Daines Presses Kerry on Coal

U.S. SENATE — Senator Steve Daines today pressed the Obama administration on their anti-coal, anti-energy policies and emphasized the important role that innovation holds in America’s energy future.  

During this afternoon’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs hearing, Daines pressed Secretary of State John Kerry on the Obama administration’s failure to take into account the effect of anti-energy policies on hardworking Montana families including the disastrous effects to tribal and union jobs. Under Daines’ questioning, Kerry acknowledged that coal will continue to be an “energy of choice” because it is affordable.

Click here to watch Daines’ remarks.

Click here to download Daines’ remarks. 

“My concern is, are we going to cede leadership in developing clean coal technologies by virtually killing this industry – which is what we are finding out these regulations will do,” Daines asked Kerry. “We’re unilaterally withdrawing in terms of developing, innovating clean coal technologies. We only comprise about 10 percent of the world’s coal consumption, but by shutting down the U.S. coal industry – besides raising prices and having an affordable source of energy we’re now going to cede that to the Chinese, to India, others, perhaps Africa – which I think from a global stewardship standpoint is a mistake.”

Kerry agreed with Daines, noting that the United States should develop clean coal technologies.

“Yes, nobody is going to shut down the (Chinese) economy,” Kerry responded. “This is the danger for all of us. I’ve always supported major efforts for clean coal technology investment and we ought to be trying to lead on that. If we can discover how to do that – that would be superb.”

Daines continued to push Kerry to stand up for hardworking families who cannot afford to see their energy prices rise, given that a significant percentage of America’s energy portfolio comes from coal. 

“The message that industry is hearing from the Obama administration is that they’re really pulling the rug out from underneath this industry,” Daines responded. “They are unwilling to make the investments that it is going to take to get there. I hope for more dialogue here of trying to maintain a balanced all-of-the-above portfolio to make sure we keep baseload on the grid  given that we have a nation where 33 to 35 percent of our electrical demand comes from coal.”

Daines has long fought to protect Montana jobs and access to low-cost energy from the Obama administration’s overreach. Yesterday, Daines signed an amicus brief in support of petitions filed by 27 states, including Montana, seeking to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan. Daines is an original cosponsor of two bipartisan resolutions disapproving of the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan regulations on new and existing power sources.