Compromise sought between energy, environmental needs

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To the Editor:

Being a retiree, rising energy costs directly impact me, and I find it essential to stay informed on energy-related information. For years we've known that having access to affordable, reliable electricity from coal is important to Colorado's economy. But until recently, we just didn't know how important.

A new study conducted by researchers at Penn State University looked at both the direct and indirect economic advantages of using domestic coal reserves to generate electricity. The economic advantages associated with the mining of coal in Colorado are well known to most people, but more surprising is the benefit the state's economy realizes from having access to low-cost electricity generated using coal.

By relying upon energy forecasts provided by the federal government and other energy experts, the researchers at Penn State have provided a greater understanding of how coal-based electricity empowers Colorado's economy. Their study shows that access to affordable electricity generated using coal will be responsible for as much as $9.2 billion in increased household income and 277,000 Colorado jobs in the year 2010. That's more high-paying jobs in the state and more money in the pockets of Colorado families.

But Colorado's economic advantage could be put at risk if environmental regulations aimed at reducing the use of American coal for producing electricity are enacted. Colorado's working families don't have to choose between affordable, reliable electricity and a clean environment.

Thanks to the abundance of coal and the technology to use it cleanly, we can have both.

Howard W. Earnest,

Rifle, Colo.

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