UMWA in Action
UMWA testifies on climate change legislation
April 23, 2009
For immediate release?:
Eugene M. Trisko, an internationally-known environmental and legislative consultant, represented the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today in testimony before the U.S. House Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In his remarks, Trisko made it clear that the UMWA believes that “achieving the proper balance among technology incentives and the timing and stringency of emissions reductions will be essential for obtaining bipartisan support for climate legislation.
“The UMWA recognizes that climate change legislation poses the greatest threat to its membership and to the continued use of coal,” Trisko said. “That is why the union has chosen to engage in the legislative process instead of standing on the sidelines, reduced to throwing rhetorical bombs and engaging in political grandstanding about this legislation.”
Trisko pointed out that with half of America’s energy currently generated by coal, and with 23 states relying on coal for more than half of their electric supplies, no renewable energy technology currently exists that could replace coal as an energy source, and the reality is that such technology will not be available for decades in enough capacity to meet America’s energy needs.
“Reducing coal in our energy mix means using another fuel to replace it for baseload generation, most likely a combination of nuclear and natural gas,” Trisko said.
Trisko pointed out the areas of the legislation the UMWA supports, including language that calls for support of the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. He summarized a recent study undertaken by BBC Research and Consulting showing that “deployment of 65 to 100 gigawatts of new advanced coal capacity with CCS could create 5-7 million job-years of employment during construction and more than a quarter-million new permanent jobs.”
Trisko questioned the emissions reduction targets in the legislation, notably the 20 percent reduction called for by 2020. “The UMWA urges moderation in the choice of the 2020 target,” Trisko said, “recommending that the majority of emission reductions required by the bill occur later in the program when technological advances should facilitate the continued use of coal.”
United Mine Workers