During 2018, several articles have appeared in our paper discussing the future of the 440 acres that Coles Together bought from the FutureGen group after they dropped the site from their consideration for a coal sequestration plant. The president of Coles Together, Angela Griffin, has been looking for an alternative energy project for the site. It appears that she only seems to be considering energy projects that involve coal. This makes no sense for Coles County. Electricity produced by coal is one of the most expensive ways to produce energy. Coal plants are closing all over the country because they are too expensive to run and there are less expensive sources of electricity. Offering tax incentives to a coal plant to artificially prop them up is a losing proposition for Coles County and a waste of our tax dollars. Let's instead spend our tax dollars by looking to the future.
We should be working to bring in a company that will not become obsolete or unprofitable in the next decade. Solar power is a growing industry that produces lower cost clean electricity. Why not use that 440 acres to set up a solar array? Or build a plant that makes components for solar arrays?
If the economic disadvantages of coal do not convince you, consider the following statement by the Union of Concerned Scientists: “When coal is burned it releases a number of airborne toxins and pollutants. They include mercury, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulates, and various other heavy metals. Health impacts can range from asthma and breathing difficulties, to brain damage, heart problems, cancer, neurological disorders, and premature death.” Despite the propaganda campaigns that we have all heard, coal is dirty and threatens our health and the health of our planet.
Is this what we want to bring to Coles County?
Keith Wolcott, Charleston