Will the Democrats Go Astray on Liquid Coal?

Coal-to-liquids (CTL) is an irredeemably bad idea, as Climate Progress has repeatedly noted. Sadly, as the Washington Post reports today, coal-state Dems are pushing an energy bill amendment “that would provide as much as $10 billion in federal loans” for CTL.

In theory, some of that money would go to pay for capturing and storing greenhouse gases produced by those plants. Environmental groups aren’t buying it:

The heads of 14 leading environmental groups issued a letter yesterday saying a liquid coal provision would be “a poison pill that would make any bill totally unacceptable.”

CTL increases greenhouse gases by 119%, unless you capture and store the carbon dioxide — and even then, CTL still isn’t cleaner than regular diesel (and there are so many far cleaner alternatives).


But no CTL plant currently captures and stores the carbon dioxide and few are likely to do so any time soon — because the process is already wildly expensive. You need to spend a stunning $4.5 billion dollars just for a 50,000-barrel-a-day facility without CO2 storage. And the U.S. uses more than 20 million barrels of oil a day.

Even coal state newspapers realize federal subsidies for CTL are a boondoggle.

Keeping this poison pill out of the energy bill will be a major test for the Democratic leadership in both houses.

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