“You could have a breakdown, you could have an outage. ... You are never going to have a facility as important as the Capitol Power Plant without any backup,” Norton said. “I don’t think that my environmentalist friends mean that if the natural gas line went down there should be nothing that could be done.”
But many of these “environmentalist friends” — including the local chapter of the Sierra Club and the Capitol Power Plant Working Group — are standing firm on their insistence that no permit should be issued by the DDOE unless it requires the AOC to stop burning coal immediately.
The working group, a core group of activists and Capitol Hill residents, also wants the DDOE to require the AOC to use emissions levels of the most recent years as the benchmark for plant-wide emissions going forward. The AOC currently proposes using as a baseline for future emissions the emissions of 2007 and 2008, before congressional leadership made Ayers promise to phase out coal.
Anything less, said working group member Daryl Kimball, would be unacceptable.
All the members of the D.C. Council have also indicated they are on the same page. On Monday, they called on Gray to use his influence to ensure that the DDOE “takes firm steps to ensure that the plant’s emissions are reduced — if not immediately than over a prescribed time — and that coal is discontinued.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.