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View Diary: A President Breaks Hearts in Appalachia (245 comments)

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  •  The President Loves "Clean" Coal (9+ / 0-)

    Whatever else is going on here, it's not Obama fearing that his policies are already unpopular because he's anti-coal.

    One of the many reasons his global warming policies are inadequate is his support for "clean" coal.

    Those who say that there's no difference between Obama and the Democrats and Bush/McCain and the Republicans are wrong. We are less likely to go to war against Iran with Obama in the White House. The stimulus package, however inadequate, would have been more so under McCain.  Reproductive freedom would be under fire from having another Alito on the Supreme Court replacing Souter instead of another Breyer.

    But Obama is wholly inadequate and things will get worse. He's endorsing Bush's secrecy and civil liberties policies. The stimulus is too small. And his environmental policy scrupulously avoid ruffling feathers at a moment when feathers must be ruffled.

    There's a phrase for this: lesser evil.  And both parts of that expression are important.  Don't let the inadequacies of the Obama administration blind you to the fact that things could be even worse and would have been under McCain (hence lesser).  But don't let the awfulness of the Republicans blind you to the evil of the Democrats, either.

    Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House. - Bob Herbert

    by GreenSooner on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:49:05 AM PDT

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    •  I believe you overstate Obama's fondness (8+ / 0-)

      for "Clean Coal". I do believe he prefers cleaner methods of using coal over the existing, dominant technologies being employed. But I don't believe he prefers "Clean Coal" to solar or wind technologies.

      More than anything else I see Obama as a pragmatist, attempting to steer the country in new directions by avoiding impenetrable roadblocks.  Given our nation's heavy reliance upon coal, the costs of replacing all of the power plants fueled by coal, and coal's price advantage, he realizes the impossibility of immediately shifting to other technologies. Instead, he's proposing significant investments in green technologies with the expectation or "hope" that as they take root, coal will become increasingly less attractive.

      He's also striving to force coal powered plants to clean up their act, which really can be a significant environmental plus as we transition to new technologies.

      We are a spoiled nation, addicted to cheap energy, and for that matter, cheap manufactured goods, having long ago sacrificed our environment in pursuit of our material greed. And it isn't just corporate America at fault. It's American citizens as well.

      "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

      by rontun on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:07:54 AM PDT

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      •  Well said. I agree, but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm sure I'm not alone in viewing with great skepticism the proposal for DOE to sink (sinkhole?) a cool billion of stimulus bucks into the FutureGen "clean coal" plant in Illinois when private capital is set to build an essentially similar plant in Texas (Summit Power).

        Maybe Senator Durbin (D-Ill) and Chief of Staff Rahm (D-Ill) are bigger fans of clean coal that Bush's energy secretary, Samuel Bodman, was, since Bodman pulled the plug on FutureGen a year ago.

        •  Perhaps one might be wise to consider why (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jonimbluefaninWV, tardis10

          the FutureGen, clean coal plant is less welcome in Texas than in Illinois.

          In Texas, 50% of all electrical generation is fueled by natural gas, and Texas is the nation's largest producer of natural gas.

          Texas is also the largest producer of electricity through wind technology.

          Moreover, Texas produced over $26 billion in oil last year, while coal production accounted for $688 million in sales. Illinois, by contrast, saw $1.6 billion in coal production and only about $625 million in oil production.

          Most of the coal utilized in Texas electrical plants is imported from Wyoming.

          So it shouldn't be the least surprising that Bodman pulled the plug on FutureGen in Texas a year ago. The Bush administration was always beholden to the oil and gas industries.

          "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

          by rontun on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 07:48:59 AM PDT

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        •  I can't find any reference to Summit Power (0+ / 0-)

          planning to build a FutureGen "clean coal" power plant in Texas. I've looked at the company's website listings of current and proposed projects and although there is a vague reference to:

          Coal Gasification Projects with Carbon Capture
          • Several IGCC projects are in development using Siemens Westinghouse 500 MW (thermal) gasifiers and state-of-the-art combined cycle power generation equipment.  These projects will greatly reduce mercury and sulfur emissions, as well as water usage, and will capture a high percentage of their carbon dioxide, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions.  The captured carbon dioxide will be used for climate-monitored enhanced oil recovery and other geological carbon sequestration.

          • As a leader in innovative technology, Summit is currently developing surface facilities, including power plants, for underground coal gasification projects in the U.S. and abroad.  This UCG technology can provide additional carbon capture and reduce overall plant emissions.

          no specific "clean coal" plant is identified.

          If you have a link that would provide more information about a "clean coal" plant being proposed by Summit Power I'd appreciate it.

          "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." JFK - January 20, 1961

          by rontun on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 08:18:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My source is Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone; June 25 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gator Keyfitz

            2009 issue.

            Goodell's article titled "The Secretary of Saving the Planet." Profile of Dr. Steven Chu.

            His discussion of Bodman, FutureGen and Summit can be found on page 85.

            And I quote:

            A private company, Summit Power, is already set to build an advanced coal plant in Texas that does virtually everything FutureGen does--and the company isn't asking for a billion-dollar subsidy. If private investors are will willing to take the risk, why should the DOE spend $1 billion to underwite FutureGen--especially since it would benefit companies that have spent years fighting any law that might require them to install cleaner technology?

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