Dean Hulse recently took Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to task (letter, Forum, Nov. 10) for sponsoring a resolution of disapproval of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. He notes, however, that EPA’s plan to reduce carbon dioxide would account for some measure of pain on North Dakota. So let’s look at the pain and then benefits and see if our junior senator’s efforts are in fact misguided.
Here’s some of what we would lose if the state is forced to close coal-based power plants in favor of intermittent sources, such as wind and solar, under EPA’s plan:
- We lose reliable power.
- We lose valuable crop land by siting more wind farms and transmission lines.
- We lose low-cost electricity.
- We lose jobs – thousands of permanent jobs at the mines and plants. If you don’t believe me, look at a wind farm and try to locate the cars and pickups of the people who work there.
- We lose tax revenue to our states and towns as the lignite industry is taxed twice – once for the coal that is severed and again for the power that’s produced.
- We lose discretionary income that will now be spent on higher-cost electricity and products impacted by less affordable power, such as food, clothing, medical care and others.
- We lose families and towns as people relocate due to a shortage of jobs and/or a shortage of electricity to produce goods – not to mention the Bakken that requires more and more 24/7 power to run oil pumps and pipelines.
So what do we gain? Nothing really, because any fraction of a reduction in CO2 produced in the U.S. by crippling our economy will be more than made up by countries around the world that want to feed their people and desire a better, healthier life.
Recently, an official with the U.S. Energy Department said at a meeting in Bismarck that the Obama administration doesn’t speak to energy officials in India because they are at polar opposites when it comes to coal. The decisions made now will have long-term consequences to our state’s economy and our national security.
Heitkamp’s efforts to be a bipartisan leader in the U.S. Senate by objecting to the EPA’s “go-it-alone” plan appears to represent the majority of North Dakotans.
Piatz is with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 647.
See the article here.
- On November 23, 2015