Senator: Obama misses the mark on coal’s future
By JOHN WALSH U.S. Senator
President Obama is missing an important opportunity to protect jobs that rely on Montana’s traditional energy industries.
The President recently proposed new rules for coal-fired power plants. As I travel around Montana, I hear from anglers, farmers and ranchers that our changing climate is impacting their industries and I hear from Montanans concerned that these proposed rules will impact Montana jobs.
I am deeply concerned that President Obama has failed to seize the opportunities for new and better coal technology. Whether we like it or not, coal is and will be part of our energy future for years to come. That means we have a ripe opportunity—and a responsibility—to lead the world in new and better coal technology, creating good-paying jobs in the process.
That’s why I’m introducing a bill in the Senate to force the Obama Administration to protect coal jobs by building 10 carbon capture and sequestration projects within 10 years.
Carbon capture and sequestration is important technology that basically catches coal pollution before it billows into our atmosphere and prevents it from contributing to climate change.
I know climate change poses a clear threat to Montana’s way of life. I am concerned about protecting our kids from pollution and breathing problems. I worry about the impact of climate change on the availability of water in Montana, and how it’s already affecting agriculture and our lucrative outdoor industry. We can’t afford to stick our heads in the sand.
We also can’t ignore an industry that, worldwide, remains a major part of the energy economy. We must invest more in a better future for coal to solve the problem. Montana has an opportunity to lead the way.
My message to President Obama is: Montana doesn’t have to choose between good jobs and clean air.
Montana is already leading the way in carbon capture and sequestration research and technology. Montana State University is at the cutting edge of this research, and now is the time to lean into it.
Montana is also poised to be a world leader in the responsible development of renewable energy—from wind to solar to biomass to even geothermal energy—turning the heat under our feet into energy. We must continue to invest in those resources too. They will create jobs. They will also be part of our future.
But Montana coal is right now a big part of our energy picture. And we must not turn our backs on the men and women who make their living turning our coal into energy. We must also invest in the jobs of the people who will research coal, capture its carbon, and keep it from impacting our future. A bill I recently introduced, the American Jobs for American Infrastructure Act, will invest in new coal technology and bring down our deficit by closing tax loopholes that reward corporations for shipping our jobs overseas.
As a retired soldier who spent more than a year leading troops in Iraq, I understand how important it is to secure our energy security. Montana is rich in energy resources, both renewable and traditional. But we must move forward thoughtfully, in a way that protects jobs now and gives us a future to build on.
I look forward to it.
See article here.
- On July 16, 2014