Our View: Debate over coal continues to burn | SierraSun.com

Our View: Debate over coal continues to burn

What the Truckee community and probably many others learned during the Great Contract Debate of late 2006 was that much of the electricity consumers use is generated by burning coal.The Truckee Donner Public Utility Districts proposed 50-year electrical supply contract with a Utah coal-fired power plant was eventually dropped after a heated and widely observed debate. And while a good portion of the electricity the Truckee PUD continues to purchase is derived from coal, the lesson from the contract process was that our community wants to move toward renewable energy sources. And the district is doing just that.Considering the State of Californias green push and recent action across the nation, thats a good thing. Coal plants provide just over half the electricity generated nationally, while also producing about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, or about a third of the annual U.S. total. In the day and age of global warming, those numbers can only mean one thing lawsuits.Across the country, environmental groups are putting coal-fueled power plants on trial in a bid to slow the industry’s biggest construction boom in decades. At least four dozen coal plants are being contested in 29 states, including Nevada and Utah, according to a recent Associated Press tally.Though the coal and power industries and mining states are putting up a fight saying that technology can produce cleaner emissions and that coal provides an alternative to foreign fuels, the battle will be a protracted one.Whether power grid doom or global warming fears are exaggerated, the reality is that the debate over burning coal for electricity will only rage on. Its said hindsight is 20-20. But its playing out that when Truckee PUD board members chose not to enter into the 50-year agreement, they were, knowingly or not, using excellent foresight.

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