Friends of Coal urge Senate defeat of climate bill

June 30, 2009 by Ken Ward Jr.


This just in from Friends of Coal, regarding Senate consideration of the global warming bill that passed the House on Friday:

While we hoped the “cap & trade” bill would not pass the U.S. House of Representatives, it did — late Friday evening.  One bright spot was the fact the entire West Virginia delegation (Capito, Rahall & Mollohan) voted “no” on the bill.  The National Mining Association said the narrow margin of victory, seven (7) votes, is a positive sign that will be helpful in blocking or complicating action in the Senate.  This bill needs to be defeated in the Senate, but that won’t happen unless everyone gets engaged, like you did on the House side, and send the same kind of message to Senators Byrd and Rockefeller.

They need to hear from you so they are aware of the widespread concern with this bill and the penalties it puts on West Virginians.  It is simply not fair to West Virginians and citizens in 39 other states who will be paying the energy tax so people in California, New York and eight other states can get money back!  Our Senators will most assuredly hear from those who want the “energy tax” passed.

Nationwide, this bill threatens to eliminate 67,000 high-wage jobs in mining, more than double your electricity bills, take from $1,300 to $1,800 out of your pocket every year while forcing American jobs to foreign countries.  On this Fourth of July, America deserves better.

Please send an email to Senators Byrd and Rockefeller asking them to oppose HR 2454, the Waxman-Markey Bill, that punishes West Virginians.

The email addresses for both Senators are included below, with their office telephone numbers and regular mailing addresses.  E-mails are the most effective means of communicating with their offices.  Clicking their e-mail addresses should initiate the message.

There will be routine reminders and updates provided on this issue and our delegation because contact by you is so critical and needs to be done on a regular basis.  On behalf of West Virginians everywhere, thanks.

Senator Robert C. Byrd
311 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3954
Fax: 202-228-0002

Senator John D. Rockefeller
531 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-6472
Fax: 202-224-7665

It’s interesting that the coal industry isn’t focusing on criticizing the bill’s potential impacts on that industry … huh. I wonder if that has anything to do with what the United Mine Workers said about the House version of the bill:

As it stands now, the amount of money dedicated to coal in this bill is remarkable, and the future of coal will be intact.

8 Responses to “Friends of Coal urge Senate defeat of climate bill”

  1. Thomas Rodd says:

    I hope that the reporting and commenting on this issue will go beyond what the West Virginia delegation does and says.

    The question that I want some answers to is: “how do the grownups in Washington who understand the politics of coal-mining states propose to get a bill through the Senate?”

    I suspect that people are already writing about this in depth. We in West Virginia who understand how urgent this issue is are deeply interested in seeing what’s being said.

    Go to it, bloggers and reporters!

  2. Ken Ward Jr. says:


    Here’s one take on that from Darren Samuelsohn, who covers this stuff for Greenwire and the Times:

    According to an E&E analysis of the Senate, 60 votes is within reach for a cap-and-trade climate bill, but many concessions must be made to get the measure across the goal line.

  3. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Also, Tom,

    I asked Rockefeller’s office and Byrd’s office yesterday some specific questions — about what they don’t like in the bill, what they would have to see changed to support it, etc.

    Both refused to answer my questions.


  4. Thomas Rodd says:

    Thanks, Ken, for the link. The article is just what I requested.

    I see that the article suggests that a “safety valve” provision may be one key to getting a Senate bill. As I understand it, this would authorize the government to issue more carbon emissions permits if energy prices go too high — to prevent a giant, global recession.

    Our recent experience with housing and credit markets shows that these kind of fears are not at all unrealistic. My Washington DC climate policy expert friend, who has worked on this issue literally for decades, has told me several times that he thought a safety valve was necessary to pass legislation.

    I know some people are dubious about getting a bill passed this year, but it may well be in the political cards, given the election in 2010.

    Come on, Jay and Robert C., get in there and fight and get us a climate bill!

  5. Red Desert says:

    The House bill has safety valves. I don’t have my papers with me, but I think if the price exceeds the average of the last three years by 60%, more allowances can be issued to bring the price back down.

    The House bill regulates not just the carbon market, but other fossil fuel futures markets, markets which were deregulated a decade ago. Many suspect that those unregulated markets have contributed to speculation and excessive spikes in energy prices.
    How about Obama’s pivot two days after the vote? Negotiators add language to the bill providing for tariffs on goods from other countries without GHG limits to protect domestic manufacturing. Then Obama, after lobbying fence sitters to pass the bill, comes out against that language. I wonder if any Rust Belt Dems feel burned.

    Gregg Easterbrook’s op-ed in the Times was right on. Efficiency first, CCS second. You make gains now while CCS gets up to speed and (because the raw volume of carbon that needs to be sequestered goes way down) the CCS problem becomes more manageable.

    Coal knows this. Coal could be much cleaner today. An older Times article that’s relevant:

    “Dirty Secret: Coal Plants Could be Much Cleaner”

    Here is a handy reference for power plant efficiencies, p 31.

  6. Nanette says:

    I fear that it is going to be hard to get 60 votes for the climate bill in the Senate. We can pretty well figure that our WV senators will vote against it along with the senators from Kentucky. It truly surprised me that Lamar Alexander, the republican senator from Tennessee sees coal not as an asset for his state but a hindrance. I have to admire him for having eyes wide open. It will also be interesting now that Franken has won the senate seat from Minnesota. It will be interesting to see who comes down in favor of the climate bill. I know that I will be closely watching to see who votes for it and where they are from.

  7. Nanette says:

    I should have added that the debate on this bill will be closely watched by all CSPAN viewers (such as me). I am looking forward to listening to the debates and miriad of amendments that we all know will be tacked on to this bill to try to get it passed. That is the trick right there, what amendments will get attached to this bill to water it down to try to appease the hard line coal state senators.

    I suppose that some of us will have a basket of balled up socks ready to throw at the tv when we get fed up and can’t take it anymore!

  8. Art N Livestock says:

    If coal needs so many friends, why doesn’t it do what everyone else does and get a Facebook page. Then everyone can friend coal. Rahall can friend coal, Boucher can friend coal. Even Obama can friend coal,though he’d probably wait for cleaner coal to start its own page.

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