While the coal industry in the U.S. is working hard to promote coal to liquid fuel as the way towards energy independence, an article
in the International Herald Tribune points out the potential environmental impact of such a strategy. According to a National Coal Council report, America could produce 2.6 million barrels of diesel
per day if we invested $211 billion in coal-to-liquid refineries in the next 20 years. The mining required to reach this level of fuel production could destroy large areas of the country, while offering very few well-paying jobs. The coal-to-liquid process would also add significant greenhouse gas emissions. The author prefers the use of coal to produce electricity, which can then be used in plug-in hybrid
cars. The coal boosters seem less interested in this path, since it undercuts the industry's goal of becoming "the OPEC of coal". It seems the coal industry wants to replace the existing monopoly in supplies with a new monopoly of coal supplies.
[Source: International Herald Tribune]