Preaching the Gospel of “˜Clean Coal’

Sheehan: New voice of the ACCCE.
National Journal
Oct. 1, 2013, 5:59 p.m.

Laura Shee­han star­ted last month as seni­or vice pres­id­ent for com­mu­nic­a­tions at the Amer­ic­an Co­ali­tion for Clean Coal Elec­tri­city, but en­ergy has been a part of her life for as long as she can re­mem­ber.

Grow­ing up in Fairb­anks, Alaska, Shee­han watched the Trans-Alaska Pipeline be­ing built in the 1970s. Her grand­fath­er was a chef on an oil rig and her fath­er worked in seis­mic ex­plor­a­tion in the Gulf of Mex­ico. “My back­ground has al­ways been tied to en­ergy,” she said. “It’s al­ways been a part of my life in some way or an­oth­er.”

Shee­han gradu­ated from Bowie State Uni­versity with a bach­el­or’s de­gree in Eng­lish lit­er­at­ure in 1994 and earned a mas­ter’s de­gree in pub­lic com­mu­nic­a­tions and pub­lic re­la­tions from Amer­ic­an Uni­versity the fol­low­ing year. She began work­ing on Cap­it­ol Hill as a press sec­ret­ary for former Sen. Chris­toph­er Dodd, D-Conn., in 1996 and later worked in the of­fice of Rep. John Din­gell, D-Mich. From there, she went on to be­come com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or for the House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee — a job that so­lid­i­fied her in­terest in en­ergy policy.

As com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or, Shee­han was in­volved in a host of high-pro­file en­ergy is­sues cul­min­at­ing in the En­ergy Policy Act of 2005. “While on the com­mit­tee I found my­self really fall­ing in love with en­ergy policy,” she said. “The is­sues we worked on and the de­bate around them were really in­triguing.”

In 2008, Shee­han got an in­sider’s view of the en­ergy in­dustry when she took a job as vice pres­id­ent of com­mu­nic­a­tions and mar­ket­ing at the Amer­ic­an Gas As­so­ci­ation. She stayed at the AGA for a little over two years and also worked as the as­so­ci­ation’s seni­or vice pres­id­ent for pub­lic af­fairs.

Shee­han heard about the job open­ing at the AC­CCE and jumped at the op­por­tun­ity to work on clean-coal ad­vocacy. “I’m not ashamed to ad­mit I was ag­gress­ive in go­ing for the po­s­i­tion,” she said. “Coal right now is crit­ic­al. It’s a fun­da­ment­al part of the en­ergy sup­ply chain and we need to en­sure it’s go­ing to be here for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

With the re­cent re­lease of En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency reg­u­la­tions re­quir­ing new coal-fired plants to use equip­ment that can cap­ture car­bon emis­sions — oth­er­wise known as clean-coal tech­no­logy — the AC­CCE has been thrust in­to the cen­ter of a de­bate over how quickly and at what cost the tech­no­logy can be ad­op­ted on a wide­spread com­mer­cial scale.

“There’s an in­cred­ible chal­lenge fa­cing the in­dustry right now with the EPA’s new reg­u­la­tions,” Shee­han said.

“We’re very pro­act­ive in telling our story through a vari­ety of chan­nels,” she ad­ded. “We’re get­ting our mes­sage about the im­port­ance of coal out there and people are listen­ing.”

What We're Following See More »
House Ethics Committee Sanctions Meadows, Kihuen
6 hours ago

The House Ethics Committee has formally sanctioned Reps. Mark Meadows and Ruben Kihuen over sexual harassment-related allegations. "Meadows was found to have violated House rules 'by failing to take appropriate steps to ensure that his House office was free from discrimination and any perception of discrimination.'" Meadows will have to pay over $40,000 to cover the cost of former chief of staff Kenny West's salary, who remained on his payroll even after Meadows' learned "of credible harassment allegations against the former aide. ... Kihuen, who announced his retirement as the #MeToo movement swept Capitol Hill last year, was found to have 'made persistent and unwanted advances towards women who were required to interact with him as part of their professional responsibilities.'"

Trump To Nominate Andrew Wheeler To Lead EPA
6 hours ago

"President Trump said he plans to nominate Andrew Wheeler, acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to be the EPA's Senate-confirmed administrator." Wheeler took over as acting administrator in July, "when then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigned amid numerous spending and ethics scandals. ... Before working for the government, Wheeler was a lobbyist and lawyer for energy companies such as coal mining giant Murray Energy Corp."

Trump Says He's Completed Answers to Mueller's Questions
8 hours ago
Grassley Will Chair Judiciary Committee, Leave Finance
10 hours ago
DeVos Overhauls Guidance to Colleges on Sex Misconduct Cases
11 hours ago

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has updated the Obama administration's controversial rules on how colleges handle claims of sexual misconduct by students under Title IX. "The proposed new rules aim to significantly enhance legal protections for the accused, and reflect a sentiment expressed personally by President Trump that men are being unfairly presumed guilty." The rules, which must undergo a public comment period, would allow schools to elevate the burden of proof in sex cases to "clear and convincing evidence." They would also permit cross-examination, and lift time limits on investigations.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.