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LETTER: Coal industry already gets ‘tremendous financial breaks’

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TOKYO — Gary Jordheim writes that he doesn’t know if the earth is warming or cooling (“Wind industry gets subsidies; coal industry should, too,” letter, Page F2, March 9)

That’s unfortunate, because when we’re talking about climate change, facts are important.

To quote from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website: “Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century and is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next hundred years.”

Global warming and climate change are real, and they have real effects on our lives.

Jordheim proposes we give tax breaks to the coal industry. He thinks it’s unfair that wind and solar power get some breaks.

And yet, we already give the coal industry tremendous financial breaks. Coal power plants cause increased frequency of heart attacks and asthma, and they also raise mercury levels and contribute to global warming. It’s the average person who pays to deal with these problems.

Since we’re the ones paying — in both health and money — it’s only reasonable for us to ask that new coal power plants be less damaging than the old ones.

Finally, Jordheim says that if the coal industry is forced to meet new regulations, “all of these costs have to be passed on to us, the consumers,” and so he advocates giving them grants and tax incentives instead. But that’s just suggesting we should pay more in taxes instead of paying more in electric bills, which makes no sense.

Jordheim says we should stop fighting over what source of power is best, but nobody is. Coal power isn’t fading away, and if the kilowatt hour price slightly rises because new power plants have to be a cleaner and safer than the old ones, that sounds a lot like progress.

Douglas Paul Perkins

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