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E-M:/ MT economist: "clean coal is simply a fantasy

Below are the final paragraphs of an opinion piece that could have been written for Michigan on why it makes no sense to build new coal plants, but it is written by an economist in a state that actually mines coal as well -- if it makes no economic or other sense there, how on earth could it make sense here??  AW


Why Was the Highwood Coal Plant Abandoned?

By Thomas M. Power, Guest Writer, 2-22-09


Those in the legislature who want to reduce the public oversight of the potential impacts of burning coal on our air, water, land and climate are clearly on the wrong track. At this point in time, “clean coal” is simply a fantasy. Coal is dirty in its production whether using mountain top removal or strip mining. Coal is dirty when it is burned, not only threatening climate stability but also pumping out mercury, sulfur oxides, and fine particulates that threaten our health. Other waste products from the combustion of coal are also toxic as show by the pollution of ground water and household wells in Colstrip, Montana, and the release of a billion gallons of toxic fly ash slurry at a TVA plant in Tennessee.

Rather than trying to fix the very real problems that are leading Americans, including American businesses, to turn away from coal, Republican leaders simply want to force Montanans to suffer the environmental consequences associated with dirty coal while also forcing Montanans to carry the economic burdens of that increasingly expensive energy source.

Dr. Tom Power is a research professor and former chair of the Economics Department at the University of Montana.




Anne M. Woiwode, State Director

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter - 109 E. Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906  - 517-484-2372    anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org   http://michigan.sierraclub.org/index.shtml


Support the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter - contact Wendi Tilden at wendi.tilden@sierraclub.org


The bold steps that are needed to solve the climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis - Al Gore