Entry for July 04, 2007

Eric Pica, who represented Friends of the Earth at a protest by environmentalists on the Senate grounds June 14 had this to ssay:

Thee Senate energy bill started out fairly weak, and we don’t see the debate getting any better.

According to “A Wind-Powered Town, an Energy Bill and a Lot of Hot Air,” Dana Milbank’s Washington Sketch column in June 15’s WaPo:

The coalition of conservation groups had planned to dump a ton of coal on Senate parkland — they had hauled the anthracite from Baltimore in a rented cargo van (12 miles per gallon). But Capitol Police objected, and the environmentalists had to settle for 20 small buckets of the stuff. “We’re going to blacken our hands with the coal,” one of the organizers offered the disappointed camera crews.”

Lauren@chesapeakeclimate.org has a greatentry on the doings:

the Capitol Police tried to disband the press conference by claiming the flammable qualities of coal could severely put the members of Congress in harms way…Mind you the suspicious package in Union Station that caused an entire building evacuation at the same time (right across the street) didn’t slow down any legislator that day.

The genius minds over at CCAN worked through the problem. Ted Glick, the event organizer, changed plans so that the coal would be placed in smaller buckets and still visible for the media…so that it wasn’t dangerously flammable anymore. Gordon Clark, another CCAN organizer, carefully shoveled the coal into each bucket as press crews fought to get that special shot or clip of the coal knocking around from shovel to bucket.

Then the Capitol Police had one more target–the tripods for the press cameras!! Anne Havemann, CCAN’s Communications Director, rallied numerous press outlets to attend the (what?!) press conference. A total of 5 major networks and several other print sources were on site to report the event. The demand to remove the tripods was either harassment or jealousy. Thankfully, the Capitol Police did not stop the cameras or the tripods, and everything went as planned.

The WaPo editorial, “Coal-toLiquid boondoggle: A risky solution to America’s energy woes” appeared June 18.

COAL-TO-LIQUID fuel…requires vast amounts of water, particularly a concern in the parched West. And the price of a plant is estimated at $4 billion.

The most troubling aspect of CTL is that producing it will roughly double climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions….And once past production questions, there’s another obstacle: Tailpipe emissions from cars using CTL would be only slightly better (or no better at all, depending on whom you ask) than from gasoline.

After mentioning Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) proposal to amend the bill to provide loans and other incentives to companies to build plants that would turn coal into liquid fuel while capturing and sequestering the greenhouse gases they emit, the editorial concludes

that while it would be good to “find out whether trapping carbon dioxide underground is feasible” the “large-scale and premature subsidies for this untested and environmentally risky technology may amount nothing more than a big giveaway to Big Coal.

The Senate energy bill, S. Amendment 1502 passed June 21, after invoking cloture by a vote of 61-32 . This is an amendment in the nature of a substitute for Rahall’s bill H.R. 6 passed January 18 228-193. Voted down, for instance was Inhofe’s proposal (SA 1505) for an 80% federal bail=out for coal-to-liquid projects.

Arun-down of subsidies proposed for coal-to-liquied appeared in the New York Times on May 29.

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