Mike Millikin brings word of the horrific goings-on at a recent conference on liquid coal. Witness:

[Sen. Jay] Rockefeller [D-W.Va.], after saying that "coal is the single greatest chance our country has for achieving energy independence," outlined what he described as four key elements for building the coal-to-liquids industry.

  1. Build up military uses of coal-based fuels. …
  2. Work together to keep all those who support coal on the same page. …
  3. Have a substantial federal government investment in the R&D for workable carbon capture and sequestration. …
  4. Expand the pipeline infrastructure to serve the coalfields. …

Rockefeller called for the equivalent of the Apollo and Manhattan projects to provide billions in federal funding for CTL research and development. He also stressed the need for private investments in CTL development, with tax incentives to develop coal-based fuels.

Kill me.

This coalition — powerful politicians, Big Coal, labor unions, and all sorts of peripheral businesses lining up at the public teat — is going to be extremely difficult to defeat.

Some folks think the better part of valor is just to give in to CTL, as long as it meets strict environmental standards. The idea is that implementation will prove financially prohibitive, so it will never happen regardless.

That kind of thinking makes me nervous. Once you’ve created another corporate welfare case, got tons of subsidies in place, for a technology that’s managed to define itself as crucial for national security … what politician is going to let it wither on the vine?

Better not to create Frankenstein in the first place. How to stop it? Make coal unacceptable.

Coal is the enemy of the human race. Tell your friends, neighbors, and legislators.