Amid ‘alternative’ craze, why not fund clean coal?

It makes no sense for the U.S. government to be concentrating on ways to stop use of our most plentiful, economical source of energy – coal – instead of finding better ways to benefit from it. Yet that certainly seems to be the situation and the philosophy of President Barack Obama’s administration.

This, at a time when billions of taxpayers’ dollars are being poured into pie-in-the-sky non-alternatives such as solar and wind power.

Even Obama’s Energy Department admits that for the foreseeable future, Americans must use large quantities of coal. About 37 percent of the nation’s energy supply in 2040 will come from that source, the government estimates.

Yet in comparison to what is being frittered away on impractical technologies, the government is spending just a pittance on research into burning coal more cleanly.

A bill introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is aimed at beginning to reverse that imbalance. His bill would provide more federal funding for finding ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal. The measure calls for $1 billion to be spent during a 15-year period. That is an insignificant amount compared to the total of government-funded research, of course. It is an indication of just how pitiful the Obama administration’s commitment to clean coal research has been.

Given the near-hatred with which so many liberals seem to view coal, bills such as Rockefeller’s may face uphill battles. But they and other lawmakers with realistic, truly science-based attitudes should keep fighting for the reasonably priced energy Americans need.