In a bold stroke for securing coal's role in America's energy future, the comprehensive energy bill advanced Tuesday night by House Democrats contains crucial incentives for clean coal technologies and coal fuels, said U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, who was instrumental in hammering out the details of the measure.
"The clarion call has been heeded, and today represents a resounding victory for the future of coal, coalfield economies, and jobs," said Rahall. "The House of Representatives is on record endorsing a path toward a better, more diverse energy future that includes coal as a major player."
The Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 6899), a bill that facilitates oil and gas development off the Nation's shorelines, also contains provisions to fund domestic alternative energies that are critical to transitioning away from an over dependence on oil. Among its provisions of importance to coal fuels:
* The establishment of a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewable Reserve financed by repealing subsidies for Big Oil and provisions aimed at cracking down on royalty-free federal oil and gas leases. Generating over $6 billion over a 10-year period, the Reserve will be used to deploy renewable and alternative energy technologies, including coal-to-liquids, and the development of carbon capture and sequestration techniques.
* Over $1 billion in tax credits for the creation of advanced coal electricity and gasification projects which demonstrate the reduction of emissions as well as carbon capture and storage.
The measure would also open to offshore drilling parts of the country's Atlantic and Pacific Coasts - up to an additional 400 million acres. It would expand the availability of oil by at least 2 billion barrels, enough to power one million cars for 60 years.
To address startling revelations unveiled this week by government investigators over "a culture of ethical failure" involving Interior Department employees charged with collecting federal oil and gas royalties, the legislation takes aggressive steps to crack down on extreme misconduct at the agency that has undermined its duty to collect royalties owed the American people.
"This legislation contains bold initiatives to crack down on this legacy of abuse. It would require the diligent development of federal oil and gas leases, require the prompt, transparent, and accurate royalty payments are made, and would address the ethical failures at the Interior Department," Rahall said.
"The difference is clear between those of us supporting this measure, and some of those on the other side of the aisle who have been trumpeting their bumper sticker drill here, drill now' approach to our serious energy situation," Rahall said. "We, instead, will protect America's interest in American resources, demand that the American taxpayer gets a fair return, and ensure America's transition to a stronger, more reliable domestic energy future."