Bob Murray urges Congress to remember the human aspect when managing carbon
In his March 20, 2007 testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee, Bob Murray, chairman, president, and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation asked the Congress to remember the potential impacts of carbon reduction regulations on the human side of the coal industry.
Murray attacked the information being presented on climate change as one-sided, noting that in the majority of information, there was little more than speculation over the potential impacts of climate change in some distant future. There was little to no mention, however, about the known and understood impacts of carbon mitigation policies. The job losses, increased energy costs, and reduced access to energy that would occur after carbon caps and carbon taxes were implemented receive little to no attention in the media and government.
Today low cost electricity is a staple of life for all Americans, and fifty-two percent (52%) of this electricity is generated from coal. Further, coal-fired electricity is, by far, the lowest cost — about one-fourth (1/4) to one-third (1/3) of the cost of natural gas-fired electricity. Moreover, the Energy Information Agency states that our electricity consumption in America will rise forty-one percent (41%) between now and 2030. It is projected that, over the next twenty (20) years or so, coal must be counted on to generate fifty-seven percent (57%) of America’s electricity, which cannot be replaced by any other form of generation — not natural gas, nuclear, or water, and certainly not renewables.
America is dependent on our coal because it is abundant, with some of our best deposits located on public lands; it is affordable; and it is critical to our energy security to protect all Americans from the hostile and unstable governments from which much of our Country’s energy is currently imported.
While we have been losing high-paying manufacturing jobs in America to foreign countries, can you imagine the havoc that will be wrought on our Country as a result of curbing coal’s use, or destroying its potential as a vital domestic fuel, which every single piece of legislation introduced in the Congress to date does, by slapping mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions and United States coal utilization? Draconian legislation, such as the McCain/Lieberman or Bingaman Bills, would thoughtlessly impose arbitrary caps on the use of coal, despite the destructive implications to our economy.
Murray makes a good point in noting that true sustainability requires more than just the environment. There must also be economic and social considerations taken into account. As Murray noted in his testimony, promoting the environmental concerns at the expense of the other concerns can have equally damaging outcomes.
You can access the remainder of Murray’s testimony here.