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BOB MOON: Ethanol may be king of the alternative fuels debate in Washington. But coal is hot on its heels. A Virginia lawmaker is proposing legislation today in the House that would lock in government supports for liquefied coal, which can be used to fuel cars and trucks. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.
SAM EATON: President Bush’s State of the Union goal to produce 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels by 2017 has set off a feeding frenzy in Washington.
A surprise contender is the coal lobby — specifically the Coal-to-Liquids Coalition, a new arm of the National Mining Association.
Spokesman Corey Henry says coal should get the same attention and federal support as that political darling known as ethanol.
COREY HENRY: It’s not really so much looking at ethanol and saying, ‘Hey, us too.’ It’s really more of looking at America’s, you know, future energy needs and saying we have a vital role to play in that.
Henry says the U.S. has centuries’ worth of coal reserves that could be used to fuel our automobiles.
And according to a new government report out tomorrow, there are ways to reduce the high CO2 emissions associated with liquefied coal. But that comes at a high price, and critics say taxpayers shouldn’t be the ones left with the bill.
I’m Sam Eaton for Marketplace.
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