Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) on Tuesday spoke at the Center for American Progress Ideas Conference where he proposed that every coal plant should be put into a museum by 2050.
"We also need to invest by transforming our energy economy over the next three decades," Merkley said. "Let's take and put every coal electricity-generating plant into a museum by the year 2050."
Merkley has been outspoken in his opposition to the coal industry, and has introduced legislation to curtail fossil emissions. He reintroduced the "Keep it in the Ground" Act in March as a response to President Donald Trump's executive order "lifting the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management’s moratorium on federal coal leasing," according to Merkley's press release.
"Climate change caused by burning fossil fuels is causing great destruction to our rural resources: our fishing, our forests, and our farming," Merkley said. "The damage is accelerating, making it an economic and moral imperative that we quickly transform our energy economy from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy. In that context, it would be a monumental mistake for the U.S. to keep issuing new leases for the extraction and combustion of our citizen-owned gas, coal, and oil."
Merkley was joined in reintroducing the act by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.).