Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been all over the map on using coal at the Capitol Power Plant. First she bought offsets to cover the carbon dioxide (CO2) and commissioned a study for greening the Congress. Then in response to a pending march on the Capitol Power Plant by radical environmentalists, she announced that she would 'back out' the use of coal at the plant (representing 43% of energy input). Natural gas is used to produce 47% and oil 10% of the energy needed to produce heating and air conditioning. Then a day before the march, Speaker Pelosi reversed again saying the plant would continue to use coal and she decided to stop purchasing offsets to replace the CO2. So what's the deal?
Radical environmentalists want to shut down all of the coal plants, including the 43% of coal used at the Capitol Power Plant (it does not produce electricity). The Capitol Power Plant will now be used as the 'whipping boy' for the larger global warming legislation that will be introduced in the Congress very soon. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman want to introduce legislation as soon as possible. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman wants a new energy bill introduced this spring too. Pelosi is outnumbered inside and outside the Beltway.
The Center believes national security is served by having a three-fuel capability at the Capitol Power Plant. We would even suggest building a back up plant with triple capability. We suggest that Speaker Pelosi should return to purchasing offsets though. Offset allowances will be central to the climate change bill and she should show support for the mechanism. The Center is also pushing a program to convert CO2 into gasoline and Energy Defense Reservations (EDR) to provide baseload power to the national smart grid. EDR would provide a studier backbone to the wind and solar facilities planned for the Midwest and West.
Switching From Coal To Natural Gas at Capitol Power Plant
Speaker Pelosi Letter To Architect of the Capitol