Letter to the Editor

Clean Coal? No such thing

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dear Editor:

Using the term "clean coal" is like saying "non-addictive nicotine" or "sweet smelling hog manure." There just isn't any such. Coal trains pass through Southeast Kansas every 15 minutes on their way to coal fired plants at Riverton, just across the state line in Oklahoma and Missouri. The question is: Who cares? A new coal fired plant in western Kansas is good for business. Who cares if it's just one more smoke stack belching its poison into the air or making its contribution to global warming and the return of the Kansas plains to the great American desert? Who cares if your kids or your grandchildren pay the price of increasing health problems? Who cares if the environmental assets that make Kansas a clean, fresh air, blue sky place with a wide diversity of flora and fauna are destroyed? It's good for business. Besides, Bob Grant and his buddies won't be here to suffer the effects.

Grant and his buddies claim we don't want nuclear or wind power plants. He might add to that coal gasification plants and a myriad of other options that he and his ilk are too lazy or too enslaved by "the way it's always been" to even consider. Even if the initial cost is higher, a clean plant would be healthier, cheaper, and make more sense in the long run. There is a very successful, clean nuclear power plant at Burlington, Kan. There are already wind farms in central Kansas.

The reluctance to try an innovative approach to the generation of power isn't much different than the resistance to electricity, telephones, and rural water that many of us experienced or engaged in. Gov. Sebelius and State Rep. Menghini are right to encourage a fresh look at how we produce the power we need. They care about the effect their decisions will have on their children and grandchildren, and they deserve our support and encouragement.

W. W. O'Bryan