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How important is coal to the national economy?  Very important says Governor Joe Manchin.  "You can gasify it. You can liquefy it. You can make this country more energy independent. There is so much that we can do. And the technology, Wall Street is not jumping in because there's no certainty from the federal government." West Virginia MetroNews
March 3, 2008
(Washington D.C.)....How important is coal to the national economy?  Very important says Governor Joe Manchin.  "You can gasify it. You can liquefy it. You can make this country more energy independent. There is so much that we can do. And the technology, Wall Street is not jumping in because there's no certainty from the federal government."

Manchin says coal was all but left out of the President's 2007 Energy Plan.

"We know that with technology that there's better ways of burning the coal to take the carbon stream off, the CO2, heavy metals. We know that. But there are no credits from the federal government. Everything went with renewables and nothing was to clean up the coal," says the Governor.

The Governor admits he's baffled by that decision considering coal currently creates nearly half the domestic energy produced and that number is going to continue to climb.

"There's no way to replace, even with all the estimates we're seeing. We can talk about it but 20 years from now, there will be a demand of 57% of our energy coming from coal."

One caller said that even the word "coal" had a bad connotation because it brought to mind a dirty way of fueling the nation. But Manchin stressed the technology in the last two decades had cleaned up the industry and it could be even cleaner if everyone were willing to pitch in.

"You can't expect the rate payers, just the people who live in West Virginia or the electricity in that rate base to pay for all this new technology. This is a national concern. You still need the electricity we're producing. It should be a national policy so it could be more affordable."

Manchin is hopeful the President will be more open to funding clean coal technology. But it may have to wait until a new President is elected.

The Governor talked about the issue on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program last week.  He was in the Nation's Capitol at the time as part of the Winter Meeting of the Democratic Governors Association.


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