Letter: Market forces causing Corette plant’s closure – Billings Gazette, Nov. 1, 2012

November 1, 2012

Categories: Coal, Letters

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/mailbag/market-forces-causing-corette-plant-s-closure/article_f99e7b39-7f45-5fba-bb5d-0d6f5159bd45.html

Congratulations to Lee Newspapers’ Mike Dennison for digging into the real reasons the Corette power plant was mothballed and sorting through the clouds of political spin coming from the Rehberg and Hill campaigns as they try to confuse voters.

While the announcement of the Corette plant closure was politically timed, the reason it closed was primarily the result of market forces. Corette is an old plant with out-of-date equipment that would have required a substantial investment to bring it up to date. PPL made an economic calculation not to do so. If PPL had chosen to invest in cleaning up Corette, it would have created two years worth of good-paying jobs in addition to the 35 jobs saved at the plant. PPL decided not to invest in our community.

That economic decision was largely based on the fact that natural gas is beating the pants off coal because it is so cheap. Coal cannot compete. Let’s stop pointing fingers and deal with reality.

People get asthma and die from attacks caused by polluted air. Does one person dying of an asthma attack outweigh 35 jobs or even one job? The EPA is finally, after a 20-year holdup, beginning to bring old, dirty coal plants into compliance with clean air laws adopted in the early 1990s. The courts have forced them to do this.

PPL made a market decision and Billings can breath easier for it.

Julia Page
Gardiner

 

NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154
info@northernplains.org