I was disappointed to read the Post-Gazette's Aug. 6 editorial "Coal Barons: GOP Lawmakers Try to Turn Back the Hands of Time." While there is no question coal contributed to Pennsylvania's past, coal is a vital part of its future, too.
During Pennsylvania's industrial boom, environmental concerns certainly weren't of chief priority. But to assert, as the editorial board did, that the coal of today is in any way akin to the coal of generations past is simply fallacious.
The coal industry has invested tens of billions of dollars -- $110 billion to be exact -- to develop and deploy a wide range of clean coal technologies. These technologies have significantly reduced emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the coal industry's leadership is helping position America as a global clean energy leader.
I'm inclined to think these "antique" Pennsylvania lawmakers continue to advocate for coal because it is an important component of the state's energy mix, not because they are clinging to an antiquated resource, hoping to recreate the good old days. They recognize coal is an energy source of the future -- bolstered by the industry's investment in clean coal technology and coal's abundance, fueling nearly half of Pennsylvania's electricity and 40 percent of America's.
Coal provides millions of homes and businesses with affordable, reliable power. This, coupled with the advancements being made to reduce coal's environmental footprint, is why coal has endured for so many centuries and will continue to play an important role in America's energy future.
ROBERT M. "MIKE" DUNCAN
President and CEO
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity