Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two little words: "...clean coal"

Picture from
...ruined Obama's speech for me last night. He said them at the end of a long list of sustainable energy sources that would be strengthened under the Stimulus Package - wind, solar, advanced biofuels... and then he said it: "clean coal!" Here is the quote from the speech:
And to support that innovation, we will invest fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America.
I want to believe that he hesitated with that. He must know there's no such thing. I had been waiting through the entire speech for him to come to that part, and hoped he'd leave it out. The camera glanced briefly at our new Energy Secretary, who also ought to know better.

At least there was no mention of nuclear power. That would have gone way too far.

But why "clean coal?"

Why aren't the environmental organizations out with petitions this morning already?

Coal does not belong in a list of sustainable energy forms. And clean should NEVER be used in connection with coal. There's no way coal can be clean!

Credo sent and email yesterday "Big Coal is on the ropes, let's go for the knockout," with a new campaign: Tell the Power Companies: Stop investing in Dirty Coal!" They may be slightly over enthusiastic, although there are definite indications that this is getting closer to the truth. New coal plants are not getting permitted, rules about emissions are being strengthened by the new EPA, and it will be harder to remove mountaintops in the future as well. The price of coal-generated electricity will be priced out the of the competition when it has to be "clean." So why is Obama still supporting it? There is no reason to send our tax-payer dollars to do research on such a lost cause!

The latest Sierra Club Global Warming newsletter reports of the new regulation of Coal's Carbon Emissions. Although former EPA Administrator Steven Johnson made a "midnight memo" to the contrary, the new EPA is planning regulation "that new coal-fired power plants could soon be forced address their carbon dioxide pollution, the main cause of global warming."
Now the coal-fired power plants are starting to fall in response. First was AES announcing that it's pulling plans for its 320-megawatt Shady Point coal plant in Oklahoma. Then on Friday, EPA rejected Northern Michigan University's air permit for its proposed coal plant in Marquette and ordered Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality to consider regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. . . Tell the EPA to hold off the permit for a proposed 1,500 megawatt Desert Rock facility in Arizona.
Have you noticed the stream of smoke that rises up behind the Capitol - though not while Obama was being inaugurated? That came from the coal-fired Capitol Power Plant, which, according to the linked Wikipedia article, burned 17,108 tons of coal in 2006, producing about 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. They didn't even try to hide it during the Inauguration? What are these people thinking? A group called Capitol Climate Action is also calling to action in Washington on March 2, 2009. I wish I could be there. If it is at all possible for you to be there, please do! Maybe they will understand it better after that!

Make history March 2, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Be part of the largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in U.S. history.

You know there is a climate crisis. You know we have to solve it. It’s time to take our action to the next level.

With a new administration and a new Congress, we have a window of opportunity. But we have to open it — together.

On March 2, join thousands of people in a multi-generational act of civil disobedience at the Capitol Power Plant — a plant that powers Congress with dirty energy and symbolizes a past that cannot be our future. Let’s use this as a rallying cry for a clean energy economy that will protect the health of our families, our climate, and our future.

This will be a peaceful demonstration, carried out in a spirit of hope and not rancor. We will be there in our dress clothes, and ask the same of you.

It’s time to take a stand on global warming. We can’t wait any longer for the changes we KNOW we can, and must, make today.
Some of us now living will see the day when the remaining coal gets to stay put where it belongs, under those lovely Appalachian mountains or Wyoming hills. I hope I do!

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