If the U.S. coal industry and their Republican comrades have their say, Americans will soon be filling their tanks with — you guessed it — coal. Or a refined version of it, anyway.
At the Huffington Post, Tom Zeller Jr. lays out an in-depth exploration of liquified coal fuels, which are being pushed in Washington as an important element of the road energy independence. Sound like a one-step-forward-two-steps-back scenario to you? That's because it is. Writes Zeller:
[C]ritics argue that the necessary environmental protections don't really exist, and that turning to coal for any fresh purpose, rather than working wholeheartedly to leave the stuff forever in the ground, simply doesn't make sense.
...[W]hatever benefits its supporters may conjure, there's little question that the historical narrative leading to coal's eventual refinement into liquid fuel is characterized by desperation more than inspiration.
"We need to send the signal that the new fuels we start to commercialize can't cause more problems than they fix," said Brian Siu, a policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Counsel. "Why should we be be helping a technology to get of the ground that is vastly worse for the environment and for the climate than we already have today?"
Read the whole article here.