Coal Coalition

Republican base aims to give hope to struggling industry

Dwindling hopes of the U.S. coal industry are receiving attempts at revival. The Republican Party continued to develop its official platform Monday and Tuesday, and provisions of the unfinished document included assertions that coal still has potential as a clean energy source.

This release came, as Mark Drajem of Bloomberg reported, just one day after the opposing Democratic Party unveiled a draft energy platform that heavily supports renewable energy and opposes fracking. On Monday, the GOP’s platform committee unanimously voted to declare coal “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource,” ahead of the Republican National Convention, July 18-21 in Cleveland.

As referenced in a report by Grist’s Rebecca Leber on Monday, the RNC’s wording echoes viewpoints offered by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). The Coalition’s website contends that coal is “an affordable, abundant and increasingly clean domestic energy resource that is vital to providing reliable low-cost electricity.”

Texas senator David Barton was the main proponent in adding the word “clean” to the document. Also reportedly suggested adding the word “clean” to the Republican party’s platform language “because of the technology we have now.” It’s unclear what technology he’s referring to, though he could be talking about carbon capture and storage, a method of gobbling up carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants before they enter the atmosphere and storing the emissions underground. The vast majority of coal plants in the United States, however, do not use this technology, and, as recently reported in the New York Times, questions exist as to whether the technology is economically feasible.

Barton also could be referring to other pollution controls coal plants have been required to implement due to Environmental Protection Agency regulations, which require plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, and other toxic heavy metals. America’s air quality has improved partially because of these regulations and subsequent controls, but coal plants still represent the largest source of mercury air emissions in the country. A recent study found that the EPA’s pollution-cutting carbon rule would yield $38 billion in economic benefits, largely from health benefits, and save 3,500 lives per year. Coal currently makes up about 33 percent of U.S. electricity generation. Ultimately, it may be necessary for those concerned with this issue to determine how best to balance health and economic concerns.


No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: