The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

July 19, 2008

McCain proposes $2B for clean coal


McCain himself was cordial, often apologizing if he felt he didn’t properly answer a question or had been too short with a reporter. His alleged temper, much touted in news reports, was nowhere to be seen.

The candidate spoke mostly about issues during the interview, only touching on the more political side of campaigning when discussing his plans for winning Ohio. One issue he spoke at length about was energy, particularly his plans to spur clean coal investment.

When asked if he thought “clean coal” was an oxymoron, McCain pointed that technology had been developed to clean emissions responsible for acid rain from coal-burning plants, and he thought the same could be done for greenhouse gas emissions.

“I believe that the reason we succeed there is because we made use of existing technology,” he said. “I think we can eliminate greenhouse gas emissions through clean coal technology as well. A lot of the technology is there — one aspect of it is the cost.”

McCain has been one of a handful of Congressional Republicans to have called for mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions. It has put him at odds with many in his own party as well as the coal industry, although he said the latter has come around to the idea that global warming is a problem, recalling a conservation with one West Virginia coal executive about the issue.

“I think we all appreciate now, including the coal industry, that climate change (and) greenhouse gas emissions are an issue that needs to be addressed,” he said. “In the last 18 months to two years, the coal industry recognized that and has basically changed their position.”

He considers coal-to-fuel technology, which transforms coal to diesel fuel, as one clean coal technology the country could pursue, although that technology has been known to produce twice the amount of CO2 than simply burning coal in power plants. Still, the candidate sees not using the nation’s vast coal reserves as a waste.

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