By Dan Shapley
The Senate voted against two energy bill amendments that would have encouraged the development of liquid coal, a controversial fuel technology. The next battle on the energy bill front will be about gasoline price gouging. This is a victory for anyone who takes global warming seriously or cares about environmentally destructive mining, said Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder. Coal mining is a dirty process, and with current technology, liquid coal results in twice the greenhouse gas emissions of petroleum-based gasoline. We need an energy policy that helps fight global warming, and today''s votes were a step in that direction. Unfortunately, the energy bill as a whole is not where it needs to be. We will continue to work for the inclusion of stronger efficiency standards and cleaner sources of energy. Proponents wanted to use the nation's abundant and cheap coal reserves to produce vehicle fuels, as a way to achieve "energy independence" from the volatile oil-producing states in the Mid East and elsewhere. The two amendments that were defeated were:
- the Bunning-Domenici amendment, which would create a 6 billion gallon annual mandate for the use of liquid coal by 2022, and
- the Tester amendment, which would provide $10 billion in loans for the production of liquid coal,
according to a story in the June 20 Christian Science Monitor.