14 December 2009

Byrd Statement Gets Traction

In the wake of an op-ed (with audio) by U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., a bipartisan trio of his colleagues have crafted a revised climate change proposal that includes coal among its new provisions, The Associated Press and others report.

The framework outlined by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-N.C.; John Kerry, D-Mass; and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., "provided only a broad view of what a compromise bill would include with details to emerge early next year. But it reflects a widespread view that the climate bill that advanced out of committee in early November would need to be significantly revised for any hope of getting bipartisan support from at least 60 senators."

The Charleston Gazette focuses on the revised proposal's stated goal of "ensuring a future for coal." The framework cites Byrd's statements "that coal will remain a major part of the nation's energy mix, but that some form of climate change legislation likely will become law," that article said.

"We agree with both statements," The Gazette reports, quoting from the outline. "However, due to current regulatory uncertainty, it is increasingly challenging to site new coal facilities, and utilities are switching to other fuel sources."

Kerry's office has posted both the framework proposal and audio from their Capitol Hill press conference.

AP had reported earlier on some industry reactions to Byrd's op-ed. Other reactions can be found here and here.

Gov. Joe Manchin has told the Charleston Daily Mail and MetroNews (with audio) that he's been left confused by the op-ed. Having held a closed-door powwow last month with coal executives and West Virginia's congressional delegation, "I want to make sure we're still on the same page," Manchin told the newspaper.

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