Dear Senator Murray,
Reading the New York Times today, I stumbled across the article "Lawmakers Push for Big Subsidies for Coal Process."
What a frightening possibility it brings up; the possibility of a multibillion dollar giveaway to the "clean coal" industry.
As one who is deeply concerned about America's future energy supply, I have to say, this lobbying effort risks pushing us in the wrong direction, and the Congress must act with strength to make sure that it does not succeed.
Coal is not, and never will be clean. Though technology may succeed in removing particulates from emissions, coal still remains an emitter of Greenhouse gasses. While sequestration of Carbon Dioxide is possible in applications such as coal power plants, sequestration offers no solution to CO2 emissions from vehicles that would be burning liquified coal fuels. I support sequestration technologies, but they are not a magic bullet, they have limited applications.
With an upfront cost (per the article) of $3 Billion per plant (subsidized by the Taxpayer) I don't believe that the end result can possibly be cost-efficient over the long run. For one thing, the cost of sequestration is not yet clear. Let the Coal industry move towards sequestration of today's coal powerplant emissions before we promise them 20 Billion Dollars for expanded coal processes.
There are many solutions available to Americans if they keep their eyes open, and it's important that we do not dump a large sum of taxpayer dollars into a losing technology, over the long term, as Global Warming will increasingly become a major issue. The replacement of Oil will require many solutions in many niches. It's important that we do not tip the market balance towards a short-term technology at the expense of long-term solutions. We need smart energy reform, not just a division of pie set to appease the industry's power players.