Houston Chronicle: Energy workers rally against climate plan

By TOM FOWLER
Houston Chronicle
Aug. 18, 2009

Local energy workers jammed a downtown Houston theater today to protest climate change legislation that the U.S. Senate will take up in the coming weeks.

The Energy Citizens rally, promoted by some major energy companies and business organizations as well as the Greater Houston Partnership, is the first of several such events planned in 19 states in the coming weeks.

About 3,500 people, or 1,500 more than expected, filed into the facility, many donning yellow T-shirts that were being handed out that read “I’m an energy citizen.” Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. was the keynote speaker.

Organizers of the event, billed as a dialogue on energy and the environment, told the Chronicle on Monday that legislation the U.S. House passed last spring will destroy millions of U.S. jobs and raise costs without reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change.

“It’s a dangerous piece of legislation,” said James Hackett, chairman and CEO of Anadarko Energy, which is busing employees to the event.

Hackett said he supports reducing greenhouse emissions and developing alternative sources of fuel.

“But I do think there’s a virtual reality that’s being portrayed to most American citizens about how quickly we get there and how we get there,” Hackett said…

…The climate change bill the House passed earlier this year sets a steadily decreasing cap on emissions from factories, power plants and other industrial sources and lets companies trade any excess emissions allowances. The price of those emissions allowances would most likely be passed on to consumers.

The measure also would set up a system for creating extra allowances, called offsets, through other projects that reduce emissions, and would include incentives for renewable energy sources and home and business energy efficiency.

But opponents say the bill won’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it doesn’t secure promises from developing nations, like China and India, to put controls on their growing emissions.

It also makes no mention of encouraging nuclear power generation, which some rally organizers believe will be key to meeting the country’s electricity needs without creating more greenhouse gases, and doesn’t discuss a role for natural gas, which typically has lower carbon emissions than other fossil fuels.

Opponents also say the cost of the legislation is ill-timed in a weak economy.

The article continues at Energy workers rally

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