Grand Rapids LTE this week

September 9th, 2006


Quick, before this weekend’s paper is posted, here’s another LTE from the Wednesday Grand Rapids Herald Review:

Burning coal can have many consequences


National Geographic (March, 2006) has two articles on the consequences of mining and burning coal. The first is â??The High Cost Of Cheap Coal.â? The author states that coal-fired power plants now operating in the United States produce 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, the same amount as every car, truck, train, and plane currently operating in the United States.

Duluth News Tribune (4/13/06): a six year study by the University of Minnesota showed that vegetation won’t absorb as much of the extra carbon dioxide, produced largely by the burning of coal and natural gas, that scientists had hoped. According to Peter Reich, study leader and a professor in the University’s Department of Forest Resources, â??The findings raise the possibility of accelerated global warming.â?

The article goes on â??until recently, worldwide computer modeling counted on plants to absorb a good share of the extra carbon dioxide.â? According to Inez Fung, co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment at the University of California Berkeley, these results show â??we were far too optimistic.â?
Duluth News Tribune (2/17/06): using new data from satellite imagery, scientists have discovered Greenlandâ??s icebergs are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, the result of a warming trend that renders obsolete earlier predictions of how quickly the earth’s oceans will rise over the next century.â? According to Julian Dowdeswell, a glacier expert at the University of Cambridge in England who reviewed the findings for the journal Science, â??The implications are global. We are talking about the worst storm settings…you are upping the probability major storms will take place.â?
Minneapolis Star Tribune (6/2/06): Excel Energy reports their customers have paid millions of dollars for wind power that was never produced. Because Excel Energy doesnâ??t have enough transmission lines, it can’t deliver all the wind power generated. As a result, many wind generators are routinely disconnected.

Excelsior Energy now wants us to build a coal-fired power plant, that isn’t needed, that will release more carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the environment, benefiting only a select few, while harming the environment and lots of people in the long run.

When a person makes an assumption, they usually make a second, and more critical one, at the same time. For example, the first assumption Rob Crowe makes is that people are misinformed. The second assumption he makes is that his first assumption is true. Because he assumes that his first assumption is true, he never takes the time to find out how informed other people really are.
One quart of oil can produce a two-acre oil slick. One gallon of oil can make one million gallons of water too foul to drink. Once water reaches 35 parts per million of oil, fish die. If the land in question is not pristine, as Mr. Crowe asserts, all the more reason to keep Excelsior Energy and others from fouling it even more.

Gary Burt

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