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Front Page » December 18, 2007 » Opinion » Editor's notes
Published 2,501 days ago

Editor's notes


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

There are so many conflicts and controversies lately over coal fired power plants and the use of coal to produce electricity. We have been told by 2012 there will be severe shortages of electricity because not enough is being done now to open up new sources of power for the future. We are in danger in four short years, of being out in the dark. Where will this new electricity come from, apparently not from coal. This worries me and disturbs me. Coal has been a source of heat for thousands of years, and now it's just not good enough any more?

There are technologies being developed which burn coal at a higher temperature which reduces emissions. What's wrong with exploring that a little more fully. So, California doesn't want electricity produced by coal fired power plants. Well, fine, then you don't use our electricity produced by coal fired plants and you can sit and roast when the power goes out and we'll be here in Emery County using coal fired electricity and we will have the air conditioner running.

There are so many things I don't understand. I admit I am a hick and am happy about it, but, wait a minute. Here we sit in Emery County. There are two coal fired units in Huntington Canyon. Three units at the Hunter Plant near Castle Dale. Two units I think, 30 miles away in Helper. With all this horrible coal fired madness going on, how do you explain our clean skies here. When I have the misfortune to travel north I don't see any coal fired plants there. The nearest one to the Wasatch Front, and I'm just guessing would be the Helper plant or maybe the units at Bridger in Wyoming, or maybe Bonanza near Vernal. So, please tell my small brain, where is all this pollution coming from? Could it be and maybe California has a bit of this problem, too. Is it coming from the cars we drive?

They don't have any coal fired power plants in Salt Lake, we don't have as many cars as they do. Is there a connection?

I'm just wondering. I feel good about the Emery County air. Very rarely do we ever deal with an inversion. If you listen to the news up there in the Wasatch Front they take inversion to a new level. I have been to Wyoming several times, mainly to Fort Bridger, and their skies there are just as clear and nice as here in our county.

So, why are they always pointing fingers at coal fired generation. What can be done to get people out of their cars and onto public transportation? I don't get up there much, but they say the buses run around mostly empty. So people take their cars, even though they are polluting the air? Why? Because their cars are more convenient.

Convenience you say? Is convenience important? Well, probably not. Isn't coal convenient? Don't we have a lot of it still buried in our mountains? So if convenience isn't important then why can't all those valley dwellers take public transportation. It would clean up their air, relieve congestion on the highways and it will be better for everyone all around, right?

I'm a little sad that Rocky Mountain Power as it operates in Utah says they will be going green. It seems to me they are tired of all the pains involved with coal fired generation. So the dream Emery County has had for several years of a Hunter Unit # Four has gone by the wayside. Rocky Mountain Power seems to be turning it's back on coal, coal has become such a dirty word. Maybe they are not nearly as green as they sound.

Maybe they are positioning themselves to "shock" the governor and the residents back into reality. If they go ahead and build these new gas fired generators, you will see electricity bills go up by as much as double, maybe more. The process will be: they will announce the new gas fired plants, they will go in for rate increases to pay for them, they then hope the residents of Utah will put pressure on the governor to keep the rates down, hopefully, he will then back down on coal. Maybe, maybe not, just a theory.

The environmentalists are winning. They have given UtahAmerican Energy nothing but grief over the opening of the Lila Canyon mine. It has been in the permitting process for more than 10 years now, with SUWA appealing all along the way. I am surprised UtahAmerican Energy hasn't given up. I don't think I could have hung in there that long with all the trials they have been through trying to create jobs for our area. I have to believe humans are just as important as that soil they keep talking about.

The environmentalists probably drive cars, they probably live in houses which were built with trees that had to be cut down. SUWA gathers each fall in the Hidden Splendor area. How do they get there? Well, they probably don't park in Green River and walk in. We all add to the problem of pollution. We can all do our part. Don't get me wrong. I believe we need to take care of our environment, but I believe we need to be realistic in doing so. Why point the blame all in one direction? Is it because coal is a scapegoat? There are many other pollution producers, not just coal.

I've never figured out where environmentalists get the gas for their cars. Doesn't it come from the oil which was produced in the Middle East. Why do they keep driving if it is such a drama for us to keep buying oil from these countries?

I am so filled with confusion, today, even our governor has hopped aboard the green train. There he is making commercials with Arnold. Doesn't this mean he is thumbing his nose at coal? Are we just supposed to slip quietly away into oblivion down here? Are we in the process of becoming ghost towns? My brother works in the control room at Hunter II, my husband hauls coal, I throw coal into the fireplace because nothing is as warm as a coal fire on a dark Emery County night and it may get darker than we want, sooner than we think. Goodbye, coal.


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December 18, 2007
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