In the  article “All of the Above” Energy Strategy published in the recent Ruralite, our local rural power cooperative’s publication, the National Rural Electric Cooperative tried to convince us that coal is still a cheap source of power. I appreciate their efforts to keep electric bills affordable.  However, in the real world, coal is far more expensive than the Coal Industry wants us to know. The reason your coal fired power bill seems cheap is because the coal industry is heavily subsidized by us taxpayers. Yes, a good portion of Coal Industry profits are from our taxes.

Since 1950, the U.S. Government has provided the coal burning industry with over $70 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. Additionally, over the past 30 years, coal mining has received almost $30 billion in U.S. subsidies. Our tax dollars are being used to make it appear that coal power is cheap. They are using our own money to hoodwink us.

Face it; there is no legitimate reason financially successful companies should be receiving absurd subsidies such as this. This isn’t free market economics, it’s welfare for established monopolistic industries! Every tax-paying American is being forced to support the Coal Industry that is in turn polluting the rest of our resources.

And worse, they have left us with the bill for dealing with their poisonous and climate altering wastes.

The medical journal Lancet lists air pollution in its top 10 disease risk factors. And, of course, burning of fossil fuels is the greatest emitter of air pollution. Environment America has rated the Intermountain Power Project in Utah the 29th dirtiest power plant in America. That’s right, the coal-fired power plant Mt. Wheeler Power buys most of its electricity from is one of the dirtiest power plants in the country.

However, just because IPP is heavily invested in coal doesn’t mean Mt. Wheeler Power has to live by the flawed economic calculations. Cleaner sources of power are available and when you look at the long-term costs they are less expensive.  Mt Wheeler should follow Warren Buffet’s policy. He recently invested heavily in wind power generation. Buffet is the new owner of NV Energy.

Delaine Spilsbury
McGill NV