Coal and Heavy Breathing

You will be hearing a lot from the coal lobby and its acolytes, Democratic and Republican, in Congress. In order to save us from foreign oil dependency we have to burn good old American coal, they tell us. To hell with global warming.

The facts are not good:

_Wyoming’s coal-fired power plants produce more carbon dioxide in just eight hours than the power generators of more populous Vermont do in a year.

_Texas, the leader in emitting this greenhouse gas, cranks out more than the next two biggest producers combined, California and Pennsylvania, which together have twice Texas’ population.

_In sparsely populated Alaska, the carbon dioxide produced per person by all the flying and driving is six times the per capita amount generated by travelers in New York state.

Blame Coal

California seems to be bucking the trend.

On Wednesday, the California Energy Commission announced rules that bar municipal utilities from signing new contracts with coal-fired power plants. Combined with a similar step announced in January aimed at investor-owned utilities, this move means California is bucking a largely unpublicized trend toward generating electricity with coal, the dirtiest energy source of all.

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