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“Saudi Arabia of coal”

May 31st, 2008 · No Comments

From R-G

Democrats talk guns, energy and federal land use
Exclusive: Obama, Clinton Make Closing Arguments as Montana Primary Looms

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Q: But what role should fossil fuels play, specifically in Montana,
where we’ve got vast coal reserves. Do you think, in the short term or
the long term, Montana should be moving more quickly to develop some
of those coal reserves, to help us become a more energy independent
nation, or do we need to wait until better carbon capture technology
is developed?

Obama: I come from a coal state and so I am a big proponent of clean
coal technology and I want us to move rapidly in developing those
sequestration technologies that’s required. We’re not going to
immediately move off coal. A huge percentage of our electricity is
generated by coal. What we need to do though is to put clean coal
technology on the fast track and that means money. It means investment
in research. That’s something that we should have already been doing.
We had a project called FutureGen, a billion dollar project that was
slated to go up and the Bush administration cancelled it after the
siting decision was made and it wasn’t in Texas. I think that’s a
mistake. We’re the Saudi Arabia of coal, and the sooner we can figure
out how to burn it cleanly, not only are we going to benefit but we
can license that technology to countries like China and India that are
putting up new coal facilities every week.

Clinton: I think we are way behind in moving on carbon capture and
sequestration. I support developing the country’s coal resources in a
responsible way that lessens our dependence on foreign oil and I
believe Montana can play a major role in helping us achieve that. But
it has to be done right, and as Gov. Schweitzer and I have both
advocated, it has to be part of a larger strategy that includes wind
and solar and biomass and geothermal and other renewables.

As president I would support the construction of 10 carbon
sequestration demonstration projects to further this technology and I
would like to see them placed strategically around the country in
states like Montana, because there are different kinds of coal
produced in different regions of the country and I think we should be
looking to place these demonstration projects in areas where we’ve got
to determine what our realistic options are for developing clean coal
and clean coal technology.

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