Thursday, July 23, 2009

Duke's Rogers: Senate should trash House climate deal, give more freebies to coal

Well, that rascal Jim Rogers is at it again.

The Duke CEO and chairman, who worked to construct the compromise climate deal approved by the House of Representatives, now wants to change the deal. Not surprisingly, Rogers wants more freebies for coal!

In an interview this week (see excerpt below) with SNL Energy, Rogers said the “transition” to a “low-carbon” economy “must be fair to the consumers in the 25 states that are dependent on coal.” He said the Senate should change the allocation formula to give more free credits to power companies that burn coal. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa has made similar comments in recent days, perhaps fueled by guys like Rogers, who I am told has been making the rounds in the Senate trying to sell his more coal-friendly strategy. (I assure you, Harkin is not hearing that sort of message from actual “consumers!” As you may know from the press call my friends had yesterday, public interest groups ranging from AARP to Public Citizen want more carbon permits to be auctioned – with the proceeds going directly to consumers – as well as better residential consumer protections.)

One would think the Rogers comments would be a real point of contention even within the electric power industry, since the House bill reflected a deal with the Edison Electric Institute. Now Rogers wants to change the deal to boost his own company’s profits.

As usual, Rogers tailors his message to his audience, as the politically correct folks might put it.

Duke CEO: Different CO2 allowance formula needed to pass Waxman-Markey in Senate

July 21, 2009 3:15 PM ET
By Kathleen Hart SNL Energy

With half of U.S. senators representing states that rely heavily on coal for their electricity, the Senate will have to strike a different deal on allocating emissions allowances than the House of Representatives struck in passing the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, Duke Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO James Rogers said July 20.

"I think the politics is fundamentally different in the Senate," Rogers told SNL Energy in an interview. He noted that 25% of the votes for the Waxman-Markey bill in the House of Representatives came from the representatives of just two states — California and New York — but those states only represent 4% of the Senate.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Reps. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rick Boucher, D-Va., "did an excellent job of coming up with something that would work in the House. Chairman Waxman and Speaker [Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.] did a good job of getting that out of the

House because they calibrated the allocations in a way to get the vote out," Rogers continued. But he emphasized that in anticipating Senate floor action on the bill, it is important not to underestimate the power of the 25 states where more than 50% of the electricity comes from coal.

"They did a terrific job getting it out of the House with the allocation formula there," Rogers said. "I think the calculus is fundamentally different in the Senate and the stats that I gave you, you'll find interesting and compelling. Four percent says they're going to have to cut a different deal to bring those other states along."...

While advocating the transition to a low-carbon economy in the United States, Rogers said the transition must be fair to the consumers in the 25 states that are dependent on coal.

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