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Although the coal industry has been criticized for the past several years due to their large contributions toward greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, the three leading coal producers are now focusing on more environmentally friendly methods. Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy, and Peabody Energy are giving themselves a public makeover by raising concerns about global warming and seeking new methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All three companies are aligning themselves with environmentalist movements and lobbying for government subsidiaries to aid in the cost of reducing the impact of burning coal. Currently, the coal companies are promoting a process that captures the carbon dioxide emitted from burning coal before the carbon dioxide becomes part of the atmosphere. Such a process is very expensive and still imperfect, but coal executives argue that, despite the recent gains in other natural energy sources, coal and fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy industry for at least several decades more. They also contend that their carbon-capturing process will allow us to continue burning coal and meeting our energy needs in the coming years while still reducing the impact of carbon on the environment. Personally, I am a huge proponent of clean, renewable energy from sources such as solar panels and windmills. However, I also recognize that the energy obtained from such sources is much less than what we are actually consuming. I’m glad the coal industry is lobbying for cleaner, more environmentally friendly methods for burning coal and sustaining our energy needs. On the other hand, it leads me to wonder if the coal industry is lobbying for such subsidiaries because they’re actually interested in the environment or because they’re simply trying to encourage their investors to pour money into the industry again. Whatever the case, we will probably hear soon whether the coal industry was approved to start using their carbon-capturing power plants.

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