Election 2012: Energy Fallout

Pres. Obama was accused of 'waging a war on coal' - rightly or wrongly, and the fossil fuel industry pumped funds heavily into his opponent's campaign, while environmentalists backed the president. How will this affect federal energy policy?
November 9, 2012, 6am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson write that "President Obama's reelection, along with key wins by Senate Democrats, ensures that the federal government will press ahead with efforts to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency and to curb greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change." It is "likely that a second Obama term will deliver some, but not all, of environmentalists' top priorities."

Aside from public energy policy, the energy markets reacted to the president's re-election.

"Investors were quaking already, pummeling shares of coal-mining companies that waged a vigorous advertising battle against Obama's reelection and which are potential casualties of any curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. Shares of Peabody Energy fell 9.6 percent Wednesday, Arch Coal plunged 12.5 percent, Consol Energy dropped 6.1 percent, and Alpha Natural Resources sank 12.2 percent."

"Obama's re-election . . . provides the basis for positive movement on clean tech and climate action once the new Congress meets," the banking giant HSBC's global research group told investors in a research note. But it added, "Silence on climate issues during the campaign until the onset of Hurricane Sandy and continued Republican majority in the House means that scope for strategic action will remain limited."

Environmentalists expect payback.

"What we expect is the president to deliver on climate, roll up his sleeves and build on the modest success of what he's done so far," said Michael Brune, Sierra Club executive director.

However, the pendulum swings both ways for a re-elected President Obama, writes Hearst reporter Jennifer A. Dlouhy.

Obama is now free "to approve natural gas exports and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline without fear of alienating environmentalists he needed at the ballot box."

Thanks to AR SmartBrief

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Published on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in The Washington Post - Health & Science
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