Monday, June 15, 2009

Clean Coal Creeps Forward, Climate Change Stumbles Once More

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that his department will commit $1 billion to move forward with the Mattoon, Illinois carbon capture demonstration power plant project which stalled under Bush administration Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Chu promises the Energy Department will complete and review a new cost estimate for construction of the plant before making a final decision whether to break ground and build the power plant.

Comprehensive climate change legislation, however stumbled again in Congress as House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson prepares a comprehensive amendment to address the concerns of the National Farmers Union over certain provisions of the Waxman/Markey climate change proposal from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. NFU President Roger Johnson issued a statement asserting his organization could not support the Waxman/Markey bill unless the Agriculture Department is given authority over agricultural carbon offsets rather than USEPA, there is no cap on domestic offsets, and farmers are permitted to stack environmental benefit credits.

Across the Capitol lobby, Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman amended the Senate version of climate change legislation to give FERC power to site new power transmission lines, and give federal courts the power to override state law eminent domain jury trials and procedures should transmission line building require private property to be condemned for power line easements. And, Florida Senator Bill Nelson is still threatening to filibuster any climate change bill in the Senate unless authority for offshore drilling along Florida's Gulf Coast is stricken from the measure.
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