September 20, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Bravo for your excellent series on the causes and costs of ocean acidification. [“Sea Change,” page one, Sept. 15-17.]
It is a tragedy of unimaginable scope. The carbon dioxide responsible for this disaster is created by transportation and power plants that use fossil fuels. Coal is the dirtiest of those fuels.
Why then is Puget Sound Energy (PSE) proposing to continue generating 30 percent of its electricity from coal? The majority of this coal power comes from an aging plant in Colstrip, Mont. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers this plant one of the single largest sources of greenhouse gas west of the Mississippi.
To justify continued coal use, PSE argues that coal will be the cheapest fuel source in the coming years. This cost estimate does not reflect the true cost of coal. It does not include costs for plant repairs, new EPA standards for coal or possible lawsuits for fouling surrounding land and water. It does not include public-health costs. Nor does it include acidification of the oceans or destruction of habitat and multimillion-dollar seafood industries.
It is time for PSE to do the right thing and shift funding from coal to building more renewable sources of energy that will grow a clean-energy economy in Washington state.
Ellen Lockert, Bainbridge Island
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