Throwing away half a billion dollars on alternative energy projects such as the failed Solyndra solar power company in California doesn't seem to faze President Barack Obama's administration. But providing a like amount to conduct research on coal and other fossil fuels? Not acceptable to the White House.
Obama seems determined to squeeze the life out of the coal industry in a sort of Catch-22: Enforce draconian new air pollution rules, then cut funding for research to find ways to burn coal more cleanly.
During the 2011 fiscal year, Congress provided $586 million for fossil energy projects. Obama wants to slash that to $452.9 million - 25 percent reduction. Meanwhile, the president wants billions of dollars for unrealistic solar, wind power and other alternatives that are not really options.
Americans still rely on coal for nearly half the electricity we consume. Even with vast new resources of natural gas becoming available, coal will have to remain a mainstay for many years to come.
Yet Obama and liberals in Congress, who want to reduce fossil fuel research even more than the White House plan, seem determined to make that impossible. Virtually every American would pay dearly and some state economies would collapse if they are successful.
If anything, more federal funds should be devoted to fossil fuel research. Congress should reject Obama's attempt to strangle the industry.