Clean coal budget cuts part of plan
In government, budgets and regulatory edicts sometimes speak louder than politicians’ words. That clearly is the case regarding President Barack Obama’s war on the coal industry and affordable electricity.
Last week, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown. Like his boss the president, Moniz insists there is no war on coal.
In fact, he told those listening to his speech in Morgantown, coal and other fossil fuels “will be a major part of our energy future for decades. That’s why any serious effort to protect our kids from the worst effects of climate change must also include developing, demonstrating and deploying the technologies to use our abundant fossil fuel resources as cleanly as possible.”
Fair enough. But do the Obama administration’s policies match up to Moniz’s words?
During the past four decades, coal-burning industries including electric utilities have made truly enormous strides in reducing emissions. Tens of millions of American families and many businesses have paid dearly for that, through higher prices for electricity and other commodities.
Yet because it’s our air and our world, too, those of us in coal country are eager to do more. Help in developing new technology to accomplish that is vital, however.
Obama has been reducing federal funding for research into how to burn coal more cleanly.
According to the Energy Department, it spent $359.2 million on carbon capture and storage, and power systems research related to coal during the 2012 fiscal year.
Obama’s request for the same projects during fiscal 2014 was slashed to $276.6 million.
To put that in perspective, consider that the government was eager to provide $535 million in loan guarantees for a single solar energy company – the now defunct Solyndra LLC.
Moniz is right. Americans need coal and other fossil fuels. But Obama’s regime seems intent on killing the coal industry. Clearly, one tactic in that strategy is to withhold research and development funding that could ensure clean coal is part of our energy future.