U.S. Moratorium on New Coal Leases Draws Critics and Advocates

first_imgU.S. Moratorium on New Coal Leases Draws Critics and Advocates FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Dennis Webb for the Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel:Pro-coal advocates are working to turn out in force Thursday when the Bureau of Land Management holds a meeting in Grand Junction to gather input on possible reforms to the federal coal program.The meeting is one of six being held around the country, and supporters from Colorado and beyond are expected to show up to speak on the industry’s behalf as it struggles locally and nationally with mine layoffs and shutdowns, bankruptcies and other setbacks.Advocates for reforming the federal coal program or even ending coal mining altogether also will be attending, although one of them, Jeremy Nichols of WildEarth Guardians, said probably not in the same numbers as the industry supporters. He’s sympathetic with their desire to rally on the industry’s behalf.“The coal industry should be proud of what it’s done for this state. Nobody’s saying that we should not acknowledge the great stuff that they’ve brought over the years, but it’s time to move on,” from coal mining, he said.Nichols plans to reiterate his group’s call to leave coal in the ground due to its air-pollution and climate-change impacts, but also for the federal government to step up efforts to help coal miners and communities shift away from coal economically.“We can get behind good policies that acknowledge the need to give communities in Delta County and Craig tools to transition,” he said.The future of Peabody Energy’s Twentymile Mine between Craig and Steamboat Springs is currently up in the air following Peabody’s decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and the failure of Bowie Resource Partners to be able to complete a deal to buy the mine.Meanwhile, in the North Fork Valley, Oxbow Mining has permanently closed its Elk Creek Mine, Bowie has idled its Bowie No. 2 Mine, and Arch Coal, which also is in bankruptcy reorganization, recently laid off 80 miners. Combined, the valley has seen the loss of many hundreds of mining jobs in recent years.Coal companies have faced slowdowns in national and international markets, in part due to increased competition from natural gas as a power-plant fuel source and also due to increased regulations aimed at reducing air pollutants and carbon emissions.Nichols said it’s also important for the Interior Department to get on board when it comes to helping coal communities transition to more diverse economies.“If they don’t, it’s just going to lead to I think more disaster for communities in the West,” Nichols said.Full article: Coal advocates look to unite at meetinglast_img read more

German supervisor disagrees with EIOPA over IORP inspection cycle

first_imgGermany’s BaFin has disagreed with the EU pension supervisor’s recommendation that it make more frequent on-site inspections of occupational pension providers to assess their compliance with the prudent person rule.The recommendation was one of 27 that the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) issued for national supervisors in 16 countries following a peer review of how national authorities ensured that IORPs invested their capital in the best interest of their members and beneficiaries.EIOPA said it would assess how the “national competent authorities” (NCAs) complied with the recommended actions and “continue its work to improve supervisory practices in this area at European level”.Twelve of the recommended actions were of “low” importance, nine of “medium” importance, and six of “high” importance, according to an EIOPA grading system. The recommendation addressed to BaFin about the length of its on-site inspection cycle was marked as of “high” importance.According to EIOPA, the frequency of on-site inspections related to the prudent person rule varied significantly from national supervisor to national supervisor, depending mainly on “the applicable legal framework, the pension landscape in a country and NCA resources”. BaFin’s offices in BonnHowever, the average was every three to six years and EIOPA considered that “a lack of or low frequency of on-site inspections constitutes a shortcoming in existing supervisory processes”.In Germany, BaFin conducted on-site inspections at least every seven to 12 years depending on an IORP’s “classification in the risk categorisation tool”. According to EIOPA, it should increase the cycle to conduct more inspections, again depending on the risk classification.BaFin availed itself of national authorities’ right to submit a written statement where they have “strong objections” to a recommended action or finding.In its statement, which was included in EIOPA’s report, the supervisor said it considered it appropriate to stick to its current audit cycle, as this was compensated by a range of “risk reduction mechanisms”.These included the existence of additional qualitative and quantitative rules about investment by Pensionsfonds and Pensionskassen, and a comprehensive reporting system – already in place for the latter and in the works for the former.BaFin also noted that Germany, “unlike most other EU member states”, had granted insurance claims absolute precedence over any other claim with respect to assets representing the technical provisions, rather than “just” granting them a special rank.The supervisor also emphasised that information gained from IORPs’ risk management and internal audit processes were “very important for the supervisors” and that the knowledge of IORP employees entrusted with these processes and tasks was “often the starting point for further auditing on the part of the supervisors”.Positives, too In addition to the recommended actions targeting supervisory shortcomings EIOPA identified six best practices currently being applied by five national authorities.These related to the use of thematic reviews, the use of risk scoring models, stress tests, the monitoring of costs, reporting, and financial education.The NCAs identified as implementing at least one identified best practice were the FSMA in Belgium, Covip in Italy, Luxembourg’s CSSF, the Dutch supervisor DNB, and the ASF in Portugal.EIOPA said it was of the view that “initiatives to include more qualitative elements in supervision” should be facilitated, as well as “combining qualitative and quantitative elements and to move from purely compliance-based towards a more risk-based and forward-looking approach”.The reference period of the peer review was 2014-2016 under the IORP Directive, but EIOPA said the analysis was valid following the introduction of the IORP II Directive as it did not substantially alter the prudent person rule. EIOPA’s report can be found here.last_img read more