Amendments Improve Climate Change Bill (Sen. John Barrasso)

I am encouraged to have been able to amend major climate change legislation, winning votes on two key amendments in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s mark-up of the Warner-Lieberman climate legislation.


There are three key points that have been my primary focus throughout this process. First, fossil fuels, such as coal, are vital to achieving our goals of having a cleaner energy future. We can not get there without them. Secondly, a strong American economy – one that creates jobs and new technologies - is vital to develop the tools needed to capture and sequester carbon. And third, we can not afford hurt the very regions, industries, and workers, who will provide that technology through hard work and innovation.


The first amendment, which passed unanimously, designates the University of Wyoming and Montana State University as the Rocky Mountain Centers for Coal Utilization. Our state is the nation's top source for energy, and more specifically energy derived from coal. By establishing the University of Wyoming at the forefront of clean-coal technology nationally, we strengthen Wyoming's future, and provide needed domestic energy sources for our great nation. The centers, among other things, will develop new technologies leading to the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide.


The second amendment will provide Wyoming, and all states, the flexibility they need to use their emission allowances to offset the impacts of global warming. The amendment, which passed unanimously, had the support of one of the bill’s authors, Senator John Warner, R-Va.


I also managed to secure a provision in the bill to reduce coal sequestration targets for new coal fired power plants. The provision provides a realistic approach to encourage investment to build new plants. I originally introduced the proposal in the Global Warming Subcommittee’s mark-up of the bill.