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U.S. coal energy is not the problem

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I noticed a letter from a frequent contributor, which dealt with energy and sources thereof. I would like to comment on his apparent problem with the current methods of electrical generation. Solar, wind, hydro and thermal are available, but not in the quantity and not at the location needed to offset proven generation derived from coal. And not at a cost which is competitive with coal generation.

Moreover, in this economy, when we are looking for ways to improve the economy and to create jobs, that means keeping the costs we can control low. For a lot of employers energy is a major cost. Environmental concerns should be considered as well as reliability. More than anything else, we want the power to be there when we flip the switch. It’s more than just comfort — public safety, health care, transportation, clean water and even electric cars need affordable and reliable energy.

To keep this balance, coal must be part of the mix. No resource is more abundant than coal. It is cheap and available 24-7. You don’t have to worry about whether the wind is blowing, the sun is out, the crops are healthy or the dam levels are high — your coal plants are operating every day.

Companies have put billions of dollars into technology that reduces carbon, captures mercury and prevents pollutants from entering the atmosphere. We can debate about climate change all we want, but one thing is certain, U.S. coal energy is not the problem.

Utility companies have stepped up and their coal plants are reducing emissions and increasing efficiency in order to balance reliability, cost and environmental concerns.

Don Drusch

Bemidji

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