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Stakes Are High in Federal Review of Coal Lease Program

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Devin Henry in The Hill: Miners and Western Republicans are lining up against the Obama administration and environmentalists in what some consider the next front in the “war on coal.”Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a three-year moratorium on new coal leases on public lands in January, launching a review that could potentially result in mining companies paying  higher rates.“It fits tidily into their overall view of coal,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.“You can call it a ‘war on coal,’ you can call it whatever you want. It is a policy directive coming out of this administration that says coal has no part in our country’s energy portfolio. I think that’s short-sighted and very unfortunate.”Administration officials held the first public meeting on the review on Tuesday in Wyoming, with four more to follow. The review is moving ahead at a time when coal has become a flashpoint in the presidential race.Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump is running on a platform of undoing Obama-era environmental regulations and has promised coal-state lawmakers he will do what he can to help prop up the commodity. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been on the defensive after saying she was going to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” She apologized for her choice of words but said she was making a broader point about helping coal miners as their industry shrinks.The federal review of new coal leases could take up to three years and will look at several hot-button issues, including whether the cost of climate change should be incorporated into the fees that mining companies pay. Environmentalists, local officials and mining interests all see high stakes in the review.Green advocates say coal companies have skirted paying proper royalty rates for years. They contend the industry should be forced to pay taxpayers a fair return for using public resources and say they should chip in extra to offset the impact of coal on climate change. “This sort of comprehensive look at climate has not happened before,” said Cesia Kearns, the Associate Northwest Regional Director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.“It’s a wonderful opportunity to even have the conversation and to acknowledge the impacts of climate change are bigger than we have considered before in a program like this.”Another underlying issue is the shrinking revenue that the government receives from mining on federal lands. A 2012 report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis blamed flawed Interior market appraisals for undervaluing coal on public land. It said the government has lost up to $30 billion in potential revenue over three decades in the Powder Ridge Basin, a tract of land in Wyoming and Montana that provides 85 percent of the coal mined on public land.“Interior has consistently failed to achieve what the Mineral Leasing Act requires, which is that the taxpayers receive a return based on the fair market value of coal, and that is what Congress has said they are supposed to do and that is what they have failed to do in the past,” Dan Bucks, the former director of the Montana Department of Revenue, told reporters last week. Full article:  http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/280442-coal-war-intensifies-with-obama-review Stakes Are High in Federal Review of Coal Lease Programlast_img read more

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Florida Tax Revenues Drop Nearly $900 Million Due to Pandemic

first_imgThe state of Florida may have lost nearly $900 million in tax revenues in April, with the coronavirus halting tourism and other industries on which our economy depends heavily.Last March, the state Legislature approved a $93.2 billion budget that it was preparing to send to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.However, the session to approve the budget took place as DeSantis was beginning to shut down some businesses while implementing stay-at-home measures.Until that point, Florida officials were expecting to take in about $3 billion in tax revenues last month, but learned this week that they fell short by $878 million.A monthly revenue report from the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research reflects the effects of the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders on the state’s tax income.“The presence of coronavirus in Florida presented its most serious threat to the sales tax forecast, especially to those taxes collected from tourists,” explains the report. “In addition, critical supply chains were already interrupted by the impact to other countries and retail sales displaced as a result of social distancing and crowd-avoidance behaviors.”Net revenue for April was projected to be $2.984 billion, but ended up at $2.106 billion.Sales tax revenues from tourism were down 24.1 percent, or $598.2 million.Other revenue sources, including corporate income taxes, highway safety fees and corporate filing fees, collectively earned $323.1 million below previous estimates, due to new state orders allowing delayed payments until June or later.However, revenue from the documentary-stamp, intangibles, beverage, tobacco and severance taxes and earnings on investments exceeded projections.“Together, these sources generated a total gain of $40.9 million for the month; however, some of these sources are expected to experience losses in the coming months as lagged economic effects begin to appear,” the report said.There is no word on when Gov. DeSantis plans to sign the budget, which is scheduled to take effect July 1.State Budget Set, with Money for Teacher Pay and Coronavirus Reserveslast_img read more

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Franfield to upstage Typewriter

first_imgDual Superstakes winner TYPEWRITER makes his seasonal debut at Caymanas Park today in the annual renewal of the open allowance feature over 1820 metres for the Nigel B. Nunes Memorial Cup, but despite his proven class, should fall victim to the very fit hat-trick seeker, FRANFIELD. Leading jockey Shane Ellis has ridden both horses, but despite his many important wins aboard the Spencer Chung-trained TYPEWRITER (derby, St Leger, Superstakes), has decided to stick with FRANFIELD, on whom he won back-to-back races in June and July, beginning with the Ren Gonzalves Memorial Cup (overnight allowance) over 2000 metres on June 28. FRANFIELD came back to beat ALL CORRECT in decisive fashion over a mile when stepping up to open allowance company on July 25 and has definitely settled down to his racing with a view to contesting the Superstakes for the second straight year in November. Last year, the 4-y-o chestnut colt by Traditional out of Supa Lei finished 10 lengths fourth to the Ellis-ridden TYPEWRITER, but is a better horse this year. Trainer Richard Azan has FRANFIELD (55.0kg) in good nick for today’s encounter, and despite the presence of TYPEWRITER, as well as the 2014 Superstakes runner-up UNCLE TAF and the July 4 St Leger winner SUPERLUMINAL (working well) in a seven-strong field, gets the nod in present frame of mind. GO DOWN FIGHTING TYPEWRITER, who bids for his third consecutive win in this race – having won it with champion jockey Dane Nelson last year – is out for the first time since his unplaced effort as the 2-5 favourite behind PERFECT NEIGHBOUR in the Harry Jackson Memorial Cup last Boxing Day but looked well in a recent seven-furlong exercise spin in 1:29.0. Now embarking on the first of his Superstakes preps, TYPEWRITER will only go down fighting, with veteran jockey Ian Spence riding him under topweight of 57.0 – the same weight the 6-y-o son of Western Classic-Docs’ Paladin won with last year. However, the choice remains FRANFIELD, who not only has good pace, but will love the distance. Elsewhere on the 10-race programme, DREAMLINER (working well), who made an impressive debut some weeks ago, should win the day’s secondary feature for the Terremoto Trophy for two-year-olds with Robert Halledeen riding for 14-time champion trainer Wayne DaCosta. I also like FORCE DE JOUR to win the opening race, MARISHA STAR in the fourth, BRAWN to catch them in the fifth, DOC HOLIDAY to repeat at the expense of BRAVE PROSPECT in the sixth and WOMAN IS BOSS to rebound at the expense of TOOTING KAT in the seventh over the straight.last_img read more

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