Presidential candidates chase clean coal

    Pennsylvania will take center stage next week among coal researchers — as leaders in coal technology from around the globe gather for a conference in Pittsburgh. This same group is also a focus of the presidential candidates’ energy policies. From WHYY’s health and science desk, Kerry Grens reports.

    Pennsylvania will take center stage next week among coal researchers — as leaders in coal technology from around the globe gather for a conference in Pittsburgh. This same group is also a focus of the presidential candidates’ energy policies. From WHYY’s health and science desk, Kerry Grens reports.

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    Transcript:

    With a new coalition to protect coal jobs and a teleconference on clean coal earlier this week, Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign is becoming more outspoken on the potential energy source. Paul Lindsay is the regional communications director for McCain-Palin 2008.

    Lindsay: Clean coal is a very important part of any energy solution to decreasing our dependence on foreign sources of oil. One way that we’re going to create jobs here in America is by the development of additional nuclear power plants and investments in clean coal technology.

    McCain is willing to invest up to two billion dollars per year to making clean coal a reality. Pennsylvania is home to major coal research labs in academia, industry and the government — and the state could see a major benefit from such an investment. The McCain campaign is seizing on a remark by democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden that he does not support clean coal. But according to Sean Smith, spokesman for Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in Pennsylvania, Obama also backs clean coal.

    Smith: His plan calls for 150 billion dollars over 10 years in clean energy technologies, including incentives to accelerate private sector investments in commercial scale zero carbon coal facilities.

    Researchers in Pennsylvania estimate that clean coal is at least a decade from becoming a viable source of energy — but they intend to play a big role in that development.

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