Environment
12:47 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Kentucky Democrats Join Effort Urging Obama to Include Coal in Nation's Energy Future

Several prominent Kentucky Democrats have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to work to develop technologies that will allow coal to continue to play a prominent role in America's energy mix.

The letter was sent by CoalBlue, a coalition of coal-friendly Democrats, and was signed by 410 elected representatives in six states. Those include Kentucky Secretary of State (and Senate candidate) Alison Lundergan Grimes, Auditor Adam Edelen, Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, Attorney General Jack Conway, State House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and State House Speaker Greg Stumbo.  The letter was also signed by 26 state representatives and senators, as well as a collection of county officials, including judge-executives, magistrates, clerks, coroners and jailers.

From the letter:

To achieve a clean energy future, we must develop energy resources that are abundant, affordable and reliable, yet have minimal impact on the environment. Sustainable coal will help attain a greater balance between worldwide demands for energy that derive from economic and societal advances, and the obligation to deliver a clean, enduring environment for future generations.

We endeavor to work with you and your administration in moving forward on a clean energy agenda that reflects a realistic assessment of coal’s inevitable place in our nation’s energy future. In May of this year, you suggested that we must deal with environmental concerns and challenges in an “honest, realistic way.” We could not agree more, and the realities of domestic and global energy supply and demand tell us that coal will be a central and essential source of energy, both at home and abroad, for decades to come.

From a policy perspective, there is no realistic path forward to a clean, low-carbon world that does not include clean, low-carbon coal. Thus, the sustainable coal agenda is not only compatible with your clean energy and climate agenda, it is essential to it.

The group is calling for more funding for advanced coal technologies, like carbon capture and sequestration. The technology works, but right now isn't at the point where it can be economically deployed on a commercial scale. Ironically, one of the reasons for that is without a price on carbon (through some sort of cap-and-trade or other system), it's not worth it for companies to invest billions of dollars trying to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Many pro-coal Democrats have fought cap-and-trade, arguing it would hurt the nation's coal industry.