USA is falling behind in the clean energy race

I read your newspaper article about the cancellation of a vote on Senate Bill 58 that would have relaxed the 2008 law requiring utilities “to produce at least 12.5 percent of their power from sources such as wind, solar and hydropower by 2025. In addition to that, another 12.5 percent must come from ‘advanced’ sources such as clean coal generating stations or nuclear reactors, also by 2025.” You stated that Senate Bill 58 should be brought up again in 2014 rescinding the 2008 mandate. I disagree.

On Dec. 10, 2013, you ran an article by The Associated Press, “Northeast, Mid-Atlantic seek anti-pollution action” wherein “eight Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states petitioned the federal government Monday to require nine upwind states (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) to cut down air pollution emissions.” Even when the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states reduce their own ozone levels significantly, they still receive most of their air pollution from upwind states.

I appreciate the importance of coal industry jobs in this area. My father-in-law was a coal miner and it provided a good living for his family although he died at 58 years of age; he had black lung.

By the way, since the demise of unions to protect the workers, black lung is again on the rise. And President Obama does not have a “war on coal.” The coal industry is in competition with the gas industry that can produce cheaper and cleaner gas.

I don’t suppose anyone has been watching the news coming out of China lately?

They have quite a problem there with air pollution from the coal plants, cars, etc. Evidently they don’t have a government agency like the EPA to make sure their citizens have clean air to breathe. We visited China in 2010 and noticed the hazy air at that time but it is catastrophic now.

A traveler to China (even in a five-star hotel) cannot even drink the water; bottled water has to be provided for travelers.

The Environmental Protection Agency exists for our wellbeing. It is time that we quit blaming the government for trying to protect us.

Instead, we need to hold companies responsible for insuring that we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. If we have to pay more for our electricity in the process, so be it.

In the meantime, we are falling behind other industrialized countries in promoting clean energy and in building high-speed rail to reduce the number of cars on the road.

Carol Lazear Mitchell