Liquid Coal – Temporarily Frozen

Liquid coal is back in the news (at least my news!). Via the excellent Grist, Jon Tester (D-Montana – think coal!) casts a principled vote to kill an amendment that would have “mandated” a certain amount of liquid coal be used as part of an omnibus energy package bill.

Panel rejects coal amendment

Thomas accused Tester and other Democrats of failing to act on their words of praise for transportation fuels made from coal. But Tester said he couldn’t support the amendment because it would have scuttled the entire bill to which it was attached.

Tester voted against the provision during a meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to assemble an energy package. The legislation contains measures boosting biofuels, energy efficiency and research and development on carbon capture and storage technology.

Thomas’s amendment would have required 21 billion gallons of coal-based fuels to be used annually by 2022. The bill already had a provision mandating 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. The amendment was defeated on a 12-11 party-line vote.

The Democratic and Republican heads of the Energy Committee had tried to prevent the coal-to-liquids issue from coming up during the panel’s meeting. They wanted to pass a bill out of committee easily and deal with contentious issues, including that one, during debate on the Senate floor

With such powerful friends, this amendment will not go away. Expect it to be brought back on to the senate floor when it leaves committee. The coal senators of Illinois, West Virginia, Kentucky and the mountain west love the money this will bring to their states. They can pretend to look away from all the devastating effects of coal mining, and the CO2 emissions, etc. by invoking “energy security”. I give you senator Craig Thomas (R-Coal):

“The bill we’re talking about of course does not include coal and the new opportunities to change the process for developing coal, which would not only enhance our security but it would also reduce and help with the global warming situation,” Thomas said. “I really think if we don’t deal with one of our most abundant resources then we fail to deal with energy security.”

Yes, using liquid coal will “reduce and help with the global warming situation”. I mean, can’t you at least come up with a plausible half-truth?

Liquid coal produces more CO2 than gasoline, so how will it help with the global warming situation? Seriously…