President Obama’s climate-change plan isn’t a “war” on the coal or oil industries, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a Monday policy address, but an incremental approach to reduce carbon emissions while improving the existing energy infrastructure.
Moniz, speaking at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, touched specifically on Republican accusations of an Obama “war on coal.” Those charges, Moniz said, “demonstrate misunderstanding or misstatement.” Coal will continue to be an energy source, he said, noting the proposed $6 billion investment in carbon-capture and sequestration technologies to reduce its environmental impact.
The wide-ranging address also defended the Obama administration from other frequent GOP attacks. The loan-guarantee program, Moniz said, is often associated with the Solyndra scandal, but in fact, its “track record is quite remarkable.” The program, part of the Energy Department’s effort to spur private investment in clean-energy projects, has more success stories than failures, he said. One example of that is Tesla Motors, which Moniz said has repaid its loan nine years ahead of schedule.
Another area of contention — whether climate change is actually occurring — is “not debatable,” Moniz said. “The evidence is overwhelming; the science is clear.” While focusing on long-term reductions in carbon emissions, he said the U.S. should also look at improving its energy infrastructure to deal with increasingly frequent incidents of extreme weather. Earlier in the day, Moniz and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced a partnership to develop an improved micro-grid to help the state meet its transit needs during weather emergencies.
Moniz also announced that his department is on pace to roll out several new efficiency standards for appliances, including walk-in refrigeration units, “small efficiency programs [that] can in fact yield huge results.”
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."