Pipe Dreams

Photo by Carl Chapman. Some rights reserved.

So the 2012 election is over and the Obama administration will have a second term. What does that mean for the U.S. energy industry, and the nation’s energy policy, for the next four years? There’s a lot of guessing going on, but two big areas of focus come quickly to mind.

First, the Keystone XL pipeline issue is about to leap into the spotlight once again. Trade groups have already resumed lobbying for an approval, while environmentalists have a large protest demonstration planned for November 18th.   Though the president has never dismissed the project outright, it has yet to earn the necessary final approvals.

Second, the coal industry is still icing down the black eye it took in backing Mitt Romney during the election. After the Romney campaign’s push to highlight the “war on coal” allegedly being waged by Obama, coal plants and producers  are now facing their worst nightmare – four more years of demands to improve or scrap aging coal plants, regulate emissions more tightly, and move the nation toward higher production from cleaner sources of energy. Certainly if trading in energy stocks is any indication, those with their financial focus on coal are running scared.  We have yet to see what regulatory changes may be on the horizon.

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