Coal Barons Confronted By Youth Climate Activists At Hill Hearing


photo via flickr

The House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing today to put the coal industry front and center in front of the American people. The purpose of the hearing was ostensibly to discuss the future of coal in a carbon constrained world, but the recent tragedy in West Virginia haunted the proceedings, especially when youth activists confronted the coal executives.One youth leader, Tommaso Boggio, told EE news that their voice must be heard on the future of coal and its contribution to his generation's greatest threat--climate change.

"We have submitted letters and we organize lobby days, but the truth of the matter is coal executives and lobbyists get a ton of face time with members of Congress and their staffers. We bring them a letter and it goes into a pile," Boggia said. "Without the type of access that lobbyists and corporations that give so much money have, we have to find more creative ways to get our point across."

Present at the hearing were Gregory Boyce, Pres and CEO, Peabody Energy Corp;
Steven Leer, Chairman and CEO, Arch Coal Inc, Preston Chiaro, Chief Executive for Energy and Minerals, Rio Tinto; and Michael Carey, President, Ohio Coal Association. Boyce and Carey represented opposites within the industry. Boyce says that he believes in the science of climate change, but that carbon capture and sequestration needs to be available before an economy wide price on carbon is set in place. Carey, says the science is misleading.

There is no wide-scale CCS project in the world, making Boyce's claim a fantasy at best. The House has passed a climate bill that gives billion to the coal industry to bring CCS to the market. The Senate is said to be considering a climate sometime this year.

Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington addressed the coal barons at the beginning of the hearing.

More on coal:
Video: West Virginia Coal Miner Left Note Before Massey Mine Explosion
Cass Sunstein, Single-Handedly Holding Up the EPA From Regulating Coal Ash Waste