Monday, January 25, 2010

Coal-State Members Launch Congressional Coal Caucus

WASHINGTON – As energy issues remain at the forefront of the national political debate, a coalition of coal-state members of Congress announced today that they have teamed-up to form the Congressional Coal Caucus.

Calling coal “America’s most abundant and affordable energy resource,” the bipartisan group of congressmen and women note that coal provides nearly 50% of America’s energy supply and generates more than 130,000 coal-mining jobs. They’ve pledged to use their new caucus to provide a voice for coal communities in Congress.

“Coal is a critical component to our nation’s energy future,” said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. “Whether it’s on a cap-and-trade bill or on clean coal technology, this caucus will give coal-states a forum to highlight their priorities and present a unified voice. I’m proud to join my colleagues in forming this caucus and I look forward to our work together.”

“As a Congress, it is vitally important that we continue to support the development of clean coal technologies,” Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., said. “I am proud to help launch this caucus, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to help enact policies that will maximize America’s coal resources.”

Members joining Altmire and Capito in forming the coal caucus include Reps. Tim Holden (D-PA), Denny Rehberg (R-MT), John Salazar (D-CO) and John Shimkus (R-IL). Together the new coalition will promote awareness of American coal along with the new technologies currently on the horizon that can help make coal use cleaner and safer.

The six initial caucus members are also circulating a Dear Colleague inviting other members of Congress to join them.

“The Coal Caucus gives coal states like Pennsylvania a strong voice in Congress to encourage the use of coal as an affordable, reliable and increasingly clean source of energy,” said Rep. Tim Holden, D-Pa. “I am proud to be a part of this effort to promote economically and environmentally sound mining, reclamation and consumption practices including clean coal technologies on Capitol Hill.”

“America needs an all-of-the-above energy plan that increases domestic supplies, lowers costs and makes us less dependent on foreign sources of energy,” said Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont. “While many in Washington may think that energy comes from the wall outlet, Montanans have been in the energy production business long enough to understand the vital role coal plays in our country and our economy. As a caucus, we’ll focus on developing cleaner and more efficient ways to use America’s vast stores of coal, and by doing so, help create good-paying jobs and affordable energy for American families.”

“Coal is a vital resource in Colorado and throughout the nation, and will continue to play a role in helping meet our nation’s energy needs. Coal provides jobs in my district and nearly all of our energy is derived from coal. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Coal Caucus,” said Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo.

“With the current debates over energy policy as well as the environment, it is more important than ever that coal interests be represented in Congress,” said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. “We can move much faster toward energy independence by taking advantage of the enormous supply of coal that exists in my district and elsewhere in the nation. To ignore an abundant source of low-cost energy in our own country is absurd.”

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