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

Navigating the Promises and Pitfalls of Environmental Regulations

The U.S. power sector faces a host of new rules and regulations governing air emissions, water intake structures, coal ash storage, and discharge limits for effluent. The editors of Power Engineering provide updates on where these and many other new rules for power generators now stand.

Check out these highlights during Power Generation Week

More than 22,000 industry professionals from around the world gathered in Orlando for Power Generation Week, where innovative and cost-effective solutions for maintaining, operating and building new power generation were shared. More than 1,400 exhibiting companies from every sector of the industry showcased their products and services on the exhibit floor.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter
Latest News

EIA: Coal-fired generation alive and well in the coming decade

Coal-fired power generation from existing plants will increase through 2025, this according t...

Report: Nuke dump radiation leak could have been prevented

A radiation leak that forced the indefinite closure of the federal government's only undergro...

Areva’s nuclear reactor vessel flaws may be “costly”

The French nuclear regulator says anomalies found in Areva’s nuclear reactor technology are “...

Southern Power acquires 32MW solar project from First Solar

Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary, Southern Power, has acquired controlling interest in...

Second robot completes survey of Fukushima reactor containment vessel

A second shape-shifting robot completed a survey from inside of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear...

PacifiCorp considers joining California ISO

PacifiCorp signed a memorandum of understanding to explore full participation in the Californ...

Herbert: Uranium shouldn't be in Utah before federal review

Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he wants federal regulators to review how hazardous a ty...

Environmentalists press for bill to expand solar power

Environmentalists are urging lawmakers to back a bill they say would help more residents inve...

Power Engineering Current Issue

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

Archived Articles

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

Buyers Guide Categories

Power Industry Wire News

Dais Analytic Corporation Appoints Eliza Wang to Board of Directors

Dais Analytic Corporation Appoints Eliza Wang to Board of Directors

Magnum Hunter Resources Chairman and CEO to Present at IPAA OGIS New York 2015

Magnum Hunter Resources Chairman and CEO to Present at IPAA OGIS New York 2015

GEI Global Energy Corp. Explores Solar Opportunities

GEI Global Energy Corp. Explores Solar Opportunities

Envision Solar Installs Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations in San Francisco as Part of "Driving on Sunshine" Campaign

Envision Solar Installs Solar-Powered EV Charging Stations in San Francisco as Part of ...

ZBB Energy and Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) Announce Global Strategic Partnership With an Initial Supply Agreement Valued at Between $80 Million and $120 Million

ZBB Energy and Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) Announce Global Strategic Partnership With an In...

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 >>