Thursday, April 15, 2010

Coal execs face Congress

Posted By on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Sounds like things got testy. In other news, Twitter again allowed people to sit in on a government hearing.

Bottom line, the coal industry — which is propped up by government subsidies that enable them to offer "cheap" energy — isn't interested in changing how they do things or in preserving the earth (our only earth, mind you). What they are interested in are political games and making money.

So, essentially, nothing new came out of this hearing.

Several coal industry executives withstood some heat today during a hearing before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "The Role of Coal in a New Energy Age" hearing featured a slate of four speakers who attempted to defend their industries -- with one denying anthropogenic global warming -as part of the clean energy future of the U.S.:

  • Gregory Boyce, President and CEO, Peabody Energy Corporation
  • Steven F. Leer, Chairman and CEO, Arch Coal, Inc.
  • Preston Chiaro, Chief Executive for Energy and Minerals, Rio Tinto
  • Michael Carey, President, Ohio Coal Association

We had some folks tweeting from inside the hearing, and here are two choice quotes from the testimony of the coal industry representatives:

"All that we're asking is that the (Environmental Protection Agency) step back and reconsider its endangerment finding... There needs to be another independent review of the data to put to rest all of those issues." - Gregory Boyce

"The role for coal in the new energy age is greatly hampered by the regulatory assault waged by the Obama Administration and in particular, the Environmental Protection Agency." - Michael Carey

There was extensive "rah-rah-ing" for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology during the hearing, but even Michael Carey of the Ohio Coal Association admitted that "CCS is 15-20 years away from commercial deployment."

Reps. Markey and Inslee did a phenomenal job taking the coal industry to task for their global warming doubts and for the industry's accusations that the government is assaulting them via regulation - when Congress has in fact been including billions for CCS in its recent energy and climate bills.

"If there is a 'war' being waged here, it's being waged by your industry against our grandchildren," said Inslee at one point. "Is it fair for the coal industry to be able to put CO2 in the atmosphere at zero cost?"

Read the rest of this Grist.org article, by Bruce Nilles, here.

In related Charlotte's-a-green-energy-hub news: Magazine cites Duke Energy exec as wind innovator (Charlotte Business Journal)

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