Is coal gasification coming to the US?

Our nation has seen the dangers of coal mining and drilling for natural gas, but few of us have heard of coal gasification. That's because it's a highly dangerous process of creating synthetic natural gas, by setting coal on fire and injecting it with oxygen and water. And, if an Australian energy company has their way, Americans may become very familiar with this dangerous process.

Link Energy is just one step away from starting the first coal gasification project in our nation in Campbell County, Wyoming. To make matters worse, they want to try this treacherous process while the coal is still deep underground, and the project would take place near a major, regional aquifer. Despite all the risks, Link Energy touts the process as so-called “clean coal” technology, because it leaves underground the harmful gases typically emitted by regular coal burning.

However, environmental groups disagree, and argue that the process is largely untested, and it poses too great of a risk for our water supply. When our government conducted a coal gasification pilot test back in the 1970's, it led to groundwater contamination from benzene that took 23 years and more than $10 million dollars to clean up. The fact is, there's no such thing as clean coal, and there's no safe way to extract and use fossil fuels. Not only do we need to stop the current methods of mining and drilling for oil and gas, but we need to say “no way” to this new technology that could cause even bigger disasters.


ckrob's picture
ckrob 10 years 31 weeks ago

If we completely discontinued use of carbon fuels today, our global temperature would continue to rise. Temps would eventually plateau and after a time begin to decline. This is a best case scenario. We need good estimates for this scenario because continued use of any carbon fuels at all will extend rising temperatures. The hidden assumption is, of course, that we will not exceed the methane-hydrate release threshold before a temperature plateau. This threshold may have already been exceeded. Does the above make the case for actual alternative-energy action such as that seen in the Manhattan Project?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 31 weeks ago

As bad as this all sounds I say we all ignore it and focus our attention on Campaign Finance Reform and Move to Amend. Why? Because this issue, as well as all the other environmental, economic, and political issues that we face as a result of corporate profits out of control, is more a symptom of the real problem than anything we can actually do anything about before Campaign Finance Reform and Move to Amend is passed. That doesn't discount protesting, signing petitions and writing letters to our representative though. That is at best the least we can do. When we resolve our big money problems, everything else that troubles us should fall into place.

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 10 years 31 weeks ago

1) Carbon needs to safely remain below ground.

2) Carbon needs to be removed from the atmosphere.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 31 weeks ago

Talk about an environmental revolution. Check this out Kend. Canada just rolled out the world's first environmentally designed car made almost exclusively out of HEMP. Once again the progressive Canadians lead the way. Introducing the Motive Kestrel:

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 10 years 31 weeks ago

Maybe that's because Canada doesn't have a bunch of greedy American corporate meglomaniacs that are flunk-outs in "economics 101." When will they learn that nothing can be burned without causing pollution? They need to invest in clean power and stop nursing from the tit of oil and coal money. A lot of the rest of us have had to change careers many times in order to survive the tital waves of change, now it's their time to change careers. The exploitation of the planet must stop, we can't continue to endanger Earth.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 31 weeks ago

Marc, thank you for reminding us - yet again - of what has to come first: Campaign Finance Reform and Move to Amend. Without those things resolved, nothing else is possible. - Alice I.W.

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 31 weeks ago

DAnne, thanks that is interesting. Who knew based right here in my home town. Surrounded by oil company towers. I am not sure that they made it though. I can find anything recent about them. I will keep looking I love it when people take chances like this and try something new.

Johnnie, I hate to be the guy who brings you the bad news but Canada isnt any different, the university of Calgary has spent over 2 billion dollars on carbon capture research. They are trying to find a way to take it out of the stack and putting it back in the ground.

The Canadian government brings in over 200 million dollars a day in oil and gas royalties.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 31 weeks ago
Quote Kend:Johnnie, I hate to be the guy who brings you the bad news but Canada isnt any different, the university of Calgary has spent over 2 billion dollars on carbon capture research. They are trying to find a way to take it out of the stack and putting it back in the ground.

Kend ~ That sounds wonderful. If they perfect carbon capture technology that will be a big help to clean the air after we switch over from oil to HEMP. Every little bit helps. Kudos for Canada!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 30 weeks ago

Marc- Thank you so much for that link to all that wonderful Oakland graffiti! Makes me feel some pride in my old home town. The artwork is brilliant. It is really humbling to behold all the amazing talent lurking in the shadows of anonymity. - AIW

argo95540's picture
argo95540 10 years 30 weeks ago

We have to get ahead of this and start to take action now. Here is a petiton to start with.

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2 10 years 30 weeks ago

Unless I am mistaken, synthetic natural gas has been around for a while. Is this a new process? I ran into a few SNG (synthetic natural gas) plants in the 80's and 90's.

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