Challenge Our Leaders Regarding "Clean Coal Technology"

by Al Swilling, Founder
SENAA International
25 January 2009

We need to send a message to our leaders, to the media, and to corporate America that, as it now stands, there is no such thing as "clean coal technology"; that before the use of coal can even be considered as a clean source of energy, much more research, development, and work must be done.

Simply "talking the talk" doesn't change the facts of the matter. Before anyone can herald the existence of "clean coal technology," it must first be developed; and a small-scale, working model must be built to demonstrate its efficiency and cleanliness. 

Measurements of the amount of energy yielded per ton of coal by "clean" methods, and realistic rather than speculative comparisons to the energy yield of present-day "dirty" methods of burning coal must be made. The comparisons must be demonstrated and recorded. The amount and nature of pollutants and potentially harmful, cumulative emissions must be measured and recorded over a realistic test period. Effects of such emissions on the environment, on human health, and on the health of wildlife must be assessed and addressed before any entity can go forward with any coal technology that claims to be "clean."

We challenge our leaders, the media, and corporate America to address these concerns to our satisfaction before investing billions of dollars in technology of questionable merit. We challenge them to produce a small-scale working model of a "clean coal" facility and to produce hard data that has been witnessed and confirmed first hand by credible scientists across the board to, indeed, be "clean" before construction of full scale facilities begins. Data collectors should not forget to multiply any emissions data by the difference in size between the model and a full-size facility in order to extrapolate the long term real effects on the environment.

Beyond the use of any "clean coal technology", other concerns to be seriously considered are the mining methods used to extract the coal. Before strip mining can occur, living samples of all the plants growing in an affected area must be gathered; and a means of propagating those plants in preparation for restoring the area to its pre-mining state must be established. In the past, especially on Native American reservations, the mining companies' idea of restoring the land consisted of planting grasses and maybe a few trees for land cover. In reality, many medicinal and rare plants have been stripped from the land, never to return, simply because the mining companies did not take the time to do the research and gather samples of all the types of flora that grew in the affected area.

Companies considering strip mining should be required to carefully scan and map the area they plan to mine; gather living samples of each and every type of plant growing there and where it grew; set up nurseries near the site to maintain and propagate the plants; and when mining is finished, painstakingly restore to the area only the plants that were indigenous to the area before mining occurred. The area should truly be restored to its original state. Photographs should be taken of the area before mining occurs, and every effort should be made to return the land to its original state after mining is finished.

We ask, for the sake of our children and grandchildren's future, that you contact your elected representatives at the state and federal levels and demand that the above challenges be met before spending billions of dollars building full scale "clean coal" plants based on conjecture. 

Let your elected representatives know that they and the government as a whole will be held accountable for their care or neglect of our environment. Inform them that the days of blindly trusting government to act in our best interest are gone forever. Remind them that the United States government was established as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; not a government of, by, and for corrupt officials and greedy corporations. 

If the inhabitants of this planet are to survive, then allowing the exploitation and ruin of natural habitat for the financial gain of a few is no longer an option.

Our people call this planet "Mother Earth" for a reason. If she dies, there is no stepmother out there somewhere who can take us in. The colonization of Mars is still science fiction--a pipe dream. It may not be possible. Keeping Mother Earth healthy is possible. Furthermore, it is our only real option. Stop the parasitic mindset of government and corporations. Promote--insist upon--a mindset of coexistence. Insist upon technology that doesn't just take but gives something back.

Act today. Get involved. Stay connected. Fight to protect the planet that sustains us all. 

Contact your elected officials. Go to the White House's Web site and send a message to President Obama. Urge them to hold off on implementing "clean coal technology" until an experimental scale model of such a plant is built and it can be demonstrated to be safe, clean, and efficient.

Last but not least, urge your friends and family to contact their elected officials and President Obama. The more people who contact their elected officials and the President, the louder the message will become. The louder the message, the more likely they will be to listen and act in our best interest. 



Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.