While discussions in California over transporting coal-fired power from the Rockies have focused on the potential for building the proposed multibillion-dollar Frontier Transmission Line, that is not the only coal power transportation issue. The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources heard testimony May 25 from power plant owners who complained about the unreliability of getting coal to their plants via the only transport possible - railroads. Rail representatives, however, countered that they've been increasing the amount of coal shipped from the Rockies. "A train and a half a day" is what it takes to maintain fuel stocks for just one 1,650 MW plant, according to Robert McLennan, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association external affairs vice-president. Several other witnesses with coal-fired facilities noted that they had trouble maintaining coal feedstocks because of rail shipping constraints. For example, train derailments last May sorely stressed plant fuel stocks, according to witnesses. Some asked senators to require railroads to have an "obligation to serve" just like regulated utilities. Even as trains are carrying more supplies as the high price of diesel has trucks transferring loads, they are delivering more coal than last year, according to Association of American Railroads president and chief executive officer Ed Hamberger. He attempted to defuse the calls for congressional oversight, but Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana) said that the rail monopoly "causes heartburn." California policy makers have been ambivalent about supporting new coal plant development outside the state for power intended to be consumed inside the state. Generally, the nonmandated policy is that any such coal plant use integrated gasification combined-cycle technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The state administration has been open to, but not funding, plans for the Frontier Line. That transmission system would import power from yet-to-be-built coal plants. Those plants may or may not incorporate gasification. While the federal discussion didn't mention coal-fired power's effect on global warming, a Westwide conference on the state of clean coal technology was held May 24 in Portland, Oregon. The aim was to help California Public Utilities Commission members and other Western regulators to understand the current state of technology available to mitigate the contribution to global warming presented by coal-fired power. The idea of using a regional approach was started by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson, according to the conference's host, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (Circuit, April 16, 2004). "Integrated gasification combined-cycle technology is a leading contender," claimed Stu Dalton, Electric Power Research Institute generation sector director. Others presented technical details on the emerging technologies that might be used to sequester carbon dioxide from coal-burning plants to keep it out of the atmosphere to reduce global warming.