Council on Economic Advisors Combine Taxpayer Losses With Climate Risk in Making Case for U.S. Coal-Lease Reform

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Zahra Hirji for InsideClimate News:The White House Council on Economic Advisers presented a report this week that its chairman, Jason Furman, called “a real strong case for reform” to the federal coal leasing program.The review, the first time that President Obama’s top economic advisers have weighed in on one of the most hotly contested issues on the climate policy agenda, found that reforms would both reward taxpayers and protect the climate.Furman called the coal leasing system “antiquated” and said it falls far short of offering a fair return to taxpayers. Furman unveiled the report and a panel of four outside experts then discussed CEA’s findings at a seminar hosted by the research nonprofit Resources for the Future on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.The report contains a sophisticated economic analysis that showed how increasing what the government charges companies in royalties for the coal they take from federal land not only raises revenue but reduces carbon emissions.To maximize taxpayer returns from coal leasing, CEA estimates that future royalty rates for new coal leases would have to go up to about 300 percent, compared to the rate often used today (less than 12.5 percent). This move would rake in billions of dollars for state and federal governments and reduce coal production on federal land by about 50 percent. The resulting climate impact would be big: a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal combustion of 319 million metric tons annually.CEA’s report comes six months after the U.S. Department of the Interior launched its first review of the coal leasing program in about 30 years. The review follows several lawsuits by environmental groups such as WildEarth Guardians. They have challenged the Interior Department for not adequately accounting for coal’s climate impacts as it reviews applications for new leases and expansions to existing ones, among other issues. Additionally, several studies have come out including a 2013 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office raising questions about how federal officials estimate the fair market value of coal in the leasing operations.The CEA analysis took a sensible approach to handling climate change, offering an example for how to evaluate “good financing strategy of the coal industry” and simultaneously use “sound emissions policy,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.White House: Raising Coal Royalties a Boon for Taxpayers, and for the Climate Council on Economic Advisors Combine Taxpayer Losses With Climate Risk in Making Case for U.S. Coal-Lease Reformlast_img read more

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St. James Man Gets 6 Years for $18M Ponzi Scheme

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A St. James man was sentenced Friday to six years in federal prison for defrauding 74 people out of nearly $18 million after conning them into investing in his Ponzi scheme for almost a decade.James Peister had pleaded guilty to securities fraud at Central Islip federal court in November.“Peister lulled his victims into a false sense of security through empty promises of reliable growth and conservative investing,” said Kelly Currie, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “After stealing millions of dollars in inheritances and retirement savings, Peister now faces his own retirement in prison while his victims struggle to rebuild their lives.”Prosecutors said the 63-year-old scam artist assured investors that their money would be invested safely, but he instead used the money to pay millions of dollars in redemptions to prior victims to keep the scheme afloat and to afford his luxurious lifestyle between 2000 and 2009.He sent phony account statements to investors that falsely showed that their funds were performing well, and he submitted bogus financial statements to the investment fund’s independent auditor, authorities said.Peister’s Ponzi scheme collapsed in the wake of the financial crisis in 2008, when he could no longer keep up with demands for redemptions from nervous investors.He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $9.6 million in restitution to the victims and forfeited $17.9 million, including his home and his Hummer.last_img read more

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Fro-yo shop 21 Choices reopens for USC students

first_imgWith the imminent redevelopment of University Village, 21 Choices, the frozen yogurt shop located in the area, is about to close up shop -— but not before taking a few final weeks to show its appreciation to USC students.At the end of the semester, 21 Choices will have to vacate its current location, along with the rest of the shops and restaurants in University Village. The frozen yogurt shop — which primarily serves USC students and routinely closes over the winter holidays — remained closed into the new year, but recently reopened for the last few weeks of the semester.Tony Husson, who co-owns the shop with his brother, said briefly reopening before closing the location is their way of showing their gratitude to the students who have been loyal customers.“We want to say thank you to the students,” Husson said. “They’ve been a pleasure to serve.”To make the reopening possible, Husson had to limit the shop’s operating hours. 21 Choices will only be open from 3-10 p.m. Monday- through Thursday, the hours with the greatest student traffic.Husson owes the reopening to two USC students, Lauren Rados and Emily Williams, who told him they wanted to see the shop reopened. Rados and Williams came into the shop when it was still closed earlier in the semester and suggested that Husson consider limited hours.“I was in the store one day trying to figure out how to do this,” Husson said. “And we did what they said and it’s working.”Williams and Rados have always been dedicated customers and were disappointed when the shop didn’t reopen in January and are sad to see it closing again at the end of the semester.For Williams, the quality of the product as well as the atmosphere made 21 Choices special.“We were very adamant about it reopening and told him how much it meant to us,” Williams said. “It’s amazing yogurt, we love it. But we would also use it as a great outlet. A place to meet and talk and hang out.”Most of the new staff at 21 Choices are USC students, an intentional decision by Husson. Many of them were customers themselves, picked out of line and invited to apply for a position. By offering flexible hours and paying $12 per hour, Husson hopes to make working at 21 Choices — even if only for a short while — a positive experience.“We really want to set up a system where outgoing and friendly students serve other students,” he said. “They can work even one hour if they want. But that hour should add to their life.”Leesa Danzek, a sophomore majoring in political science, recently started working at 21 Choices and is one of the students who was invited to apply for a job when she came in as a customer. Danzek says she’ll be sad to see the store close.“I wish it would stay open,” Danzek said. “From my experience so far, it’s always packed and there’s always a line out the door. Everyone loves it.”The plan is for the shop to stay open at least until the first week of May, but Husson hopes to be able to stay open until graduation. He hopes to treat graduating seniors to free frozen yogurt on the last day of classes to thank them for being loyal customers.The eventual demolition and redevelopment of University Village has been a part of USC’s Master Plan since 21 Choices opened at the location in 2009. Husson hopes to be able to come back to a new location in the USC area, ideally on campus.last_img read more

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