Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A reasonable senator

I recently signed and sent in an internet petition to my U.S. representative and senators regarding proposed funding for Coal To Liquid technology for use a replacement for gasoline. I received the below quoted letter from one of my senators, Sheldon Whitehouse.

I don't agree with all of the items he lists as solutions to climate change as long term solutions, particularly E85 and biodiesel, as the scientific community doesn't seem to have come to a conclusion on the energy and pollution balance of corn-ethanol production, and its difficult to see if ethanol will have a significant impact without stronger action to improve vehicle fuel efficiency. I'm not sure of the issues with biodiesel energy and pollution, other than, again, maximum production, and the environmental impacts of the non-sustainable agricultural practices used to grow soy beans, the primary source of biodiesel.

Dear Mr. ----:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the expansion of liquid coal technology. As you know, the process of liquefying coal, also known as “coal to liquids,” is an emerging technology that transforms coal into liquid form for use as a transportation fuel.

The development of liquid coal has received increasing attention as a solution to reducing America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil. While reducing our dependence on foreign oil is a goal I ardently support, liquid coal is not the answer to securing America’s energy independence. Liquid coal development promotes expanded use of a non-renewable resource that is extremely harsh on the environment. The coal to liquids process produces twice as many global warming carbon emissions as conventional gasoline. Furthermore, the construction and operation of liquid coal facilities will require huge government subsidies at the expense of American taxpayers. As Congress works to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy and curtail our contribution to global climate change, we must invest in clean renewable sources of energy to protect our environment and move America toward greater energy independence.

Fortunately, in recent years, we have seen significant advancements in the science and technology needed to reduce global warming and expand affordable energy sources. Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, is more efficient and affordable than ever before. More vehicles are using low-carbon renewable fuels such as E85 and biodiesel. Congress must continue to promote both private and public investment in these essential clean, renewable energy sources.

Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Please be assured that I will continue to fight aggressively in the Senate to expand the use of clean, renewable energy that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil and reduce our nation’s contribution to global climate change. I hope you will continue to stay in touch about this or any other issue of concern to you.