Letter: EPA’s war on coal comes to Colo. | PostIndependent.com

Letter: EPA’s war on coal comes to Colo.

The EPA brought its war on coal to Colorado earlier this month. At a stop in Denver as part of a tour gathering input for their proposed carbon standards, the EPA reportedly heard from many northwest Colorado residents about what needless regulatory assaults on coal mean for the average person.

What it means, of course, is lost jobs, bills unpaid, small businesses shuttered, and a bleak future for the communities that dot this region. It also means higher electricity prices, at a time when everyone is just trying to make ends meet.

Opponents of the coal industry like to state that coal plants are responsible for 40 percent of the carbon generation in this country — what they fail to point out, however, is that number represents only about 4 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. I know I’m not comfortable destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of my fellow citizens, and jacking up the electricity rates on the rest, for 4 percent of the planet’s carbon dioxide.

What is going to replace that coal? We don’t have a major hydro-power capability like Washington state does. Natural gas produces a great amount of our electricity, but it cannot absorb the rest overnight. We have no nuclear power plants. Solar and wind are fine for individual, small scale use, but because they are intermittent and require expensive backup generation, they contribute less than 5 percent of American electrical generation, and are unlikely to ever be able to produce enough to replace coal generation.

The EPA needs to look at facts, not baseless, emotional anecdotes, or misplaced ideology, when it comes to regulating power plants. Northwest Colorado has some of the naturally cleanest coal anywhere, and many decades worth of supply, along with tremendous natural gas resources. We are already reeling in this area from attacks on our industries from all sides; the last thing we need is for the EPA to fire another, possibly fatal shot at our bow, especially for no empirically defensible reason.

Carrie Couey


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