We can all be very grateful to the Post-Gazette's editorial board for raising the really significant issues concerning coal mining in their Aug. 6 comments ("Coal Barons: GOP Lawmakers Try to Turn Back the Hands of Time").
Pittsburgh's air quality, though improving, is still among the worst in the United States: the American Lung Association still ranks our city as among the top 25 most polluted by ozone smog and by soot (post-gazette.com, April 24). We were ranked seventh in short-term particle pollution, eighth in year-round particle pollution and 24th among the ozone-polluted. This is not healthy for us.
In addition, coal mining is still one of the nation's extremely dangerous occupations: We all remember and mourn the 29 miners who died in April 2010 in the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., and the 12 people who died in January 2006 in the Sago mine disaster in Tallmansville, W.Va. And the list goes on, in all the coal mining regions of the United States.
Our much more livable city is attracting new and vibrant businesses, not only in the medical profession but also in such areas as technology and marketing. Air quality and a healthy environment are important to these businesses, and we would lose too many of them if Pittsburgh were to stop moving forward and go back to being "hell with the lid off."
As a community, it is crucial that we now move forward in developing "green" energy sources, including such sources as geothermal, solar and wind, so that, as the Post-Gazette editorial noted, "this time everyone will breathe easier."