Senate Hearing on Utility GHG Emissions

Bob MurrayOn Thursday, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing on “Examining Global Warming Issues in the Power Plant Sector” (translation — cap and trade). A video of the hearing and all opening statements are available here.

President and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation provided great entertainment as a witness. His remarkably memorable claim that the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 were responsible for ending marriages most certainly caught the attention of those present, including our intern on the scene, Nat Gryll.

In Murray’s rant — and if you watch the video, you’ll see “rant” is the right word — he accused Rachel Carson of killing millions and the Democrats of destroying the economy, exporting jobs to China, and not caring about working people. (EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer responded by bringing up a 2006 article showing that Ohio’s two largest mines, owned by Murray, “recorded injury rates about one-fourth higher than the national average last year.“)

In fact, we will destroy our economy if we do not prepare our utilities for an emissions cap or similar global warming policy that Congress will discuss in the fall. As we procrastinate meaningful policy, the U.S. is failing to lead in innovation and clean technology exports. And inaction guarantees the high economic cost of catastrophic global warming.

On the bright side, the same day Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) announced plans to write an economy-wide cap and trade bill. With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, present as a witness at today’s hearing, and Republican Sen. Warner open to a cap an trade proposal, the environment and the environmental committee seem ripe for action.

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