Letter: Coal hole – Great Falls Tribune, May 1, 2013

May 1, 2013

Categories: Coal, Letters

http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013304300030

Let’s think ahead for a change. Does it make sense to turn a beautiful valley into a giant hole and condemn productive farm and ranch land to build a railroad that serves only one short-term purpose? Demand for coal in this country is declining, and the decline is predicted to continue. We are told there is a strong demand for coal in Asia, but how long can this last?

Air pollution in China is worse than anything seen in our country, and just this past winter it sparked large protests in the most polluted Chinese cities. The World Bank reported that air pollution is leading to higher incidences of lung diseases including cancer, respiratory system problems and, therefore, higher levels of work and school absenteeism. Furthermore, The World Bank estimates that the cost of air pollution in China is nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product, a cost they consider unsustainable. The Chinese government has already imposed coal caps on many urban centers and announced its intent to implement a country-wide coal cap and carbon tax.

The result of China’s pollution-induced problems will undoubtedly be a decline in their coal imports in the near future. IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates concludes that Chinese demand for coal will begin to fall this decade. Do we, the people of Montana, want to degrade a portion of our state for generations to come for a few years of economic benefit?

Peter Lesica
Missoula

NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
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Billings, Montana 59101
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