With all the screaming from Republicans (aka, bought-and-paid-for coal industry puppets) about a supposed “war on coal,” what I find striking is that we’re actually hearing supportive comments from big utility executives, not exactly known as warm-and-fuzzy/treehugger types. For instance.
*Nick Akins, CEO of American Electric Power “said in an interview Tuesday that as long as utilities like his are given enough time to transition to a cleaner fleet of power plants, Obama’s plan can be carried out ‘without a major impact to customers or the economy.’”
*Dominion Resources, “one of the nation’s largest energy companies with 2.3 million customers in Virginia, supports having ‘a comprehensive national energy and environmental policy that balances the nation’s needs for clean, reliable and affordable energy with reducing our environmental footprint,’ said Thomas F. Farrell II, the Richmond firm’s chairman, president and CEO.”
*Dominion Chairman and CEO Thomas Farrell “said his company would work with the administration to promote low-carbon technology. ‘We have put our words into action…By making significant investments that should reduce our CO2 combustion emissions by about a third by 2015 and lower other emissions by as much as 90 percent by 2020.'”
*Farrell in this NBC report is quoted as saying, “with enough time and the right technology…the power industry can make this work.”
*Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute “said in a statement that the country’s shareholder-owned electric utilities want to ensure that carbon-cutting regulations are achievable and will minimize additional costs. Kuhn also stressed that the electric power industry has long understood the importance of addressing climate change and has been a leader in reducing criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the last two decades. ‘We look forward to working with the administration as it further develops its climate plan and with other key stakeholders, including Congress and the states, which will play a critical role in helping to forge workable regulations,’ Kuhn said.”
Also note in this article that the booming wind and solar power industries are VERY supportive of President Obama’s plan, and the nuclear power industry says “we cannot reach our energy and climate goals without the reliable, carbon-free electricity that nuclear power plants generate to power our homes, businesses and infrastructure.” Oh, and the natural gas industry’s pretty happy too, saying “it’s worth noting that President Obama again recognized the benefits of natural gas as an American source of energy that is clean, reliable and affordable.”
To summarize: wind, solar, nuclear, and natural gas all are fine with/enthusiastic about President Obama’s climate plan. So are several major utility executives, including the head of Dominion Virginia Power. That’s just about everybody – with one glaring exception: the entrenched, heavily subsidized (by the taxpayers), polluting-at-no-cost-to-themselves coal industry. And even in coal’s case, they’re desperately trying to claim that “[t]he newest coal-fueled power plants operating today are highly efficient, utilize less coal, and have lower emissions.”
So, really, who are the “dead enders” here, the folks willing to take down the entire planet for a few more years of profits to a few coal companies, and a few more years of contributions to bought-and-paid-for politicians from said coal companies? Basically, it’s Republican politicians like Ken Cuccinelli (recipient of $528,629 from “Coal Mining/Processing” since 2001, and Mark Obenshain (recipient of $111,820 from “Energy, Natural Resources” since 2002. Hmmm…do ya think that might have anything to do with their hostility to addressing climate change? Anything at all? Yeah, think about that one for a little while and see what you come up with.