CoalBlue Project Letter to the President – October 2013

October 9, 2013

CoalBlue Project Democrats Call on President to Accelerate Development of Sustainable Coal
422 Democratic Officials in 17 States Sign Letter; Encourage Continued Dialogue with Administration

The CoalBlue Project today sent a letter that calls on President Obama and his administration to adopt a “clean energy agenda that reflects a realistic assessment of coal’s inevitable place in our nation’s energy future.”  The CoalBlue Project’s letter, signed by 422 elected representatives of the American people and leaders within the Democratic Party from 17 states, proposes to work with the President on advancing energy policies that accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable coal.

Read the entire press release on CoalBlue Project’s letter to the President here.

Read CoalBlue Project’s letter to President Obama below and click here to view the letter with all signatures.

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As Democrats dedicated to a prosperous America and a clean environment, we encourage the adoption of policies within the framework of your clean energy agenda that accelerate the development and deployment of sustainable coal. We write to you not as representatives of any industry or special interest, but as elected representatives of the American people and as members and leaders of the Democratic Party.

The CoalBlue Project seeks to achieve a broad, bipartisan, and unwavering commitment to coal as a sustainable fuel of the future. We, the undersigned, as Democrats dedicated to a vibrant economy and a healthy environment, support the mission of the CoalBlue Project. We believe securing a diverse mix of sustainable energy resources, including sustainable coal, is vital to America’s future and its standing in the world.

Coal is an engine of economic activity and growth that delivers incredible social benefits. Its production is the economic lifeblood of many of the communities we represent and serve. Far more broadly, the affordable and reliable electricity it generates helps keep businesses across America running, providing jobs for millions of hard-working men and women. It has powered America to greatness, and it can and will – in a cleaner form – fuel us into the future.

To achieve a clean energy future, we must develop energy resources that are abundant, affordable and reliable, yet have minimal impact on the environment. Sustainable coal will help attain a greater balance between worldwide demands for energy that derive from economic and societal advances, and the obligation to deliver a clean, enduring environment for future generations.

We endeavor to work with you and your administration in moving forward on a clean energy agenda that reflects a realistic assessment of coal’s inevitable place in our nation’s energy future. In May of this year, you suggested that we must deal with environmental concerns and challenges in an “honest, realistic way.” We could not agree more, and the realities of domestic and global energy supply and demand tell us that coal will be a central and essential source of energy, both at home and abroad, for decades to come.

From a policy perspective, there is no realistic path forward to a clean, low-carbon world that does not include clean, low-carbon coal. Thus, the sustainable coal agenda is not only compatible with your clean energy and climate agenda, it is essential to it.

Through the use of technology, coal has met every environmental challenge it has ever faced. There is no reason to view the carbon challenge as any different.

However, critical carbon-mitigating coal technologies will not reach the marketplace in a timely manner without strong leadership from you and your administration, nor without significant public investment – similar in scale to that which other energy technologies have received in recent years. We should not expect that advanced coal technologies will be developed and deployed without the same.

Yet, current efforts in this regard are inadequate and unbalanced. Present investment in efforts to take “clean” electrons generated from renewable energy resources and find ways to make them abundant, affordable, and reliable far exceeds investment in efforts to take the vast amount of abundant, affordable, and reliable electrons we already have from coal and other fossil fuels and make them cleaner. While projects such as FutureGen 2.0, in your home state of Illinois, are an important step in the right direction, they are far from enough.

Balanced investment in the next generation of sustainable energy technologies is critical if we are to address the realities of global energy demand. Today, an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide live without access to electricity – a leading indicator of poverty. As the globe’s population increases and developing economies seek the means necessary to fuel further growth, coal will remain a dominant source of energy and the need for advanced coal technologies will become only more acute.

Equally important is pursuing policies that make all forms of clean energy, whether they be renewable or fossil-based, less expensive. Our efforts should not make traditional energy more expensive in order to make higher-cost alternative energy market competitive. The world will not follow us if the path we chart leads only to more expensive energy.

How we achieve a clean energy economy is as important as our actually getting there. Commercial-scale carbon capture and storage technologies are not yet ready for the marketplace, neither for natural gas nor for coal. To not allow for step-wise improvements in advanced coal technologies is counter-productive from an environmental point of view, as well as needlessly costly and painful from an economic one. In this regard, we seek to work with you to address the serious concerns we have with the Environmental Protection Agency’s revised proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new electric generating units.

America is blessed with an abundance of domestic energy resources that, if properly managed, will fuel American prosperity well into the future. In that spirit, the CoalBlue Project endeavors to work with you and your administration in good faith to grasp the many opportunities coal offers – and to address its challenges. By harnessing American ingenuity and spirit, we can do both.

We seek to move forward together through direct engagement with your energy policy team at the White House and federal departments. To that end, we view this letter as the beginning of a fuller conversation.


Click here to view all signatures


Read a message from our Chair, Former Ohio Rep. Zach Space:

Q&A: Democratic group seeks a different way forward for coal

Click Here to Find Out More