Congressman Doggett Takes on Liquid Coal

Congressman Doggett Takes on Liquid Coal

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On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means committee held its “Hearing on Energy Tax Incentives Driving the Green Job Economy.” At the hearing, Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) took a bold stand against the coal industry, arguing that “clean coal” is a conflict in terms. Rep. Doggett said clean coal is like “safe poison.” 


At Friends of the Earth, we couldn’t agree more. Coal dirties everything it touches, from the communities and natural areas that coal mining pollutes, to the miners who work in unhealthy and often unsafe conditions, to the working-class communities of color that have been turned into toxic hot spots by coal power plants.

Rep. Doggett went on to blast liquid coal, which the coal industry has pushed as a replacement for “foreign oil,” even though it has twice the carbon emissions of conventional gasoline.  Joseph Romm of the Center for American Progress, who testified at the hearing, called liquid coal “staggeringly expensive” and pointed out that “no independent study finds any net public value from coal-to-liquids.”

Rep. Doggett and other progressives in the House of Representatives have stood strong against subsidies for liquid coal, despite heavy pressure from the coal industry. Along with 28 other members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus, Rep. Doggett sent a letter to committee leadership holding the line against a tax credit that provided a 50-cent subsidy on every gallon of liquid coal produced. That tax credit expired last year, but the coal industry, and its allies in the Senate, have been pushing for the credit to be renewed.

We hope that Senate and House leadership heed their warning. Liquid coal tax credits make taxpayers foot the bill for a dirty, expensive fuel that has no place in our clean energy future.