Actually, coal CANNOT be scrubbed of its toxic byproducts, now or any time in the near future.
Nuclear energy has many problems and is massively massively expensive to build and maintain and dispose of, among other things.
Some people are suggesting smaller localized energy grids, rather than the massive centralized system we currently use. Solar and wind power operated by local municipalities rather than some giant energy corporation.
As peak oil approaches and global warming descends, this kind of thing needs to start happening. How about a few windmills up on Mt. Beacon next to the cell towers? There is still a small hydro-electric plant on Fishkill Creek at Groveville.
If, knowing what we now know, we don't start planning for a different future, when do we start? The next time the waterfront comes up for redevelopment? When 9D looks like route 9 in Wappingers? After all the ice in the arctic is gone? If we took the money we're pouring into "nation building" elsewhere and started taking care of nation building right here, in a meaningful way, we'd be in a lot better shape overall.