Coal’s got a bad rap. The chunky black rock conjures images of smoke stacks bellowing noxious fumes into the atmosphere. Corn-based ethanol, though, has some very green connotations. Interesting then that recent studies suggest the bio-fuel is more trouble than it’s worth. As a recent Time article pointed out, clearing entire forests to make way for cornfields does more to accelerate global warming than the alternative fuel does to curb it.
Arch Coal CEO Steven Leer, speaking to Cramer via satellite for Wednesday’s show, offered another argument against ethanol: The entire state of Ohio would have to be planted with corn to match the energy he gets from just one of his one-square-mile mines in Wyoming.
And Arch’s coal is “very naturally low in sulfur,” the CEO said, “so it is a cleaner-burning coal,” possibly making it a viable alternative to the alternative ethanol was supposed to be.
Cramer raised the issue of whether the Democrats, a party unfriendly to coal, would pose a threat to Arch’s business should they take the White House in November, but Leer answered with an emphatic no. “It would be impossible for the U.S. to stop using coal – or the world to stop using coal,” he said, especially with such high demand from China.
Arch Coal’s a buy, Cramer said. “I think that you’re the way out for energy independence,” he told Leer.
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