Clean Coal is a Sham

In the aftermath of recent episodes in what can only be referred to as eerily repugnant decision making, today seems like the perfect opportunity to expose the absurdity of “clean coal”.

Without further acknowledging the buffoonish representation of the United States at the G20 Summit, in which we, as a nation, pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, let’s instead look closer to home; to the Kemper County coal plant.

The Kemper County lignite plant was touted nationally as the first of its’ kind electricity plant to utilize carbon capture technology. Construction began for the project in 2010, with estimated costs initially set for $2.4 billion, with the site being functional in 2014. However, as we now know, the project ended at $7.5 billion, unfinished, in 2017. The project is now reverting to natural gas, setting off a frenzy with oil companies who already constructed a pipeline for excess carbon.

You see, the reason for the carbon capture technology isn’t necessarily to protect the environment, but rather to further the interests of major oil companies in the Gulf. The entire project, with minimal googling to suffice as research, could have been exposed as fraudulent from the start. Lignite, the coal being mined in Kemper County, is one of the dirtiest types of coal. In fact, it is the lowest ranking coal and has remarkably low energy density, while it is also made up of 70% carbon. This means that the coal exclusively being mined in the nations debut, premier clean coal project is, in fact, the dirtiest coal imaginable.

Carbon capture technology is, essentially, a system in which carbon is sucked out of the air and transported underground through pipes to the bottom of oil wells. This carbon then pushes the remaining oil towards the top of the well, to aid in extraction. So, clean coal is really very dirty coal that has its’ excess carbon used to further extract the Earth’s remaining oil, that will then go towards further polluting the air. Sounds ridiculous, right?

Of course, it isn’t enough that the environment is being destroyed, economic progress is being slowed as well. American voters have long favored Republicans when it comes to the economy, and trusting their clean coal rhetoric is just par for the course. The coal industry employs nearly 160,000 people, while solar energy employs over twice as many. Solar and wind are the future, coal should be left in the past.

Any politician who takes time out of his day to advocate for clean coal, or promises to revive the coal industry within their district, you should be highly suspicious of. I implore you to check their campaign finance reports, as you will likely find large contributions on behalf of the coal and oil industry. Too often, we become so polarized by our current state of politics that we fail to see reason. Mississippi, in particular, seems to be especially prone to fall for baseless political claims and smoke and mirror tactics. There remains no doubt in me that our ranking as the most corrupt state and least educated populace go hand in hand. It is our responsibility, the democratic leadership in this state, to stand up and point out the absurdities in our own political climate. Clean coal is but one fallacy perpetuated by the alt-right, but it is one that cannot be ignored. Despite what the fox news propaganda machine would have you believe, the consensus on man-made climate change has been in. We must do our part to move toward renewable energy, and condemn politicians who would have us believe otherwise.

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