Wednesday, July 09, 2008

CAL treasurer to feds: why have taxpayers subsidize coal?

Another big eyebrow has been raised about the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance new coal-fired power plants.

California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has written to the US Treasury Department raising concern about the “financial and environmental risks new coal-fired power plants pose for investors, taxpayers and ratepayers.”

His letter echoes similar concerns voiced last month by New York City’s comptroller.

It also follows a recent decision by a Georgia superior court judge to revoke an air pollution permit for the state's first new coal-fired power project in 20 years, saying regulators should have considered the plant's carbon emissions when considering its environmental impacts.

Lockyer noted that the projected pollution from proposed new coal plants would "negate California's and other state's aggressive efforts to combat climate change."

Lockyer concluded that "the risks of coal-fired power plants merit a closer examination and timely action by the Treasury Department to avoid possible future losses by taxpayers."

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