Pro-Coal Obama (Put Question Mark Here)

By August 6, 2008Energy, Global Warming

From Sen. Obama’s June 28th, 2005, floor statement on passage of H.R. 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2005:

Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I would like to express my gratitude to the managers of the energy bill, Senators Domenici and Bingaman, for their support of two amendments that I offered. I am proud that these amendments have been included in the legislation that the Senate will vote on today, and I believe that their enactment will help America increase its energy independence and transition our energy industry to full usage of 21st century technologies.

The first adopted amendment, which was cosponsored by Senator Lugar, provides $85 million to three universities for research and testing on developing Illinois basin coal into transportation fuels, including Fischer-Tropsch jet fuel, a type of low-emissions diesel that can be used in jets and diesel. The funds provided in this amendment will assist Southern Illinois University, Purdue University, and the University of Kentucky in upgrading existing facilities and constructing new facilities to conduct research and testing on this technology. It is critical that our Government invests in domestic fossil fuel supplies in an innovative manner, and this is a commonsense way to expand our coal industry in an environmentally friendly manner.

Fischer-Tropsch appears not so popular on the campaign trail these days. No mention in the Senator’s latest energy speech, delivered Monday.  He does mention carbon sequestration favorably, however.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial today, “The Green Hornet” takes a critical look at that speech and its disconnect from economic, technological and energy realities. In a a relevant passage the editorial also notes that “the cap-and-trade program also favored by Mr. Obama would effectively bar new coal plants.”

Problems like these are the reality of “alternative” energy, and they explain why every “energy independence” plan has faltered since the 1970s. But just because Mr. Obama’s plan is wildly unrealistic doesn’t mean that a program of vast new taxes, subsidies and mandates wouldn’t be destructive. The U.S. has a great deal invested in fossil fuels not because of a political conspiracy or because anyone worships carbon but because other sources of energy are, right now, inferior.


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