Let's find all the coal, say mining experts

U.S. government asked to do more research on coal.

American coal experts want more information. And they want the U.S. government to pay for it. Today the National Research Council issued a call for more federal money to find and assess America's coal deposits.

Currently over half of the U.S. electricity is generated by burning coal. But there is uncertainty about future use and availability of coal. And there is the issue of CO2 emissions and other pollution from coal-burning power plants. Plus the U.S. must now compete with China and other nations for use of the world's coal.

In short, says the Council's statement, "federal policymakers need accurate estimates of the amount, location and quality of mineable coal...mitigating dangers from explosions and fires should also be a research priority, as should improving mine ventilation..." There is a real question about the oft-quoted saw that the U.S. has enough coal for 250 years. Truthiness perhaps, but perhaps not the truth, says the Council.

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    Harry Fuller escaped from television work to be executive editor at CNET News.com.

     

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