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In the early 1960s in South Africa my parents moved to Evander, a mining town in sight of Sasol where coal was turned into petrol or gas as we term it in the Untied States. The plant was built in response to international sanctions over apartheid. If I recall correctly, Fluor designed and built the plant. So it should not take Congressional hearings to establish that the technology exists. We all know that the United States has plenty of coal–last time I wrote about the issue, I quoted a talk at the SME meeting in Denver where somebody said at least 200 years worth.
But it may well take Congresional action to bring sanity to the mining that will be required to provide the coal. I refer to recent reports on fights about valley fills at coal mines. Everybody wants their car, but nobody wants topographic change to make the car possible. Consider the civil war that will be needed to tear up the landscape of the west to get the coal required to move all those SUVs around California and keep the lights on in the Las Vegas casinos.
Three news items about interfering politician, and they are all doing it for personal benefit, not societal improvement:
- Alberta oil sands could be nationaized if the industry fails to curb emissions.
- Zimbabwe gold production falls to new lows as miners are not paid.
- Bush’s budget seeks $2.7 billion for energy research.
Actually this third item is probaby good news for the mining industry. The proposed U.S. budget calls for accelerated research into power generation based on coal, nuclear energy, and renewable resources. Read the rest of this entry »
Tim Vanderheide is a student at the University of British Columbia. He writes occasionally for TechnoMine. Here is new piece that I liked and so post. It is fresh, provocative, Canadian, and the voice of the young who will be in charge when we are distant echoes.