The Green Register Answers the Coal vs. Economy Question
Pollution vs. Higher Taxes – What’s Better?
The Green Register Looks Into the ‘New’ Reports!
Coal generates 54% of our electricity, and is the single biggest air polluter in the U.S.
As you all know by now, The Green Register is a place that gives people, consumers – all of us – the chance to find out about the latest products, services and everything ‘green’ in our universe. In addition, The Green Register is also an advocate and activist – making sure that we all know the latest information from sea to shining sea – to many stops in D.C. – where a great deal of our lives are decided upon.
It should be widely known by now that we all must pitch in and save our environment in order to save ourselves. And one of the absolute easiest ways to accomplish this is by having a leader such as The Green Register point us in the right direction.
Recently, in Washington, a piece of good news floated off that ‘Hill.’ More than thirty-two, mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states, will be forced to shut down. An additional thirty-six might have to close because of new federal air pollution regulations. Together, those plants are some of the oldest and dirtiest in this country and produce enough electricity for more than twenty-two million households. But their demise probably will not cause any homes to fall into ‘darkness.’
The fallout will actually be felt mostly for the towns where power plant smokestacks have long cast a shadow on the surrounding land. It is tax revenues and jobs that will be lost, and the investments in new ‘clean’ power plants and pollution controls will most likely raise electric bills. (Associated Press survey)
Based on interviews with power plant operators, and on the EPA’s own prediction of power plant closures, people have predicted that EPA rules will kill coal as a power source and force blackouts, basing their argument on estimates from energy analysts, congressional offices, government regulators, unions and interest groups. But the EPA says this is completely untrue; many of these ‘studies’ inflate the number of plants retiring by counting the ones that are closing down for reasons other than the two EPA rules.
This is actually the first survey of its kind done by the Associated Press, as they went on to survey electricity-generating companies about what they plan to do and the effects that will ultimately occur on power supply and jobs.
These things do depend on EPA computer models that predict which fossil-fuel generating units are likely to be retired early to comply with the rules, and which were likely to be retired anyway no matter what happened. The agency has estimated that 14.7 gig watts (enough power for more than 11 million households) will be retired from the power grid in the 2014-15 period when the new rules take effect.
The first rule will curb air pollution in states that sit downwind from dirty power plants. The second, expected to be announced soon, would set the first standards for mercury and other toxic pollutants coming from power plant smokestacks. When these rules are combined, more than 8 percent of the coal-fired generation nationwide could be done away with – and plants that are fifty-one years and over would be closed.
But think about it. These plants have been allowed to run for decades without any modern pollution controls, simply because it was ‘thought’ that they were on the verge of closing anyway…which didn’t happen.
There are even other rules in the making that deal with cooling water intakes at power plants and coal ash disposal, which could close even more plants across the U.S. These new rules, of course, show us all shifting away from using coal as a power source, but it still seems that the rules will not break coal as being the dominant electricity source. Yes, the coal-fired plants that remain will have to be cleaner, but they‘re not going anywhere.
The job losses, however, will be felt. As the power plants are retired, so will the workers be, and considering the rough and tumble economy we have all been sitting in the last few years, watching more job losses on the horizon is becoming a very difficult pill to swallow. The largest impact will be felt in the Midwest and in the coal belt (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia) where dozens of units probably will be retired. And in most of these locations, a job at the power plant is not only the best thing it is the only thing. In fact, generations of families head to work at those plants and have for decades.
Some employees are already looking to see if there are other power plants where they could find work. Electricity bills are also already a concern. It is Kentucky Utilities that expects its customers to see as much as a 14 percent rate increase to make up for the $800 million it’s spending to replace what will be retired, and the $1.1 billion it plans to spend on anti-pollution upgrades. For others, the biggest issue with the plant retirements is the loss of property taxes. In some areas, such as Salem, Massachusetts, retiring their units will more than halve the plant’s entire workforce.
So, how does a community replace its biggest taxpayer when its gone? And what do you do with the acres of waterfront property that is left behind? Questions need to be answered. Yes, cleaner air, a better world surrounding you and your children, and a way to refurbish and update an out-of-date society with the modern world. BUT, loss of jobs, loss of taxes, loss of state funding – if you have no job to pay your taxes and support your family…what’s better? This is a debate that will continue to go on as the economy grows more and more harsh.
When a place like The Green Register, is available for companies, businesses, project owners, consumers, etc. – there IS a way to get through this and get through this in a positive light. There are tons of companies and services out there who can manufacture and offer products and answers that will give this world and the next generation a far longer and healthier life.
The Green Register promotes sustainable construction, design, products and businesses – from architects, designers, consultants, builders to recycling services – that can play an enormous role in the world and in building the job market into a place that supports and defends the Earth.
First step? Head to the website today and become a part of the new ‘green’ world that even Washington wants to make happen. As a community, as a country, and as an intelligent life form – WE can pool together and make this a ‘good’ thing for the world. NOW is the time!
Until Next Time, Everybody!
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