U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, today delivered opening remarks during a Subcommittee hearing on "American Energy Security and Innovation: The Role of a Diverse Electricity Generation Portfolio." In his remarks, Whitfield stressed the importance of coal in domestic energy production.
"The best way to deal with the electricity challenges of today and tomorrow is to expand the options available, not to reduce them," stated Whitfield in his prepared opening remarks. "That is why I believe that EPA's regulatory assault on coal is bad policy. Coal is the leading source of electricity generation in the U.S., and it certainly remains the fastest-growing source of energy for China and many of our other global competitors. We gain nothing when we foreclose the option of new coal-fired generation by regulating it out of existence."
Whitfield also expressed concern over the well-funded political efforts by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other environmental groups to ultimately stop the use of fossil fuel to generate electricity in America.
"We know that there are people in the Administration, political leaders around the country, national and international environmental groups, nonprofit groups and others who really do have a desire to stop the use of fossil fuel in the production of electricity. Just yesterday for example, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York was quoted as saying that "it used to be said that coal is king. And regrettably, coal remains king in nations like India and China.' But then he went on to say that, "Here in the United States, I am happy to say the king is dead. Coal is a dead man walking'."
Unlike other commodities, electricity cannot be economically stored and must be generated as it is needed, while supply must be kept in constant balance with demand. Deviations from this constant balancing of supply and demand can impair the reliability of the electric grid. Additionally, delivery interruptions or supply shortages can increase prices for consumers, which is why Whitfield continues to call for an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy production, focusing on fossil fuels like coal.
The following issues were also examined at the hearing:
The role of fuel diversity in providing affordable electricity.
The role of fuel diversity in maintaining electric reliability.
Challenges to maintaining fuel diversity in the nation's electricity generation portfolio.
Advanced, efficient technologies that can help maintain a diverse electricity mix.
Potential impacts of reduced fuel diversity on consumers.