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LETTER: ‘Clean coal’ inflates electric bills

BISMARCK — Douglas Paul Perkins might be surprised to learn that new coal-based electric generation stations are both more efficient and cleaner than those built 30 or 40 years ago (“Coal industry already gets tremendous financial breaks,” letter, Page A4, March 12).

It’s also why North Dakota has some of the cleanest air in the country.

But I must disagree with his assertion that “if the kilowatt-hour price rises slightly … that sounds a lot like progress.”

That’s unfortunate, because he may not be aware of the significantly higher rates based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse gas rules for new fossil-fueled power plants.

As Perkins says, facts are important. Recently, S. Julio Friedmann, the U.S. Department of Energy’s deputy assistant secretary for clean coal, testified before Congress that first-generation carbon capture and sequestration technologies could increase the production cost of electricity by 70 percent to 80 percent.

Such a steep climb in the price of power would hurt the U.S. economy and every American who buys electricity for their home or business. After all, the more we spend for energy, the less we have for other “luxuries” such as shelter, food and clothing.