Bailout Package Incentivizes Dirty Fuels

The $700 billion economic bailout package signed into law last Friday
did more than aid Wall Street and the renewable energy industry. It
also increased incentives for dirty, fossil-fuel initiatives,
continuing a one-step-forward-one-step-back approach to U.S. energy
policy.

In addition to extending tax credits for the renewable energy industry,
the bailout package also expands a tax credit to refinery property that
is used
to directly convert oil shale and tar sands into liquid transportation
fuels. The extraction, refining and combustion of oil from shale is
likely to generate more than 50% more greenhouse gasses than
conventional fuels and would be mined from wildlands in the Rocky
Mountain West.

The bill also extends production credits for coal gasification
plants and includes the end product, aviation fuel, in the alternative
fuel category.

Converting solid coal into a liquid transportation fuel, an industry
that does not currently exist in the United States, could nearly double
the global warming effects of the fuel and increase air and water
pollution associated with coal mining, according to some scientific
estimates, the New York Times reports.

Relying
on liquid coal could nearly double the global warming pollution per
gallon of transportation fuels and increase the damage of coal mining
to communities and ecosystems across the country. This fuel has yet to
emerge as a significant transportation fuel in the United States and is
not a viable fuel in a world where carbon must be reduced.

The plans to store carbon
emissions underground will require billions more in additional taxpayer
subsidies to be developed, have never been proven at a commercial
scale, and won’t be online for nearly decade–long after the window to
act on global warming has closed, according to scientists.

"In the wee hours of the night, a bailout originally intended to
rescue us from the credit crisis now contains billions in subsidies for
oil shale, liquid coal, and unproven schemes to store carbon dioxide
from coal and oil," Greenpeace USA Executive Director John Passacantando said in a statement.

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