If The Mustache’s uncritical embrace of "clean coal" made you want to puke, I advise you avoid at all costs the letter to the editor sent in response by James Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

You can’t resist? OK, here it is, in full:

Thomas L. Friedman ("My Favorite Green Lump," column, Jan. 10) urges Washington to co-invest in advanced coal to identify ways to reduce carbon dioxide. We already are.

Although not reported in major media, on Nov. 30 the Treasury Department awarded nearly $1 billion in tax credits to help offset the cost of nearly $10 billion in private investment to build nine advanced coal projects. The Energy Department also awarded a $235 million grant to match $300 million by a private utility to build a coal gasification facility in Florida.

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With another $650 million in tax credits this year leveraging billions more in private dollars, we should produce more than a dozen commercial-scale coal projects holding the promise of lower carbon dioxide.

This builds on the $2.2 billion President Bush dedicated to clean coal research that culminates with the Energy Department’s FutureGen initiative, a $1 billion international partnership to build and operate the world’s first coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plant by 2012.

This, if nothing else, should give Friedman pause. When the Bush admin agrees with you, and rushes to brag about the corporate subsidies it’s lavishing on your pet issue, it’s a good indication that you’ve taken a wrong turn.

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