Clean Coal? There Ain’t No Such Thing

clean coal

There are people — utility presidents and those running for office — who like to talk about "clean coal" technology. In last Sunday's Washington Post, Jeff Biggers wrote that there's no such thing.

"Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more insidious, or more dangerous to our public health," Biggers wrote. "Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy policy…Coal ain't clean. Coal is deadly."

Biggers, author of The United States of Appalachia, reminds us that despite the more than 100,000 people who have died in American coal mines since 1900, it's still a struggle to enforce mine safety laws. (The Bush Administration wants to cut funds for inspections.) And although an area the size of Delaware has been stripped bare in the last two decades, there's still talk about coal as a benign fuel.