No matter what decisions we make here in America regarding how we use coal to generate electricity, there is no stopping its use in other parts of the world.
The New York Times makes that point perfectly today. Countries with long-dormant coal industries – like Japan and Britain – are beginning to ramp up coal production because of the high costs of other fuels.
That’s why we need to be sure we keep putting dollars into funding clean coal technology research. We already export coal – and if we lead the way in creating and implementing the best ways to use it, we’ll be exporting U.S. – developed technology as well.
The world’s demand for coal won’t subside, but with our help in developing cleaner ways to use it, the future will be brighter for everyone.
Senators dropped the original FutureGen project from the
supplemental war spending bill last night in a unanimous consent request.
If the senators decided that this wasn’t the best vehicle
for FutureGen, so be it.
But the project still needs to be voted on, and quickly at
that — the original FutureGen agreement runs out on June 15.
As I said last week, Congress should follow through with its
original commitment to ensure that we have the technology to meet our goal of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the utility sector, and the FutureGen
project as it is now scheduled to be demonstrated in Mattoon, Ill.,
is a key component of that effort.
While there is much uncertainty swirling around the Lieberman-Warner climate bill, one thing is for certain: if it passes, consumer energy prices will rise.
That is the consensus that came out of this morning’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing on Capitol Hill, when representatives from several government agencies testified regarding Lieberman-Warner’s economic impact.
Senators heard about studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Information Administration and many others. Each study has different numbers and makes different assumptions about the economy and our future energy usage.
But they agree on one point: costs will go up.
The prospect of higher energy costs should worry the average American consumer who is already being bitten by high fuel costs. Every day, it seems, we’re being reminded of the linkage between higher energy costs and our economy.
But where we take issue with the Lieberman-Warner bill is that we believe that there are ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without unnecessarily increasing energy costs on American consumers. We’re committed to supporting a mandatory federal program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions… it’s just that we can’t support a bill that doesn’t also do everything possible to keep energy costs affordable for American families and businesses.
Given that this bill is essentially not going anywhere during this term of Congress (even it if were to pass the Senate, there is little to no appetite to consider a bill in the House this year), senators would be better served to “keep their powder dry” and instead look for alternative strategies that would achieve emissions reductions, protect energy security and keep energy costs affordable for consumers.