I have not checked the facts in this opinion piece, but if Easterbrook is correct that much more effective and efficient coal burning technology currently exists and plants that would use it are not allowed to be built, that's foolish . Worse, if the reasons are those embraced by Sen. Reid he is plain wrong and guilty of pandering to extreme environmentalists.
"FutureGen [blog note: a carbon-free coal burning research project (boondoggle?)] is politically appealing: contractors get subsidies, politicians get to hand out money in their districts and astonishing breakthroughs are promised at unspecified future dates. Why aren’t progressives fighting for an immediate embrace of gasification power? Much of the environmental movement clings to a fairyland notion that coal combustion can soon be eliminated, and therefore no coal-fired power plant of any kind, even an advanced plant, should be built.
Reflecting this mindset, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he opposes integrated gasification plants — only new solar, wind and geothermal facilities should be allowed. Environmentalists who correctly point out there can never be absolutely “clean coal” thus end up in the position of opposing coal that’s far cleaner than what we are using."