Cheapest source of energy. It is by far
cheaper than nuclear, natural gas, oil. Hydro usually will
be slightly cheaper. However, problems with hydro include:
no new facilities because of public outcry when river
valleys are dammed; and, peak demand time problems (rivers
running dry in the dead of summer when peak air conditioning
is needed and rivers are frozen in the dead of winter when
peak heating is needed).
Coal also provides a stable source of
energy (no Arab oil embargoes, no sudden scarcity like you
experience with natural gas) and there is a very plentiful
supply both in the U.S. and in other foreign countries.
Coal is nothing more than ancient wood
which has been under pressure for millions of years. It is
not sinister as you may have been led to believe.
Coal provides many jobs. Unlike other
forms of energy (nuclear, natural gas, oil, hydroelectric),
coal provides many jobs in removing coal from the earth,
transporting it to the utility, burning it, and properly
disposing of coal ash.
Coal is American made. We do not have to
import this product into this country.
Coal can be mined and burned with little
environmental impact. There has been tremendous strides in
environmental responsibility with mining coal and burning
coal. However, there still is pressure of global warming.
If we burn less fossil fuels, what, as a practical matter,
is our energy alternative? Nuclear? Hydro? Solar (there
is no practical way to provide the massive amounts of
electricity needed to run our country through solar
energy---it is viewed as impractical at this time)?
mining reclamation can give the surface landowner many more
options for developing his land. In the mountainous
terrain, a mining process call mountaintop removal can
create very valuable and useable level land for the surface
owner. The surface owner not only gets his land developed,
he usually is paid 50 cents a ton for the inconvenience of
the use of his surface. Surface mining cannot occur without
the specific consent of the surface owner. If the surface
owner is lucky enough to own the coal rights, he's looking
at another $2.00 a ton for royalty payments. In 1977 the
federal Surface Mining Law was passed that required coal operators to reclaim the land in an equal, if not better, condition that existed prior to mining. We're doing an excellent job with our reclamation efforts. I would suggest that you go to
http://www.osmre.gov/. This is the web site of the federal agency that oversees coal mining from an environmental standpoint.
The prudent us of coal will allow the U.
S. the time needed to develop viable alternative energy
sources---primarily solar technology and fuel from
grain---without any negative impact on our national economy.
Coal provides 56% of the electricity used
in the nation each day. It provides 95% of Kentucky's
electricity. Electrical rates in Kentucky are the second
lowest in the nation---because of coal.
Coal is good for Kentucky's economy. The
Kentucky coal industry brought $3.1 billion into Kentucky
from out-of-state during Fiscal Year 1996-97 through coal
sales to customers in 29 other states and 15 foreign
countries. In Kentucky, it paid over $800 million in direct
wages, directly employing over 19,000 persons and indirectly
providing an additional 60,000 jobs. In addition to all the
normal business taxes, the coal industry in Kentucky paid an
additional $160 million in severance taxes to the state.