Environmental progress for coal has been significant

Published 10:46 am Thursday, October 2, 2008

I find it odd that Rick Greene uses the example of a defunct coke plant on which to base his entire Sept. 25 column on the cleanliness of coal, while ignoring all of the progress to date as well as the promise for the future.

Ohio, which ranks third nationally in coal use and depends on coal-fired power for nearly 86 percent of its electricity, can ill afford to have coal kicked out from under it. Fortunately, Ohio is home to 21 clean coal technology research projects, worth more than $400 million, which will help boost the economy as well as improve the environment.

Even back in 1999, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report noted that the “new generation of advanced coal-based power systems in commercial service represents a quantum leap forward in terms of efficiency and environmental performance.”

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Industry in the United States has invested more than $50 billion in technologies to reduce emissions over the past three decades, making coal-based generating 70 percent cleaner as a function of regulated emissions for every unit of energy produced.

Nationally, DOE is promoting clean coal through billions of dollars in grant and loan projects to further environmental improvements.

Additonal benefits are that the successful deployment of these clean coal projects will provide our nation with a greater degree of energy and economic security, as DOE Under Secretary Clarence Albright, Jr. is quoted as saying.

Groups, such as ours, are not simply fighting for more of the “energy pie,” as Mr. Greene suggests. We are striving to help people understand the realities and science behind one of the primary ingredients in our nation’s energy production, as well as the implications of just what happens if we begin using the wrong recipe.