Coal and its pollution must be left behind

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When a company wants to get something, it invokes the holy word "jobs." When it doesn't want to pay taxes, a company will threaten to shave jobs; politicians shake in fear. In Keith Bartley's Dec. 2 letter, "Coal Regulations Are Killing Jobs," he threatened that 145 miners would lose their jobs because the Environmental Protection Agency is finally putting pressure on them to do their job correctly.

I'm looking at this in another way. It takes about 150 coal miners to produce enough coal to run a 500 megawatt power plant. That plant, according to the Clean Energy Report of the Union of Concerned Scientists, will add to the environment 3.7 million tons of CO2, 10 thousand tons of sulfur dioxide, 10.2 thousand tons of nitrogen oxide, 500 tons of small particles, 220 tons of hydrocarbons, 720 tons of carbon monoxide, 125 thousand tons of ash, 193 thousand tons of sludge from the scrubber, 225 pounds of arsenic, 114 pounds of lead and four pounds of cadmium.

This plant will also consume 2.2 billion gallons of water and 146 thousand tons of limestone annually. All of this pollution from just 150 miners and one small plant.

The time has come and gone for the use of coal. Our planet has no more wriggle room for politicians and corporate executives to play footsie while Rome burns. It's time to realize that money is the most addictive drug in a capitalist society and unrestrained use of that drug will kill this country.

TOM TOMKINS
Bethel Park


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