Obama's New Proposed Regulations On Coal Energy Production Met With Ire Through Kentucky's Coal Country

A Colorado federal judge ruled that regulators failed to consider the “social cost of carbon” associated with a coal development project proposed by Arch Coal. The project’s future economic benefits were estimated as part of the project review process, but failing to estimate potential negative environmental impacts caused from burning coal left the reviewers remiss in their environmental due diligence responsibilities, which require a “hard look” at the environmental costs of government decisions. The judge said:

That this can be difficult or contentious does not allow agencies “completely to ignore a tool in which an interagency group of experts invested time and expertise,” he wrote. “Common sense tells me that quantifying the effect of greenhouse gases in dollar terms is difficult at best. The critical importance of the subject, however, tells me that a ‘hard look’ has to include a ‘hard look’ at whether this tool, however imprecise it might be, would contribute to a more informed assessment of the impacts than if it were simply ignored.” [Inside Climate News]

Here’s a detailed look at the Asian natural gas supply/demand picture that suggests incremental LNG supply from Australia and the US coupled with Japanese nuclear plant restarts could dwarf regional gas demand by 2017 or 2018. Several experts predict the fierce competition for market share – and other factors – will drive down LNG costs over the medium term. Interestingly, Shinichi Kihara of Japan’s Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry (METI) said, “Japanese companies had invested in U.S. projects that would provide 20 per cent of Japanese total gas demand, with first gas deliveries expected in 2017, at a price around 20 to 30 per cent lower than current prices.” [The Diplomat]