Funding Clean Coal Technology

No doubt U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was sincere in what he said last week in Morgantown about saving what is left of the coal-fired power industry. But talk is cheap — especially after seven and one-half years in which his boss, President Barack Obama, has done just the opposite of what Moniz recommends.

Moniz was in our state at the invitation of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for a major energy forum at West Virginia University. While here, the secretary visited the Longview Power Plant, a leader in clean-coal technology.

Carbon capture and storage technology can allow power plants to burn coal while complying with new federal emissions rules, Moniz noted. But cost and the need to encourage utilities to build such facilities is a barrier.

Congress should approve billions of dollars in tax credits to promote use of clean-coal technology, Moniz said.

Well, yes. Of course. But during Obama’s presidency, he and liberals in Congress have limited support for clean-coal development while pouring billions of dollars into subsidies for solar and wind power.

At the same time, often trampling the concept of separation of powers, the White House has done everything in its power to shut down coal-fired power plants and cripple the mining industry. Obama has been so successful in that that scores of coal-fired plants have been closed and many utilities have committed to replacing them with natural gas units.

It is too late to save much of the low-cost electricity generated from coal.

Still, better late than never. Congress should take Moniz at his word and approve sweeping support for clean-coal technology.

Where to find the money? Ending subsidies for solar and wind power would be a good start.

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