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Coal: Dirty Past, Hazy Future

A five-part series from the Environment Report on the future of coal in this country. Lester Graham, Shawn Allee, and Matt Sepic break down a debate taking place over the public airwaves and in the public policy arena. Can coal be a viable option in the new green economy? Support for this series comes from the Joyce Foundation.

THE REALITY OF CLEAN COAL
1) THE REALITY OF CLEAN COAL

You are being targeted by lobbyists. The coal industry and environmentalists are both trying to influence what you think. In the first part of our series on the future of coal, Lester Graham looks at the campaigns for-and-against coal.

FEDS INVEST IN CLEANING UP COAL
2) FEDS INVEST IN CLEANING UP COAL

The coal industry got hit with expensive pollution restrictions almost two decades ago. Now, the government's considering putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. Coal companies think they have a technological solution in a test project called FutureGen. In the second part of our series on the future of coal, Shawn Allee looks at why they have such high hopes for it.

THE COSTS OF CARBON CAPTURE
3) THE COSTS OF CARBON CAPTURE

Coal has a reputation as a sooty, dirty fuel. More recently, environmentalists and the coal industry alike have become just as worried about the carbon dioxide released when coal is burned. In the third part of our series on the future of coal, Matt Sepic has this look at the science behind so-called "clean coal."

CAP AND TRADE AND YOUR POCKET BOOK
4) CAP AND TRADE AND YOUR POCKET BOOK

President Obama wants the U.S. to reduce the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming. Congress is considering a carbon cap-and-trade program. Lester Graham reports on what that will mean to coal-burning industries and your power bill.

OLD COAL BURNING POWER PLANTS
5) OLD COAL BURNING POWER PLANTS

Carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming are driving power companies to a decision. They can move away from burning coal altogether or they can work on technology to eliminate their CO2 emissions someday. While they're making that decision, some of the nation's oldest, dirtiest coal-burning power plants still run. In the final part of our series on the future of coal, Shawn Allee looks at why they billow dangerous air pollution -- stuff most people think we cleaned up long ago

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