Quitting the Coal Habit
Coal is a dirty, dangerous and increasingly expensive fuel. In Washington, if you are a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) customer, you may be surprised that over one-third of your energy comes from coal. While PSE supports many clean energy programs, a large portion of the energy supplied by Puget Sound Energy comes from the biggest, most polluting coal-fired power plant in the West—the Colstrip Generating Facility in Eastern Montana.
Right now, PSE has a momentous opportunity to invest in clean energy and create good jobs in Washington State by moving beyond coal. Instead of continuing to rely on dirty coal, which harms people’s health and the environment, PSE should replace coal with cleaner forms of energy.
Over 100 coal plants across the country, including the Northwest’s
TransAlta and Boardman plants, are on a path to retirement as our nation moves away from its reliance on coal. This has opened up the doors to a flood of clean energy investment and a new generation of clean air and clean power. Our future lies not in old, dirty coal-fired power, but in making homes more comfortable, lowering electricity bills, and creating a wave of innovation in the wind and solar industries. As we upgrade our buildings and install new sources of energy, we can create jobs, stimulate new businesses and create a diverse and safe energy future. In the next few years, PSE will be faced with increasing costs o f pollution controls at its aging coal plant. They, and we, have a choice to make – pour hundreds of millions of dollars into an outdated coal plant or invest those resources into Washington State by supporting clean energy jobs.
Energy efficiency and other clean energy sources can be affordable. Continued investment in clean energy is the sure bet to keep our energy costs low, protect the people and places we love, and invigorate our state economy
PSE’s Coal Plant: Worst in the West
In terms of carbon pollution, PSE’s coal plant is the dirtiest coal-burning power plant in the Western states, and the eighth dirtiest nationwide. The amount of carbon pollution that spews from Colstrip’s smokestacks is almost equal to two eruptions at Mt. St. Helen’s every year.
Air and water pollution from PSE’s coal plant threaten local ranchers’ water supply and causes life-threatening disease near the plant. Rosebud County, where Colstrip is located, has the 3rd highest asthma rate in Montana. Ranchers and Native American tribes are caught in an endless struggle with this irresponsible and polluting plant.
The Way Forward for PSE
Instead of sinking ratepayers’ money into a dirty and dangerously out-of- date coal-fired power plant, PSE should act responsibly and make good on its commitment to clean energy and the environment by investing that money to clean energy jobs in Washington State.
According to PSE’s website, the company continues to pursue “doing smart things for our customers and the right thing for our planet. We’re advancing clean technology and energy efficiency to build a better future.”
Washingtonians know that coal is not who we are and it’s certainly not where we are going. Propping up an aging coal plant in Montana and throwing money at an outdated, dirty, and increasingly expensive fossil fuel is not the right thing for Washington. We can help PSE do the right thing and kick the coal habit.
For more information, or to get involved, please get in touch with Seth Ballhorn, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (206) 378-0114 X302