Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid released a letter asking the Capitol Architect to switch the Capitol Power Plant from coal to 100 percent natural gas by the end of 2009.
The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide.
Pelosi and Reid’s letter comes just three days before more than 2,500 people from across the country will converge at the power plant for the biggest civil disobedience on climate issues in U.S. history.
Noting that the Capitol Power Plant continues to be the number one source of air pollution and carbon emissions in the District of Columbia, the Congressional leaders thanked the Capitol Architect for the work they had done on increasing efficiency at CPP but that, “more must be done to dramatically reduce plant emissions and the CPP’s impact.”
“Since there are not projected to be any economical or feasible technologies to reduce coal-burning emissions soon,” Pelosi and Reid write in the letter, “there are several steps you should take in the short term to reduce the amount of coal burned at the plant while preparing for a conversion to cleaner burning natural gas.”
Reid and Pelosi went on to say that they had received mixed messages about the cost of retrofitting the entire plant and that they would like to see retrofitting at least one of the coal boilers as early as this summer, and the remaining boiler by the end of the year.
The Capitol Power Plant will be the location for a planned act of civil disobedience on Monday. And beginning tomorrow 10,000 youth climate leaders will descend on Washington D.C. for an unrelated event political action called Power Shift 09. Though the Capitol Power Plant protest and Power Shift are officially unaffiliated, there will certainly be some overlap.
Image: CC licensed by flickr user jeveleth