>Coal is too dirty for America to continue consuming at the current rate, yet too plentiful to ignore. Yesterday I explored whether natural gas could serve as a stand-in. Another potential solution, as every coal-state resident can explain, is the paradoxically named "clean coal." If coal plants trapped or converted the carbon dioxide they would normally spew into the atmosphere, coal could become an environmentally viable option.
Debate rages over the technological feasibility and actual cleanliness of this scheme, but the Obama administration has signaled its commitment to exploring the option. Steven Chu, the Secretary of Energy, has called for widespread, affordable deployment of carbon sequestration technology within the next decade. And the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman climate bill, to be unveiled on Monday, is rumored to contain incentives for this technology.
States, too, are preparing for an age of carbon sequestration. New Mexico is currently weighing a bill to clear up ownership rights for space beneath residents' land, a measure already taken by Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota. One method of carbon sequestration involves pumping the gas underground, so these states are predicting a new kind of real estate boom.