seeks to have states cut power sector CO2 emissions 30% by 2030, most reductions must be realized well before then, officials from Michigan and Kentucky said Oct. 14.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Latest News

Shutterstock coal production trucks

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production shows how much coal is being produced across the U.S.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Weekly Economic Indicators financial business

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Indicators

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas offers a glimpse into how the markets are doing domestical...

Kvaerner awarded contract for gas-fired power plant in Delaware

Kvaerner North American Construction Inc. and its joint venture partner, Parsons Brinckerhoff...

Canadian Solar purchases two solar projects

Canadian Solar Inc. has acquired a majority interest in two utility-scale solar power project...

Operators Restart Unit 2 at PPL Susquehanna

Unit 2 at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, Pa. resumed generating electr...

Settlement agreement limits cost recovery at Edwardsport

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) on Dec. 27 modified and approved a settlemen...

Toshiba in talks to sell portion of Westinghouse nuclear unit

Toshiba Corp is in talks  to sell up to 16% of its stake in the Westinghouse Electric Co...

Utah nixes nuclear waste storage facility

Plans to park radioactive waste at a storage facility in Utah have been officially called off.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Buyers Guide Categories

Power Engineering Current Issue

03/01/2014
Volume 118, Issue 3
1403PE-cover

Buyers Guide Company Listings

Gundlach Crushers

Provides crushing solutions and equipment for the coal industry and thermal power plants. Crushers include low horsepower Roll Crushers and Cage-Paktors, plus the NANOSIZ-R for FBB limestone.

MikroPul

Leading manufacturer of emissions control equipment for industrial applications worldwide. Offers specially designed baghouses for all types of coal dust, including PRB coal and complete engineered systems.

Analytical Computing

Since 1982, Analytical Computing has provided custom software, particularly for coal testing and laboratory information. We have a staff PhD chemist for (environmental) consultation. We also do Japanese/English translations.

Babbitt International Inc

Offers level swiches for coal, water, oil and fly ash applications, magnetic level gages and transmitters suited for high-pressure and high-temperature applications. Since 1986, performance guaranteed.

Power Industry Wire News

HydroPhi Technologies Europe Receives Preliminary Grant Approval in Poland Subject to EU Final Approval for Implementation of HydroPlant(TM) on Heavy Duty Vehicles

HydroPhi Technologies Europe Receives Preliminary Grant Approval in Poland Subject to E...

Blue Earth Closes on Purchase of Equity Position in PowerGenix With $10 Million Dollar Investment

Blue Earth Closes on Purchase of Equity Position in PowerGenix With $10 Million Dollar ...

Western Gas Partners Prices Public Offering of 7,500,000 Common Units

Western Gas Partners Prices Public Offering of 7,500,000 Common Units

Envision Solar's EV ARC(TM) Featured at SUSTAINATOPIA 2014 Beverly Hills

Envision Solar's EV ARC(TM) Featured at SUSTAINATOPIA 2014 Beverly Hills

Enlighted Launches the Global Energy Optimization (GEO) Program; Company's First-to-Market, Energy Savings-as-a-Service Model at Verge

Enlighted Launches the Global Energy Optimization (GEO) Program; Company's First-to-Mar...

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>


Power Engineering Newscasts

EPA chief: carbon caps will boost economy
Australia, Russia enter nuclear power agreement with Argentina
Largest battery energy storage in North America now operational
EPA chief: carbon caps will boost economy Largest battery energy storage in North America now operational Australia, Russia enter nuclear power agreement with Argentina Texas’ Panda Temple combined cycle plant up and running
Siemens agrees to acquire Dresser-Rand
Safety concrete poured at UAE nuclear reactor power project
Foster Wheeler to upgrade natural gas-fired power plant’s emission controls
GE, TransCanada partner on natural gas turbine design
Energy storage global market to grow to $15.6B by 2024; DOE awards $2M to support taller wind turbine towers; Hinkley Point C nuclear project have financial incentives approved; N.J. company building waste-to-energy project in Ireland