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Letter: 'Not a big fan of coal' - however...

       I'm not a big fan of coal. To me, "clean coal" is a hybrid between an oxymoron and a Big Lie. And yet, I also hope the Drake power plant is up and running again as soon as possible. This is partly because I don't like the prospect of higher electric bills - and for all I know, there may be yet more additional costs if Utilities is forced to cancel existing coal contracts.
       But it is also because the campaign to shut down Drake - the "war on coal," etc. - reminds me of the maxim: "The perfect is the enemy of the good." And I just don't think the present alternatives to a coal-fired power plant are superior enough to justify the difference in cost. This applies not only to the alternatives mentioned in the Westside Pioneer Editor's Desk column (“Current Drake closure offers glimpse of costly electric future,” posted May 19), but to another which could actually be built on the present Drake site and produce electricity in wholesale quantity without burning fossil fuels. But I suspect there might be reasons other than cost that the prospect of a downtown nuclear power plant would be unpopular.
       But if the point of the exercise is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and help heal the environment, a much better place to start would be a major industry, prominent locally but in many other places also. This industry is actually based on encouraging as many people as possible, all over the planet, to burn huge quantities of fossil fuels unnecessarily. What is more, it has time and again been proven to be responsible for terrible damage to historical treasures, natural scenic wonders and whole ecosystems all around the world. It is fatuous to discuss marginally reducing the "carbon footprint" of our power plants, while at the same time heavily promoting this worldwide environmental scourge. I refer, of course, to tourism.

       Kurt Foster

(Posted 5/27/14; Opinion: Letters)

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