Getting past coal

lauded a coal-fired power plant in Colorado that was retrofitted
recently, touting it as a model for Oklahoma. My research shows that
Colorado Springs City Council members were vehemently opposed to
spending an additional $121 million on top of tens of millions already
invested in retrofits for the plant. The council was particularly
opposed to “throwing more good money after bad” after funding a study on
decommissioning (closing) Drake in 15 years or earlier.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jody Harlan

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