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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 9, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Gregoire’s climate column and coal deal

Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times

Centralia’s coal-fired power plant will continue to operated under a tentative pact beween the state and a Canadian company.

Deal is an embarrassment

Editor, The Times:

It was the height of irony that the same issue of The Times that contained Gov. Chris Gregoire’s opinion piece, “Positioning Washington for climate leadership,” [April 7] also revealed a secret deal between her administration and the owners of the Centralia coal-fired power plant, which is “the state’s biggest single source of greenhouse gases.”

Isn’t it embarrassing that an environmental-law expert is quoted in the article [“State’s secret deal sparks outcry,” NW Tuesday, April 7] as saying,”I think the state got snookered”?

Is this another example of regulators being so spineless when confronted with corporate lobbyists that they forget their duty to protect the citizenry?

We should be asking ourselves not how much pollution we should allow Washington’s only coal-powered plant to emit, but how can we act to shut this plant down? We don’t need the small amount of power it produces, especially if a program to retrofit residential insulation is aggressively pursued.

Are the short-term profits of private investors more important than protecting the public from the floods and fires that stem from climate change?

— David C. Yao, Seattle

Turn talk into action

While the governor writes environmental happy-talk columns, behind closed doors she secretly negotiates deals to allow the Centralia coal-fired power plant to continue to pollute.

Let’s can the happy talk and get real here. Leading climate scientist James Hansen points out that all oil and natural gas will ultimately be consumed because those fuels are so valuable and so overwhelmingly come from countries that have no desire to stop polluting.

Leading climate scientist Susan Solomon points out that CO2 emissions are cumulative and climate change is irreversible for many millennia — the damage we do today by consuming fossil fuels is irreversible. But if we can’t control oil and we can’t control natural gas, what can we control?

We, the citizens of Washington state, can control when we decide to stop burning coal to create the electricity to light the incandescent light bulbs and electric baseboard heaters

that needlessly waste this dirty electricity.

Only when we decide to pull the plug on coal will we actually begin to stop climate change. Everything else is just happy talk.

— James Adcock, Bellevue

Comments | More in Carbon emissions, Environment

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