Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Press Releases

Mar 24 2014

Heitkamp Announces Major Legislation To Put Coal On A Viable Path Forward

New Bill Builds on Heitkamp’s Extensive Work on Coal in the Senate & before Joining Congress

BISMARCK, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced new major legislation to support a viable path forward for the source of energy that provides the United States with almost 40 percent of its electricity – coal.

Surrounded by supporters of her pragmatic efforts to find a realistic path forward, Heitkamp unveiled the Advanced Clean Coal Technology Investment in Our Nation Act. Unlike recent proposals by the Obama Administration, Heitkamp’s bill helps make it affordable for coal plants to lower their carbon pollution through the use of advanced clean coal technologies. This would help to provide a path forward for coal-fired power well into the future.

"Since Day One in the Senate, I have been working on real solutions to the issues facing North Dakotans,” said Heitkamp. “The importance of coal for North Dakota cannot be understated. It isn’t just important because of the high-paying jobs the industry supports. North Dakotans rely on coal for about 80 percent of our electricity and I’m committed to making sure this affordable, abundant energy source is available for North Dakotans for decades to come.

“This bill incorporates ideas and lessons from my experiences working on coal issues both in the Senate and before joining Congress. And by working closely with both sides of the aisle, and listening to the folks on the ground who have to comply with regulations, I’m offering a pragmatic solution – not just talk – to put coal on a sustainable path forward. It’s past time that our country has a true all-of-the-above energy strategy, and I’ll push my colleagues and the Administration to support this bill to help us accomplish that goal.

Heitkamp is a staunch supporter of North Dakota’s all-of-the-above energy strategy that is leading the way toward North American energy security and independence. For more than a decade, she was on the board of directors for the one-of-a-kind Dakota Gasification synfuels plant in Beulah, North Dakota. Since joining the Senate, Heitkamp has been committed to finding a realistic avenue for clean coal by:

  • Visiting a Canadian coal-fired plant. Heitkamp discussed North Dakota and Canadian energy development with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and also visited SaskPower’s Boundary Dam project in August 2013, which will be the world’s largest coal-fired power station with a carbon capture and storage system. She saw firsthand the benefits of investing in carbon capture and storage technologies and the importance of developing public-private partnerships between the national and provincial governments.
  • Bringing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator to North Dakota to talk about coal. Heitkamp has made it clear to the Administration and the EPA that she disagrees with the agency’s policies regarding coal-fired power.  After pressing EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Heitkamp brought McCarthy to North Dakota in February so she could hear about the impacts of EPA regulations directly from North Dakotans.  Heitkamp made a strong case that coal is a critical energy source and she talked about the need for investments in clean coal technologies as a path toward a true all-of-the-above energy strategy.
  • Bringing together industry, lawmakers, and academics to discuss a viable path forward for coal. Heitkamp co-hosted a Coal Technology Symposium on Capitol Hill earlier this month that brought together industry, lawmakers, experts and academics – including the Energy and Environmental Research Center from Grand Forks – to discuss the importance of finding a viable path forward for coal. To a crowded room, Heitkamp laid out why it is so important for our nation to put in place realistic energy policies and discussed the important role coal plays in providing affordable energy in North Dakota and around the country.

Heitkamp’s bill incentivizes companies to invest in technologies that reduce the carbon footprint of coal-fired power. This is done through federal funding programs, federal support for private investment, and recommendations to Congress that provide insight on how best to support future CCS projects in the U.S.

For a summary of the bill, click here. For quotations from energy leaders supporting the bill, click here.

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Contact Senator Heitkamp's press office at press@heitkamp.senate.gov