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New developments in clean energy and the return of the Coal Caucus

While it may appear that the government is taking its time to make and execute plans to reduce carbon emissions and turn to alternative energy source, two articles by Grist suggest that both the federal government and private companies are supporting the research and development of clean energy.

Utility Southern California Edison will implement changes immediately by using the surplus of solar energy to produce electricity. The even better news is that this clean electricity will be generated at a price cheaper than the competition’s fossil fuel tainted electricity.

Furthermore, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance survey, renewable wind energy costs fell, which makes this form of energy more attainable and makes wind power more competitive with coal and natural gas.

And representing the public sector, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday that the federal government “would grant $50.5 million over five years to spur offshore wind farm developments on the East Coast.”

But apparently not everyone is on the clean energy bandwagon. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) announced last week the return of the Congressional Coal Caucus, which has opposed the EPA’s anti-coal regulations regarding the effect of coal mining on the environment.

“With the Administration’s recent attacks on the industry, most notably the EPA’s veto of the existing Spruce Mine Permit, the Coal Caucus stands to play a key role in bringing to light the important role coal plays in our day-to-day lives,” Capito said in a statement. “As a West Virginian, I am especially concerned with the EPA’s attempts to use their regulatory authority to further an anti-coal agenda. While I agree that the environmental impact of coal mining must be considered, any decisions regarding the future of coal can be done so in a balanced manner that also weighs economic factors. As such, I’ve supported investment in clean-coal technologies.”

Currently, 44 Republicans and 12 Democrats have joined the caucus.

Emily Kleiman is an intern in Public Citizen’s communications office.