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America can restore its energy jobs — and cut emissions

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One of the things I learned early in my life in Cabin Creek, central West Virginia, is that if you don’t tackle a bully early on, their bullying will only ‘to get worse. Russian President Vladimir PoutineVladimir Vladimirovich Putin Democrats plot strategy to defy expectations and limit medium-term losses turned out to be a tyrant on a global scale. President BidenJoe BidenSenior Hispanic lawmaker urges Biden to fast-track Ukrainian reunification in US Democrats’ conspiracy strategy to defy expectations and limit midterm losses On The Money – US suspends normal trade with Russia MOREit’s Russian energy import ban in the United States is the right decision, and I applaud him for joining the senator. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrats plot strategy to defy expectations and limit midterm losses Biden celebrates US bailout anniversary with visit to elementary school (DW.Va.) and his bipartisan Senate colleagues to stop funding the Russian regime as they continue to attack innocent Ukrainians.

However, the ban on Russian energy imports will mean that the United States now faces an energy resource deficit, as approximately 8% of our oil was imported from Russia. The need to increase domestic energy production is obvious. But that shouldn’t mean we have to give up decades of progress in dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. In my view, this gives us an opportunity to expand traditional jobs in the energy industry and make significant progress in meeting the challenge of reducing carbon dioxide emissions while we do so.

The transition from bipartisanship Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act last year included notable funding to build the infrastructure needed to deploy carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at commercial scale. CCS technology — that is, capturing carbon dioxide at source, compressing it for transport and then injecting it into a rock formation for permanent storage — can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and could be the key element of a sustainable and reliable electricity grid based on fossil fuels. This is the main way to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which currently represent about a third of the United States’ total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

More importantly for United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members, their families and communities, deploying CCS on a large scale would mean jobs for decades instead of a few more years. It could bring jobs back to coal communities that have faced dramatic job losses and economic ruin over the past decade. This would empower communities to rebuild their infrastructure, schools and health systems. That would mean they could afford to rehire first responders and make their communities safer.

This opportunity to increase national energy production should be accompanied by even more aggressive construction of CCS infrastructure and corresponding tax incentives for utilities that apply CCS technology to their power plants. And we must give these public services a reasonable period of time to achieve this.

We can solve our energy problems internally while continuing to fight climate change. Let’s reduce greenhouse gas emissions while preserving traditional energy jobs by deploying CCS technology faster. I call on Congress to take immediate action, as it considers how to address our energy challenges, to embed a faster transition to CCS for coal-fired utilities. Developing CCS technologies in the United States and demonstrating their technical and economic feasibility will be critical to efforts to stabilize global greenhouse gas concentrations.

And while we’re at it, let’s create incentives to bring steel and other metal fabrications back to the United States. Right now we are shipping millions of tons of metallurgical coal abroad to produce the steel that is ultimately shipped back to our shores. We should bring those jobs home by providing incentives for those industries to produce steel on American soil.

We have a real chance to develop a more sustainable economy at the national level in our country by achieving everyone’s goals.

Cecil E. Roberts is president of UMWA International. A sixth-generation coal miner, he has been president of the union since 1995.