Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Jay Rockefeller today released the following statement after President Obama announced a plan to move forward on climate change based on a series of Executive Actions:

“I’ve long believed the science is real and we need to address climate change. Congress should be working to develop an energy policy that protects our families, grows our economy and creates jobs. But instead we have been stuck in deep partisan gridlock.

“I understand the President wants to move forward on climate change, but his remarks today were short on details, and those details matter in the lives of West Virginians. Any action on climate change is going to have a direct effect on the lives of our mining communities that are already facing great uncertainties, and on the pocketbooks of every one of our middle-class families still dealing with a recovering job market.

“We need more from the President to assure our miners and working families they’re part of this plan. To begin with, we need to see a timeline, a cost estimate and to understand how communities that have relied on coal are going to be supported once these proposals take effect. I’m deeply concerned that, in its current form, there’s not enough emphasis in the President’s plan on the people who are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our nation.

“And, any roadmap to deal with our future energy needs must include the promise of clean coal. Our demand for energy can’t be met without it.”

Background

Rockefeller has taken a lead in securing a clean future for coal.

He is working with the coal industry, labor and environmental groups that will join him in working for the future of energy in West Virginia and throughout the country. To do that, Rockefeller sent letters to coal operators, industry groups, labor organizations and environmental advocates asking for their ideas about how to drive deployment of clean coal technology in the state. Their input is critical as Rockefeller is working on shaping a new, comprehensive clean coal bill.

In 2010, he co-authored the first comprehensive legislation designed to realize widespread Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage technologies. The Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment Act of 2010 would create funding for research; financial incentives for large-scale deployment; and technology standards for new power plants, among other provisions.

In addition, Rockefeller fought for and secured funding for CCS as part of $3.4 billion for advanced coal in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

And last fall, Rockefeller joined Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) in
introducing legislation that would allow companies to claim a credit of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide captured when producing energy. That bill amends current law to provide assurances to companies who were previously concerned that the tax credit would no longer be available to them once construction of CCS projects began.

More broadly, Rockefeller remains committed to a broad plan to secure a future for West Virginia coal that includes his new CCS bill; a push for stronger funding of the Fossil Energy R&D program; continued efforts to push regulations that help promote the development of CCS technology. In addition, Rockefeller is focused on jobs and retraining efforts for existing and new coal miners and operators; and strengthened mine safety legislation and worker benefit laws.