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war on coal

SEATTLE (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee says he’ll approve a bill allowing Washington state’s largest utility to set aside money for the eventual shutdown of two coal-fired electricity plants in Montana.

The Obama administration and friends appear to have declared war on coal energy. This does not seem to relate to coal’s fit in the overall energy production, consumption and environmental impacts. And it very definitely has a negative impact on Montana’s use of our natural resources … which is also jobs and our way of life here.

Modern coal mining and energy production is far cleaner than its reputation, and currently meets 34% of this country’s energy needs. Were one to want to reduce coal energy production, intelligent approaches would be to reduce consumption and increase production by alternative means.

It is foolish to attack coal head on. This is not just putting the cart before the horse, it is killing the horse while hoping for a better means of pulling the cart.
Meanwhile, 30% of our country’s energy comes from natural gas with sources including very questionable fracking technology.

20% of our power comes from nuclear generators whose environmental impacts are bad for water consumption, heating rivers, spent fuel disposal, and, when they fail, catastrophic environmental impacts. Need I remind you that Fukishima is still leaking huge radioactive waste loads into the Pacific Ocean?

Hydroelectric provides 7% of our juice. Each dam is a barrier to fish trying to reach the ocean, among other impacts. They are not easy to site, build and are likely not going to grow into major players in our lifetimes.

Wind generators have major environmental impacts in their production, kill thousands of birds, and never pay back their construction costs. Their only reason for existence is thanks to taxpayer subsidies covering over 90%. Meanwhile they produce 5% of our electricity, and that only when the wind blows across sites specially selected for high wind activity.

Solar is every environmentalist’s best friend. They meet 1% of our energy needs while mining and manufacturing costs make them barely break-even monetarily and questionable environmentally. There are huge technological advances likely in this area, but nothing worth betting on in the short run.

Attacking coal-fired power plants is political grandstanding with serious negative impacts on our energy costs and Montana jobs.