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Readers Respond

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Letters to the Pilot

Kill the coal, Culver

From Ed Fallon/

Former candidate for Iowa Governor

Yesterday, a group of leading Iowa environmentalists met with Chet Culver's staff to ask the Governor to help stop a proposed coal-fired plant in Waterloo. This request should be an easy one for the Governor, especially given a statement he made two months ago when he signed legislation establishing the Climate Change Advisory Council:

"Global warming is a real danger that threatens our very way of life, and it is our responsibility to take any and all steps that we can to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and hope to curb global warming." (Governor Culver, April 27, 2007)

Well, "any and all steps" should certainly include opposition to new coal-fired power plants. In Waterloo, a New Jersey company has proposed a 750-megawatt plant. Couple that with the 600-megawatt plant proposed for Marshalltown and carbon emissions in Iowa will increase by the equivalent of two million cars per year, not to mention the mercury that will end up in Iowa's streams and rivers.

For many years, scientists, environmentalists and forward-thinking policymakers have known that burning coal pollutes our air and water and is a serious threat to human health. The evidence is now conclusive that coal is also a major contributor to global warming. And despite what some industrial apologists want us to believe, there is no such thing as "clean" coal (Union of Concerned Scientists website: www.ucsusa.org).

The political mainstream is starting to wake up. Most Democratic presidential candidates are speaking out. Some agree with the scientific community on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. Some speak about energy conservation and efficiency, and at least one has spoken out specifically against burning coal.

Culver has yet to weigh-in on new coal-fired power plants. The renewable-fuels focus of his Iowa Power Fund would suggest opposition to burning more coal.

Share your concerns with our leaders!