OF IBEW PRESIDENT EDWIN D. HILL
ON THE KERRY-EDWARDS PLAN FOR CLEAN COAL
The Kerry-Edwards plan for clean coal Americas most abundant fossil fuel represents intelligent thinking about the future of energy. It is a point-by-point plan for reducing our reliance on foreign oil and recapturing energy independence at home.
Coal in the United States is as versatile as it is plentiful. With the right technology, this natural resource can produce electricity, liquid fuels and hydrogen all in ways that protect the environment. The Kerry-Edwards proposal for a 10-year, $10 billion investment aims to test, develop and market coal plants with zero emissions. Estimates are that the proposal will create badly needed jobs for thousands of Americans.
Most importantly, the energy industry is lining up behind this technology because it holds realistic promise. Americas quest for homegrown fossil fuels has led the industry to pursue domestic natural gas caches at great cost, leading to skyrocketing market prices, and taxing the supply of a vital home heating source.
This Kerry-Edwards initiative is not only timely, it is overdue. Oil prices have reached an all-time high. And the instability in the Middle East lends urgency to the utilization of our domestic resources.
In West Virginia four years ago, President Bush promised to invest in other coal technologies. That promise was not fulfilled. At the same time clean air rules greatly increased the cost of electricity, contributing to manufacturing facilities moving overseas.
The United States has more coal reserves than Saudi Arabia has oil. The Kerry-Edwards plan reduces our consumption of limited natural gas at home and oil from abroad. It shows that with the right leadership and the necessary commitment to investment and technology and our environment, clean coal is attainable.
The IBEW represents approximately 750,000 workers in the United States and Canada working in utilities, construction, telecommunications, manufacturing, railroad, broadcast and government.