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If President-elect Barack Obama's choices for officials to deal with energy and environmental issues are any guide, development of coal technology may lag during his administration.

Obama on Monday announced the following choices for top posts:

Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, for secretary of energy. Chu heads the enormous Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Under his leadership it has emphasized research on biofuels and solar energy.
Chu reportedly be-lieves a massive shift away from use of fossil fuels such as coal is essential to fight global warming.

Lisa Jackson to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Jackson formerly was chief of the New Jersey environmental agency. New Jersey has been among East Coast states attacking coal-fired power plants in our area.
Carol Browner, who served as EPA chief during the Clinton administration, to be a coordinator for energy and climate change issues. Browner has a record of tough stances on air pollution.
Nancy Sutley as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She is Los Angeles' deputy mayor for environment, and has a record of insisting on strong action to fight climate change. She supported a proposal that Los Angeles rely on "renewable" energy for 20 percent of its electric power.
It does not appear that Obama's team includes people likely to support the kind of coal research and development the country needs.

We hope we are wrong about that - but if we are not, it will reflect a very serious deficiency in energy policy.

Wheeling News-Register - Editorial - December 17, 2008


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