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US Senator Outlines Four-Point Plan for Accelerating Coal-to-Liquids

At a recent conference in West Virginia on prospects for coal-to-liquids convened by the Coal-to-Liquids Coalition (CTLC), US Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) outlined a four-point plan for “realizing the full potential” of CTL.

The CTLC includes coal producers, technology developers, labor unions and a range of potential consumers and other organizations. The conference was the first hosted by the coalition and featured speakers including Congressmen Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Jack Murtha (D-PA) in addition to Air Force officials and industry and labor leaders.

Rockefeller, after saying that “coal is the single greatest chance our country has for achieving energy independence“, outlined what he described as four key elements for building the coal-to-liquids industry.

  1. Build up military uses of coal-based fuels. “While DOD’s use of CTL is very much on track, there is more we can and should do to help it along.

  2. Work together to keep all those who support coal on the same page. “How do we get where we want to go? We have to start by acknowledging that the political landscape has changed. The lesson from the Senate debate this spring is that there are 60 votes in support of CTL with some environmental standards. We have to capitalize on that common ground and not get divided against ourselves.”

  3. Have a substantial federal government investment in the R&D for workable carbon capture and sequestration. “My proposal is for something called the Future Fuels Corporation, which would simultaneously develop both CTL and a workable carbon sequestration program. I’ve gotten some feedback on the details, and it needs more work, but what I’m most interested in is not that people think I have a great idea, but that people with the most at stake get involved in crafting the solution.

  4. Expand the pipeline infrastructure to serve the coalfields. “Besides bridges, roads, locks, and dams, I would include on a list of essential infrastructure improvements pipelines to take coal-based fuels to market and pipelines to take compressed carbon dioxide to its permanent geological sequestration site.

Rockefeller called for the equivalent of the Apollo and Manhattan projects to provide billions in federal funding for CTL research and development. He also stressed the need for private investments in CTL development, with tax incentives to develop coal based fuels.

The political reality is that we can’t get the kind of large-scale federal support we need for CTL without serious environmental thresholds. But even beyond the politics, part of what’s so frustrating is that some groups suggest you can’t be pro-coal and pro-environment.

Some choose to think of mitigating Climate Change as a burden. Instead, we should view it as an opportunity to bring the kinds of industrial and economic innovations to bear so US coal and coal-to-liquids industries will shine.


David R.

Why no mention of FutureGen?
All they need to do is accelerate FutureGen funding.


This group has such enormous clout - Business and labor, crossing party lines, and encompassing critical swing states such as WV, OH, IN and IL.

For those of us who think that this is a dangerous boondoggle that could exacerbate all the environmental problems associated with coal mining and coal consumption (never mind the deadly nature of the mining activity itself), IMHO it would make more sense to accept all this forward momentum and attach strict carbon control requirements, rather than just try to block it.

What if we took the position "OK, great idea, we agree if you find a way to make it discharge and carbon neutral?" The result would be a tremendous money invested in sequestration, far more than would be invested if we were just trying to push dishcarsequestration on existing coal burning utilities.

In the end, we'd have better discharge control and sequestration technologies, which in the end would give us more leverage to push for these solutions on existing or new coal generation facilities (here or China....)



Add a prohibition on mountain-top removal mining and everyone could get behind it.  But with that, I'd expect that the mining interests would get indigestion.


Ah, but there are some people that ought to feel more pain.....


Hold on...if you are producing CTL, the idea is to combust it in internal combustion engines in mobile can you sequester the carbon from that? Sounds like a nightmare for the climate! 2x worse than petroleum...

Roger Arnold

Sequestration applies to the CO2 produced in the CTL process, which is about the same amount as the (unsequestered) CO2 produced when the CTL product is used as fuel. Hence, sequestration changes CTL from 2x worse than petroleum to the same as petroleum.

What color do you get when you mix green and brown? A muddy green.


==Sounds like a nightmare for the climate! 2x worse than petroleum...==

Well it's a better alternative than biodiesel :P


Doncha just love it, "Future Fuels", like there will be a future, you fool.


This legislation is completely irrational and immoral, and is now on a track to be stuffed down our throats.

First, it should be illegal to permit CTL until the sequestration techniques are proven effective and safe.

This legislation requires huge subsidies from the federal government, which is taxpayer money, and violates Pay-Go rules, unless the Feds just add this to our national debt and future tax hikes for our kids.

If coal companies want to pursue CTL, they should do it on their tab, not the Feds.

If the Feds do give support, the same and equal share of tax breaks, subsidies, etc. should go towards promoting green sources of energy. For example, why shouldn't the Fed throw money at promoting the electrification of the transportation industry. Rather than promote CTL to be burned as fuel in internal combustion engines, promote plug-in hybrids and EV's to run off the electrical grid. It's cleaner, safer, more efficient, and cheaper.

Lastly, this legislation does nothing to curb emmissions and help stem the global warming/climate change epidemmic. Sequestration might hold the CO2 generated by CTL, but it still emboldens the burning of gas and diesel in internal combustion engines which leads to CO2. We've got to find a way to reduce CO2 emmissions, not support a means to increase it.

This is ridiculous, and Congressional lawmakers are either too stupid because they don't understand, or too smart because their colluding with one another. This has to stop. Contact your local congressman and demand that this legislation be voted down, or else they can pack their bags and find another job.


Fpr those who worship at the altar of Algore, science is of little merit.

David M

Coal to liquids mean converting carbon (coal) into hydocarbons (compounnds that contain both carbon and hydrogen)---like the oil that comes out of the ground. This man-made oil can be used very much in the same way that the natural oil from the ground is used. Burning oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, or other oil products whether synthetic or natural, produces CO2. The question about greenhouse gases is really red herring--distradting from the issue of the source of the oil supply--made form coal in the USA--- or imported from hostile countries overseas. Which would you choose??? The product made here in the USA, oil: (liquid) from coal or oil (petroleum) form hostile and unstable foriegn countries????


Fuego, go back to the right-wing wannabe hole you crawled out of and listen to lush rumball on AM radio. Crackle, crackle, pop, hiss.


How come you democrats oppose CTL? You are the single biggest impediment to energy independence! Think about like this: Do I want to support America's alternatives or do I want to prevent America's alternatives.

Only 28% of America's energy consumption is from the transportation sector (Gasoline,Diesel,Jet Fuel).

Coal power plants produce 90% of pollution!!!!!
If you wanted to stop pollution you would support nuclear power! But you don't,instead you want to filibuster on transportation fuels to prevent 3% of pollution while you also prevent us from getting rid of 90% of pollution! Hypocrites!

Why do you hypocrites want to prevent America from becoming independent of middle eastern oil?

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