Sunday, April 06, 2008

Obama addresses clean coal at Mont. event

This morning's AP story about the Barack Obama rally Saturday in Missoula opened this way:

Democrat Barack Obama said Saturday he supports environmentally-sound ways to use coal and promised to appoint a high-level adviser on Indian issues if elected president.

Obama acknowledged his support of clean-energy technology might worry voters in a region that produces lots of coal.

"I know Montana's a coal state. My home state, Illinois, is a coal state, but we've got to make sure that we are investing in technologies that capture carbon because we can't sustain the planet the way that we're doing it right now," Obama said, speaking to 8,000 people at a college arena. "Look at this incredible landscape around you. We've got to pass that on."

Sen. Obama said basically the same thing during his speech in Laramie March 7. Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal was in the audience, and it probably pleased him that Obama was speaking about issues important to the West. He has since endorsed Obama for president. We're still trying to figure out cost-effective technology to remove greenhouse gases from coal-burning plants. Let's face it -- we have plenty of coal to burn and just need a crash program to clean or sequester or otherwise render emissions harmless (or a lot less so).

Sen. Obama also talked about other issues important to us dwellers of the Rocky Mountain states. Personal freedoms, for one, and Native American issues, for another. He also talked about his plans to end the Iraq War once he takes office. He can't do that soon enough.

The question remains: can Obama win in MT-UT-ID-WY? He has a much better chance than Hillary, but I fear that the Republicans may take Independents with them into the McBush -- I mean McCain -- camp come November.


jhwygirl said...

Coal doesn't receive state-wide love up here in MT, Michael. Both Hillary and Obama talked to clean-coal.

The Good Gov. Brian has been wanting to get to the Otter Creek tracts since he was first elected, and it looks like he's getting there, but it comes with a mixed bag.

Lots of people don't like it, and would prefer cleaner renewable resources. To get to clean coal, we need newer technology.

I guess I think, like many, that if we are going to invest in technology for energy, maybe it should be in renewable resources.

There are cases where I don't mind coal - Malstrom is investing in a coal-to-liquid gasfication plant - and the reason I'm OK with that is because the military obviously needs fuel and investment of that type only improves our stability in national security.

As for the rest of us civilians, I think we should be looking at solar and wind and water and (yes) even hydrogen and nuclear stuff.

Yes. I said stuff. ;-)

Michael Shay said...

I prefer renewable sources of energy, but a good chunk of Wyoming's economy depends on coal. I've heard about Malmstrom's project. Warren AFB west of town has put up two large wind generators to supplement the base's power needs. With the gales that blow through here, they could put up a hundred windmills and generate power for the whole county.

jhwygirl said...

Yeah - MT is into wind power - we've got state trust lands generating income for schools, and legislation was passed in 2005 that requires a percentage of our power to be from renewable resources by a certain date.

MT has yet to fully develop its coal, unlike WY. I think a whole hell of a lot of us prefer it just stay in the ground.

I believe that industry is more the push behind coal than anything. Thing is, industry can make big bucks - trucks, roads, machinery, processing, fuel. All kinds of people getting rich on that. With wind, for example, it's what? Windmill manufacturing and transmission lines and maintenance?
Not enough people making $ off of renewable resources - or, better said - not enough of "old money" making money off of renewable resources.