Responding pre-emptively to plans of a massive act of civil disobedience at the coal-fired U.S. Capitol Power Plant, the leaders of Congress today called for an end to its use of coal. In a letter to the Architect of the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) describe the plant as “a shadow that hangs over the success” of the architect’s efforts to green the Capitol:
The Capitol Power Plant (CPP) continues to be the number one source of air pollution and carbon emissions in the District of Columbia and the focal point for criticism from local community and national environmental and public health groups.
Reid and Pelosi note that “there are not projected to be any economical or feasible technologies to reduce coal-burning emissions soon.” (In other words, coal is dirty.) They ask the architect to switch the plant fully to natural gas “by the end of the year”:
Therefore it is our desire that your approach focus on retrofitting at least one of the coal boilers as early as this summer, and the remaining boiler by the end of the year.
The switch will allow the plant “to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide,” as well as the costs of “cleaning up the fly ash and waste.”
Gristmill’s Kate Sheppard reports “that doesn’t mean the big protest on Monday is off, according to organizers,” because “there are still hundreds of other power plants burning coal around the country.”