US would blackout without coal |

US would blackout without coal

Editorial Board

Corrie Ponikvar - Community representative (absent)

Bonnie Hulstine - Community representative

Renee Campbell - Newspaper representative

Noelle Leavitt Riley - Newspaper representative

Amy Fontenot - Newspaper representative (absent)

The looming ruling against Colowyo and the Office of Surface Mining is difficult for many in Moffat County to understand.

A lawsuit filed by environmental advocacy group WildEarth Guardians has sent the Northwest Colorado community into a frenzy, and what’s most concerning is we don’t think most people understand how our coal mines and power plants operate.

Those who live on the Front Range seem to think we live in filthy conditions, with nasty coal ash covering our cars, our homes and our streets. Most of those against coal fired power plants have never been to Northwest Colorado, have never toured our coal mines and have absolutely no concept of what low sulfur and lower BTU coal means.

It means it’s cleaner coal than what’s harvested in the east and much, much cleaner than what’s being burned in foreign countries such as China and India.

There’s also an arrogance from environmentalists and the Front Range community that our nation can live without coal fired power plants and that we should switch to renewables only.

We can’t — plain and simple. Well, actually we could if America is prepared to endure long periods of blackouts when electricity is not available to power a city.

Imagine what would happen to New York City in a blackout. No subway system, no lights, no business operation, and no — God forbid — Internet. No cellphones, no iPads, no tablets. No way to communicate with your family.

And what about airports? Airplanes wouldn’t be able to operate if they couldn’t communicate with the control tower.

The United States would fall apart. It could be the beginning of World War III.

Let’s break down the energy producing statistics.

According to the Independent Statistics and Analysis Energy Information Administration, here’s how the nation’s electricity was generated in 2014:

■ Coal: 38 percent

■ Natural gas: 27 percent

■ Nuclear: 19 percent

■ Hydropower: 6 percent

■ Other renewables: 7 percent, including

— Biomass: 1.7 percent

— Geothermal: 0.4 percent

— Solar: 0.4 percent

— Wind: 4.4 percent

— Other gases: 1 percent

So let’s take the 38 percent of coal production out of the mix. Where’s the energy going to come from?

It’s not. Therefore, we’re left with nothing but periods of darkness.

Perhaps we should all get into the candle business, because once WildEarth Guardians shut down all the power plants in the U.S., Americans will have to stock up on candles. That’s how we’ll light our homes during the blackout periods.

Yes, we’re being sarcastic about a serious topic, but we’re just not sure how to reach those who don’t understand our coal.

Colowyo Coal Mine and Trapper use mechanisms to keep dust down at the mines. They have intense reclamation processes. They are not here to destroy the earth. They’re here to keep the lights on.

Help support our coal mines and power plant at two important upcoming meetings:

■ On Wednesday, Tri-State will host a community meeting for Moffat and Rio Blanco counties from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Moffat County High School Auditorium.

■ On June 10, OSM will host a public “open house” style outreach meeting that will include displays and handouts that will outline the status of the compliance process. It will be from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

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