National Geographic : 1975 Mar
Two ways to look at coal. Both pretty accurate. Years ago we used coal almost everywhere. It was dirty. Hard to shovel. Expensive to transport. The ashes were a pain to get rid of. It burned with a choking, acrid smoke that clung over our cities. We solved coal's problems by turning to clean burning, easily handled oil and natural gas. Unfortunately, the world supply of those petroleum products is finite and running low. Some experts estimate our country has an eleven year supply of oil and natural gas reserves. We need to prepare for tomorrow by seeking alternatives. That means we have to reexamine the advantages of coal. Mainly that it's abundant. Accessible supplies could last for several hundred years at the cur rent rate of coal consumption. We've made progress in cleaning up coal smoke pollution. Surface mined lands are being reclaimed and replanted. Deep mines are being made safer, healthier and we're working to make them more efficient to assure growing sup plies of essential fuel. We can minimize coal's disadvan tages. We can, and should, use coal to stretch natural gas and petroleum resources. First by using coal to generate electric power wherever possible. Then by perfecting gasification and lique faction to produce clean burning, easily transportable petroleum substitutes. Caterpillar is interested in energy solutions involving coal because our machines are used in both mining and reclamation. And because responsible use and management of all our natural resources is vital to the long term, well-being of our nation. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. t CATERPILLAR Caterpullar. Catand0 areTrademarksof CaterpillarTractorCo.