Regarding "Coal Barons" (Aug. 6 editorial): U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy isn't the only one who would like to see Pennsylvania block out the sun with coal pollution. U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, along with the majority of Pennsylvania's Legislature, is attempting to bog down Congress with his own impassable, symbolic legislation that would only serve to endanger public health by placing the Environmental Protection Agency at the whim of "coal barons."
Mr. Shuster is blaming the EPA for the closing of the Hatfield's Ferry and Mitchell coal-burning power plants. Even Hatfield's union president blames the company and not the EPA for the decision to close these two plants. He has publicly stated that he believes First Energy is "doing this now with Hatfield to artificially inflate the cost of electricity." Coal-burning power plants are major producers of toxic air pollution and greenhouse gases. Older plants need to invest in new technology to lower their emissions and protect public health. Many have done so.
What Rep. Shuster fails to acknowledge is that the biggest threat to coal is not environmental regulation but abundant under-regulated cheap natural gas. If Rep. Shuster really wants to get involved in helping America develop an energy policy that creates American jobs, protects public health, reduces health care costs and enhances energy security, he will put his efforts toward supporting policies and programs that promote energy efficiency and alternative energy. Instead, Mr. Shuster proposes to have a dysfunctional Congress, heavily lobbied by the coal and gas industry, block the EPA's attempts to protect public health.
JOSEPH OTIS MINOTT
Clean Air Council