Industry supporters of clean coal technology, endorsed by the administration in its languishing energy bill, are on the offensive to keep the issue in front of the public and to counter environmental critics. "With so much change expected in the next congress, our challenge will be to educate people about the importance of advancing clean coal technology," says Lisa Miller, spokeswoman for American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
"We think the energy issue can rise above the partisan divides and provide an opportunity for policy makers to come together and solve long term economic and environmental challenges. Coal and clean coal technology will play a pivotal role in a post-partisan, pro-growth economic and energy agenda," adds Miller.
The industry and the organization has outfitted two tractor trailers as mobile classrooms to show the public and congressional lawmakers how the technology works and how it can cut emissions dramatically by capturing carbon gases. The trucks have visited several congressional districts in states such West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois.
Even Vice President Joe Biden has gotten in on the act. While at Penn State, the veep met with the mobile classroom's crew and held up a "Clean Coal Technology: It Works" T-shirt for photographers.
The mobile classrooms have also traveled to state fairs and participated in local community events. The campaign comes as protests are heating up to push the federal government deeper into alternative fuels, not coal. It also comes as the administration's push to fund clean coal technology has hit a snag with the Senate's delay in considering the energy bill. Still, the administration is a proponent of the industry's plan, and just recently funded another $1 million to help develop future generation clean coal technology. "The next big challenge for policy makers from either party should be envision how a national energy strategy can leverage new technologies to deliver abundant, affordable and cleaner energy whatever the source. Coal and clean coal technology is plays a big part in that vision and it will be our job to tell that story," says Miller.