Letters to the Editor

Improve energy efficiency

Former Rep. John Peterson writes of the “huge tracts of farm and forest land” rendered useless by solar panels (“Regulations taking toll” 4/6). Has he heard of rooftops?

As an activist John Hanger did more for the coal waste and trash incineration industry than he did for solar power. He endorsed Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, which favors trash and coal refuse burning far more than it does real renewable energy. Pennsylvania utilities are allowed to buy their solar credits from out of state.

Peterson and his friends in the fossil fuel industry have to acknowledge that any hard times on coal or gas are not caused by the environmental movement. The Bruce Mansfield power plant in Shippingport is one of the largest coal generation stations in the country and is idle because of low demand for electricity. Megawatt hours are going for $31 in Pennsylvania’s grid, compared to $84.55 in 2008. It is precisely the state’s “tremendous natural resources” that have glutted the energy market, reducing prices.

Peterson knows electricity production must be proportional to consumption and cannot grow infinitely.

Pennsylvania should be more concerned about improving energy efficiency, which would reduce global warming pollution, protecting Pennsylvania’s largest industry, agriculture, from damaging extreme weather.

Twenty-two of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties fail at least one federal pollution standard. Reducing CO2 pollution not only prevents global warming, it reduces the particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides that harm air quality and are made even more damaging by extreme heat.

Russell Zerbo, Philadelphia

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