Commentary: Coal could get boost from cap-and-trade

Some Kentuckians will have a hard time processing this. But the dastardly cap-and-trade legislation might well be coal's best chance to survive as a fuel of the future.

"Preposterous," you say, "I've heard about the Obama-Pelosi plan to destroy all things coal."

Well, shocking as this may sound, politicians and their ads don't tell the whole story. To those suffering from overheated campaign rhetoric, we offer a few soothing facts:

The energy legislation Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has triumphantly declared dead in the Senate would pump $60 billion into developing technology for capturing and storing carbon emissions.

This technology is what the warm, fuzzy commercials touting "clean coal" are talking about.

Because of the huge cost and complexity, though, no one expects it to happen without significant financial support from the government.

There was no such support during the Bush years. In fact, the Bush administration scuttled plans for the public-private FutureGen coal-fired power plant in Illinois that would have demonstrated carbon capture and storage, explaining the project's cost had doubled.

The Obama administration disputed that costs had doubled, and FutureGen is revived in the energy bill the House passed last year and that is now the target of so much Republican bile.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.kentucky.com.