By Andrew Restuccia - 05/11/12 01:52 PM EDT
The Obama campaign added a section on “clean coal” to its website this week after House Republicans alleged that the president’s “all-of-the-above” energy plan neglected the fossil fuel.
“President Obama has set a 10-year goal to develop and deploy cost-effective clean coal technology,” the website now says.
“The Recovery Act invested substantially in carbon capture and sequestration research, including 22 projects across four different areas of carbon capture-and-storage research and development.”
As of Wednesday, the website did not include “clean coal” in a graphic outlining the president’s much-touted “all-of-the-above” energy plan. The graphic mentions oil, natural gas, biofuels, wind, solar and nuclear.
Republicans, earlier this week, highlighted the website to bolster their longstanding allegations that Obama has “declared war on coal.”
“Coal is still a valuable resource … and yet this administration has been open in the business of putting coal out of business,” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), a vocal proponent of the coal industry, said during a House hearing.
“To not even mention coal as an important energy sector is unbelievable to me,” he added.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), another advocate of coal-fired power, piled on, claiming that the administration has a “deep-seated hatred for coal and the electricity generated by coal.”
Coal-fired power releases into the atmosphere high levels of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution, which scientists say contributes to climate change and has been shown to harm public health.
The administration has said it supports the expansion of coal for electricity generation if companies install technology to reduce emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency has imposed a number of new regulations aimed at reducing pollution from coal plants, and proposed first-ever national standards to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants in March.
The regulations deal a blow to foundering efforts to build more coal-fired power plants in the United States. Many plans to build new coal plants have been shelved as a result of competition from inexpensive natural gas — which is undergoing a production boom — and other factors.
The regulations would require new power plants that burn fossil fuels to release no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt‐hour.
The agency said new natural-gas plants will be able to meet the standard without adding any additional technology. But new coal plants would need to add new technology like carbon capture and storage (CCS), in which carbon dioxide emissions are collected and sequestered in the ground rather than released into the atmosphere.
But EPA has worked to ensure the rules aren't overly burdensome to the coal industry. Instead of meeting the standard on an annual basis, new coal plants that install CCS technology can use a 30-year average of their carbon dioxide emissions.