Senate rejects coal-to-liquid fuel amendment

Most conservationists are celebrating the defeat of two amendments to the new energy bill that would have authorized $200 million in grants or $10 billion in direct loans for coal gasification/liquefaction projects.

Coal state senators are pushing this as a “clean” method of using the vast coal deposits, many believe use of coal, is not the solution to energy woes due to the high emission rate of of carbon dioxide when coal is used. Proponents of coal liquefaction in Montana and elsewhere have been saying the CO2 can be captured and injected into deep wells, where it will remain. Other doubt this, saying the carbon dioxide will leak out.

Coal mining also has severe environmental impacts, although federal law requires the reclamation of coal surface mines.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. Senate rejects coal-liquids plans. By Noelle Straub.

Story in the Charleston Gazette. Senate rejects liquefied coal. Backers split over proposals; environmentalists hail votes. By Ken Ward Jr. Staff writer.

Here is a news release the Sierra Club just put out:

Senate Says Firm No to Liquid Coal. Vote Puts the Public Interest Ahead of Special Interests.

Statement of Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director

“In spite of Herculean efforts by the coal industry and its friends in Congress, the Senate today delivered a very important victory in the fight against global warming by decisively voting against jumpstarting a new massively expensive, massively polluting liquid coal industry–twice.

Senators showed that they understood that we need to leave behind the failed policies of the past–and past Congresses.

“At a time when we need to get on the path to achieving an 80 percent reduction in our global warming emissions by 2050–an achievable annual reduction of 2 percent–the level scientists tell us is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic effects of global warming, business as usual is no longer acceptable. Liquid coal produces nearly twice the global warming pollution as conventional fuel and Senators were right to turn their backs on it.

“Though Senators successfully blocked these damaging liquid coal provisions, they now need to turn their attention to breaking a filibuster led by Senator Domenici that is preventing a fair up or down vote on the Bingaman Renewable Electricity Standard amendment. Senators must also block attempts by Senators Levin, Bond, and Pryor to further weaken the CAFE compromise in the bill.

“We thank Senators for their leadership on this important vote and hope they will continue to make the changes necessary to make this bill one that we can truly be proud of.







Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan