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Senator Blunt Leads Efforts to Advance Affordable, Reliable American Energy

September 16, 2015

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) led a letter co-signed by several Senate Republicans today opposing the Obama Administration’s efforts to block the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and other multilateral institutions’ public financing of efficient and affordable coal-fueled power in emerging markets.

“Access to affordable and reliable energy, particularly coal, is indispensable to economic growth and prosperity.  This statement is true for all countries, including the United States, but it has special meaning in the developing world, including emerging economies, which are working to provide electricity for the basic needs of their people, including clean water, sanitation, education, and healthcare,” the letter said.

The lawmakers continued, “We oppose any efforts within the OECD and other multilateral institutions to impose restrictions on public financing of high-efficiency power stations fueled by coal in the developing world, including emerging markets. The United States must be a global leader in providing the most efficient advanced coal technologies. We ask that you join us in promoting U.S. leadership in providing access to affordable and reliable energy to advance economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.”

Senator Blunt has long fought to protect U.S. workers and families from unfair international climate agreements, and has expressed ongoing concern regarding commitments the Obama Administration has made in advance of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

 

To read the entire letter, please see below or click here.

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

Access to affordable and reliable energy, particularly coal, is indispensable to economic growth and prosperity.  This statement is true for all countries, including the United States, but it has special meaning in the developing world, including emerging economies, which are working to provide electricity for the basic needs of their people, including clean water, sanitation, education, and healthcare.  Reliable baseload power, which coal generates, is required to attract industry and create jobs.  The private sector will not invest where the electricity grid relies on wind turbines and solar panels that only produce power at certain times of the day.  As a result we are troubled by your continued international push to end public financing of efficient coal-fired power plants in the developing world.

Pressuring the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to end public financing of coal-fueled electricity generation plants does nothing to change the fact that such projects are essential for economic development.  Developing countries, which are increasingly becoming reliant on Chinese infrastructure financing, would only grow more dependent on Beijing in the coming decades, which could be a detriment to the political and economic influence of the United States and its allies.  Research at the University of Tokyo indicates that Chinese financing of coal plants in Asia is already roughly equivalent to the combined total of public financing from Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, and the United States.

With the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), China is poised to further increase its leadership role in the developing world.  The United States must rise to the occasion and be a leader in providing access to affordable and reliable energy to promote strong, global economic growth, which is a key factor in ensuring political stability and security.  The deployment of more efficient U.S. advanced coal technology would also result in cleaner air and water in poor countries, compared to plants built by other countries with less efficient coal technologies. 

Finally, Congress made a strong statement of support for coal-fired generation projects in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2015 (P.L. 113-235).  P.L. 113-235 includes language supporting the financing of clean coal technologies which also support U.S. jobs and assist developing nations to access clean and affordable energy. Such language is contained in both the Senate and House committee-passed versions of the FY 2016 State and Foreign Operations bill.

We oppose any efforts within the OECD and other multilateral institutions to impose restrictions on public financing of high-efficiency power stations fueled by coal in the developing world, including emerging markets. The United States must be a global leader in providing the most efficient advanced coal technologies.  We ask that you join us in promoting U.S. leadership in providing access to affordable and reliable energy to advance economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.



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