Like Al Franken, Joel and Ethan Coen grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. People say, wow, something in the water? Actually, yeah: coal pollution.
Coal could be personal for the Coens (who, like Franken, decamped to New York City but sometimes come back home for work). You might even say it’s in their blood. Coal trains rumble through St. Louis Park, and there’s a Superfund site where Reilly Tar & Chemical Corp. stood until 1972, offgassing polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – an acrid odor probably familiar to all three lads — and putting toxic pollutants into the groundwater.
“Clean coal” energy generation still produces harmful byproducts like carbon dioxide; likewise there are harmful byproducts created in the production of coal tar — a useful substance (it’s in dandruff shampoo) that’s itself a byproduct of converting coal to coke.
Franken has expressed general support for “clean coal,” but he questions the Mesaba Energy Project that his Senate-race rival Norm Coleman backs for Northern Minnesota. Last week, Franken told the Bemidji Pioneer (hat top Minnesota Brown):
The idea of coal gasification where you can sequester the CO2 is a technology that we ought to develop.