Multiple reports published by engineering firms and groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists demonstrated that this Colorado plant would still pollute too much and would cost consumers too much if regulators and the utility chose to keep the plant running past its prime.
Concerns about health dangers associated with coal-fired power plants are not just for Colorado. We should be concerned in Oklahoma, too. This state has six coal-fired power plants, all of which will need to comply with federal safeguards.
Rather than “throwing more good money after bad” like Colorado Springs did, we need to consider the benefits of retiring and replacing the older and dirtier coal plants with cleaner energy to benefit our local economy.
Scrubbers can reduce emissions, but they can’t eliminate them entirely. Furthermore, there are threats to our air and water associated with the entire life cycle of coal, from the mining to the burning to the disposal of the waste.
Rixmann can continue to focus on the past, but Oklahoma shouldn’t. Coal has not been the best option for powering our state, or the nation, for a long time. Let’s focus on our homegrown resources that promote clean air and a prosperous economy.
—Jody Harlan, Yukon
Harlan is chapter chair of Sierra Club Oklahoma.