The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking for public comment on its Proposed Clean Power Plan Rule. This rule would phase out coal-burning power plants having unacceptable levels of air pollution by 2030. I live in central Pennsylvania, downwind of several coal-fired power plants. Since I moved here, my asthma has become worse. I am in favor of phasing out fossil carbon pollution.
Replacing coal with natural gas is simply trading one fossil source for another. Although it is true that natural gas burns cleanly at the burner tip, the extraction, production and distribution of natural gas has plenty of opportunity for environmental damage. This damage is in large part, not repairable.
Natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania is under-regulated and under-taxed. The production of natural gas uses tremendous quantities of water. Most of this water permanently leaves the water cycle. We are talking about billions of gallons of water over time, and our water resource will be reduced by an unacceptable fraction. Then, consider that methane (natural gas) has about 100 times the global warming effect of CO2 in the first 25 years of its escape from the earth.
Natural gas-fired power plants are not the answer.
Considering the time frame of the proposed Rule, 2016-30, the United States must have a simultaneous goal of renewable power generation by 2030. To comment on the Rule, email A-and-R-Docket@epa.gov, with Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0602 in the subject line by Oct. 16.
Mary Carol Frier