Liquid Coal Fact Sheet

Liquid coal is not the answerCoal liquification is the process of converting solid coal into a liquid fuel that can power cars and other vehicles.  Liquid coal is a dirty and costly fuel, but coal companies want taxpayers to subsidize its production.  This is a bad idea that is strongly opposed by the environmental community.

Liquid coal will require more dangerous and dirty coal mining

Coal mining could be expected to increase dramatically if liquid coal use becomes widespread, causing significant environmental degradation and human heath risks.   Coal mining is infamous for its danger to workers, who are at high risk of death and injury, and hazardous and acidic waste from coal mines contaminates groundwater, posing health risks to nearby communities.

Mining also harms the environment.  Mountaintop coal mining in particular is extraordinarily environmentally damaging—this process first clear cuts mountain forests and then uses dynamite to remove up to 1.000 feet off of mountaintops, which are literally blown into pieces and dumped into surrounding valleys and streams.  Also, strip mining, another way to extract coal, causes massive deforestation and emits pollution.

Global warming emissions double with liquid coal

Although liquid coal is sulfur-free, it is not "clean." Coal contains twice the amount of carbon per unit of energy compared to natural gas and 20 percent more than petroleum. The greenhouse gas emissions from liquid coal plants are greater than those from crude oil refineries, but even if the carbon released in liquid coal production were sequestered, liquid coal would still result in almost 10 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.

Because such sequestration is not currently technologically feasible, liquid coal has nearly twice the global warming carbon dioxide emissions of regular gasoline. The gasoline that powers most vehicles today is already far too dirty and results in roughly a third of U.S. global warming emissions.

Economic costs

In addition to the substantial economic costs that would come from the environmental destruction and pollution inherent to liquid coal use and production, the industry is not viable in the market economy and appears likely to rely for years on taxpayer-funded subsidies.  Coal companies already have substantial profits, and if they want to produce a dirty, costly new form of fuel, taxpayers should not be stuck with the bill.

Heard enough?

If you agree that switching to liquid coal would be like bailing water into a sinking ship, then don’t let the U.S. subsidize the process: Stop the Liquid Coal Push