MILWAUKEE, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) Executive Director Joe Lucas today issued the following statement regarding the Midwest Governors Association (MGA) release of its Midwestern Energy Security and Climate Stewardship platform:
“Participating governors correctly identified the fundamental linkage between energy security and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the very title of their platform.
The governors also specifically embraced the key role that the American coal-fueled electricity industry plays in meeting the region’s growing demand for electricity and keeping energy costs low. For the platform and its accompanying accord to become reality, the inextricable linkage between energy security, economic prosperity and environmental stewardship must be more than rhetoric; this linkage must be evident in specific policies that each state will enact.
Today was just an announcement; now will come the real work in putting the detailed policies together that will accomplish the governors’ goals.
As this process unfolds, policy makers in each state must provide realistic answers to these questions:
1. Will the proposed policies make it possible for the region to meet its growing demand for electricity? Although we’re becoming more energy efficient each day, efficiency gains are not enough to offset the increased use of electricity. Any policy that does not ensure a reliable supply of electricity is a not a viable alternative.
2. How would the proposed policies affect access to low-cost electricity in the region? The cost of energy makes a huge difference in the quality of life for millions of Americans. It is a harsh reality that many Americans have to choose between “heating and eating” when energy prices rise. Nearly 10 percent of American households spend half their income to cover energy-related expenditures. It would be irresponsible not to address how future energy policies will affect costs to consumers and the American standard of living.
3. Will proposed policies make America more reliant on imported energy resources? More than half the oil the United States relies upon to operate its economy comes from foreign sources. Contrast that with the fact that half of this country’s electricity is produced using abundant, domestic coal. The U.S. has more energy in the form of coal than the Middle East has in oil. Proposed regulations that diminish the use of coal will likely result in increased reliance on natural gas for this country’s electricity. With domestic reserves of natural gas already stretched to their limits, dramatically increased demand for natural gas would likely force the U.S. to look beyond traditional partners, like Canada and Mexico, to meet that demand.
4. Will regional policies actually result in meeting state environmental goals? Without question, the greatest concern in regards to climate is the unbridled growth in greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries. China has already surpassed the U.S. as the leading emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) and India is not far behind. If U.S. policies reduce the country’s domestic reliance on coal, who will invest in the research, development, and deployment that will commercialize advanced clean coal technologies to capture and store carbon? If a market for these advanced clean coal technologies does not exist in America, little hope exists that such technologies will be available any time soon to curb the rate of emissions growth in the developing world. This will result in a dramatic undercutting of progress related to greenhouse gas emissions reductions progress achieved by the U.S. For that reason, ABEC supports the governors’ pledge to support significant, additional funding for advanced clean coal technologies.
The United States can achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the utility sector and still protect energy security by relying on domestic energy resources like coal and keep energy costs affordable. The key to achieving this goal is placing investment in clean coal technologies as the centerpiece of the plan as opposed to making coal use a target.”
Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) is a non-profit, non-partisan group that promotes a dialogue with recognized community leaders across the nation to discuss balancing America’s growing demand for electricity with the need to protect the environment. Because of its prominence in the nation’s energy mix, electricity from coal is a major focus of the dialogue. For more information, go to www.AmericasPower.org.
First Call Analyst:
Source: Americans for Balanced Energy Choices