Friday, October 30, 2009

Climate Change Coal Compromise Soothes Baucus

Montana Senator and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is backing down from his considerable disappointment expressed during hearings earlier this week on the Kerry/Boxer climate change measure, now that incentives have been written in for “early actors” who adopt carbon sequestration technology at their coal fired power plants if they can capture 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. Montana has the largest coal reserves of any state in the nation, but they are mostly undeveloped because transportation costs for Montana coal price it out of the market in rust belt states with numerous coal fired power plants. Construction of new, efficient, carbon capturing coal fired power plants could develop a big new market for Montana coal.

Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter and Ohio Coal Association President Mike Carey are both still opposing the Kerry Boxer bill because they say it will be a job killer in their states. Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Boxer has scheduled a markup of the Kerry/Boxer bill in her committee beginning Tuesday, following three days of hearings featuring 54 witnesses on the bill this week. Republican members of the committee have said they will delay the measure by boycotting the markup, which would deny Boxer the quorum required under Senate rules for conducting a markup of the bill.
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