Commentary: U.S. needs to stick with clean coal

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Clean coal, anyone?

The much-ballyhooed FutureGen project aimed at generating electric power using "clean-coal" technology was first on, then suddenly off, and now it's . . . uh . . . well, we dunno.

We strongly urge that the project be revived. While some environmentalists say that clean coal is an oxymoron, we believe we should give it our best shot. Coal is our cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel and accounts for half of U.S. electric power generation. America is the world’s second-largest coal producer, behind only China.

Development of financially and environmentally feasible clean-coal technology would represent an enormous step forward, but it won't be easy. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a partnership of industries involved in producing electricity from coal, estimates that it would cost $17 billion to get carbon capture and storage ready for use by 2025, McClatchy Newspapers reported Sunday. While considerable clean-coal research is occurring in the U.S., the FutureGen plant would represent the first commercial-scale demonstration of carbon capture and storage, McClatchy reported.

The ideal clean-coal plant would minimize emissions of traditionally regulated pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury while sequestering carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas believed to contribute to global warming. Many scientists say that global warming could cause disasters such as flooding of major coastal cities.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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