Coal may be winning the political battle that began last fall when the Kansas E.P.A. turned down a permit request to build two more coal-fired electricity generating plants there. Now the Kansas legislature appears to be ready to pass legislation that pleases coal and pays lip-service to the environment. Perhaps we should call it the "No Coal Mine Left Behind Act."
Reaction to the proposed law depends on your politics and your feeling about coal burning and CO2 emissions. There are those who feel coal is the best answer to America's energy needs because it's homegrown and plentiful for now. Besides all that hooey about CO2 is just propaganda from whacked-out greens. There are those who say the CO2 emissions from coal plants are making global warming worse. I blogged earlier on what could be called Coalacaust.
Thus you get one headline that says "Bill Would Set CO2 Standards but Allow Coal-Fired Plants."
With nearly the same content you get a story that starts "Energy legislation would make state an 'ashtray'."
Kansas's new law would set CO2 emissions limits, per plant. But critics say the standards are easily met and there is no attempt to limit the pollution for the state as a whole. Keep those coal cars moving. Head 'em up, move 'em out. A Kansas tradition going back ot the days of the cattle drives. Course, it they truly reject the coal plants, they'll just get built across the border in Missouri and that's a rivalry going back to the pre-Civil War days.
The most important reaction is yet to come. That will be from Kansas's Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D). Will she sign this bill into law?
Most of this is moot anyway. China continues to build coal plants at an astoundihg rate. And, believe it or not, all that CO2 goes into exactly the same atmosphere you and I are breathing right now.
Cleaning Up Cola Plants
Update on the squabble over FutureGen at Mattoon, Illinois. The U.S. Department of Energy now says it has 33 applications to build similar new coal-buring plants. These plants supposedly would also sequester CO2 and be more efficient than current plants. Earlier this week it became clear the DOE was pulling its support from the FutureGen project. Now Illinois pols hope to get a new lease (that means more money) on life from Congress. Total cost of FutureGen could exceed $1.5 billion with three-fourths of that coming from federal taxpayers, which means we'd borrow the cash from China, Japan, Saudi and our other creditors.
Suppose any of those new-tech coal plants are planned for Kansas? Do we really have a national energy plan? Or would that go against our love of free enterprise? I'd better be careful, already been labelled an eco-socialist for appealling to sense and planning.