Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More progress on power plant clean up

A reassuring article in the WSJ today, detailing the further ramifications of the Sierra Club's successful lawsuit against the UW's Charter Street coal fired power plant:

The state of Wisconsin has agreed not only to clean up UW-Madison's coal-fired Charter Street power plant but also to review and possibly improve the operation of 13 other coal-burning plants it manages throughout the state, according to a settlement of a Sierra Club lawsuit announced Monday.


That decision led to Monday's broad settlement, which averted a federal court trial on remedies that was set to start Monday. The state agreed not only to immediately reduce coal use by 15 percent at the Charter Street plant but also to review its operation and if needed, clean up emissions at 13 coal-burning plants elsewhere, including Capitol Heat and Power on Madison's Isthmus.
I can tell you right now that it is needed, but I'm glad to see that the state is starting to take this seriously. It's a real shame that it look a serious lawsuit for them to start cleaning up their act, but better late than never, I suppose.

With all the lip service the Doyle administration has been paying to cleaner air and lower emissions, it's going to take some serious effort to make the action match the rhetoric. This looks to be a huge step in the right direction.

Of course, one need only to look to the bottom of the article at the first comment, where some poor soul posts the following deluded message: "Thank you, Sierra Club. Once again we get MUCH HIGHER energy prices in the name of the Great Global Warming Hoax," to be reminded that we've a long way to go when it comes to educating the public about the issues.

I'm torn between laughing and crying, really, there's so much that's wrong with that statement. The Great Global Warming Hoax? That thing that the vast majority of the world's qualified scientists agree is happening? Yeah, aside from that, we're talking about simply making the air we breathe far less toxic, something that tends to benefit poorer communities first, as they're usually the ones with the big ol' smoke belching power plants built at their centers.

Alternative fuels are proving to be viable and affordable sources of energy. With the appropriate amount of willpower and funding, they will only continue to increase in efficiency and affordability. A head-in-the-sand attitude like the poster's is what got us into this mess in the first place, and it's what will help lead us to disaster if it continues.

Anyway, I intend to keep a close eye on how this power plant clean-up progresses, and hopefully more influential people than I will do the same, so we make sure they get it right this time, instead of slacking off and waiting for next year like they've done so many times before.

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