Both Ways on Coal? Obama, McCain Embrace "Clean Coal," Not Mountaintop Removal

In a story, fittingly, featured in the Charleston Gazette, in West
Virginia's coal country, about people are href='http://sundaygazettemail.com/News/200809200519'>puzzling over how John
McCain and Barack Obama really feel about coal.

They both say they support "clean coal" -- a code word for
yet-to-be-developed technology that would either turn coal to gas before
burning, or else bury the carbon emissions deep underground after burning.
It's a way for politicians to embrace an abundant domestic fuel source that
employs blue-collar workers, without embracing the pollution that comes
along with it.

About 50 % of U.S. electricity comes from burning coal, and it's the
leading source of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as pollution in the form
of toxic mercury, acid rain gases, smog and soot. In a word: dirty.

Coal is, along with oil, the central figure in our energy picture. Yet,
the candidates focus energy talking about it. href='http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/nuclear-power-4
7082510">Nuclear power and href='http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/offshore-oil-dr
illing-47082512'>offshore oil drilling form the backbone of href='http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/john-mccain-gre
en-99050502?click=main_sr'>McCain's energy talking points, while
renewable energy and conservation form the backbone of Obama's. Both
candidates say they would href='http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/global-warming-
47082511'>cap and trade carbon emissions, putting a de facto tax on
coal-fired power plants. (For more on the candidates' energy policies, see
-guide-47082517'>Green Election Issues 101.)

But they see coal very much being used into the future, just by newer,
cleaner methods. But where does all that coal originate? ... href='http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/blogs/shapley/mountain
top-removal-47092202'>Read the full story.