July 9, 2009

The State
There are alternatives to coal-fired plant
James Williamson
July 8, 2009

As Santee Cooper, our state-owned utility, hikes rates by 15 percent over the next two years, let us not forget why. Revenues from the rate hike will be used to build the utility’s new polluting coal plant at a cost of about $2 billion. This proposed coal plant poses not only a financial risk to ratepayers, but an environmental and health risk to people and communities in Appalachia.
The coal plant will use approximately 12,000 tons of coal every day, and much of this coal comes from the mountain tops of Kentucky and West Virginia. One million acres of mountain tops have been destroyed, and the debris that is dumped in the valleys impacts communities and pollutes water supplies.

Santee Cooper’s new coal-guzzling power plant will support this destructive mining, so it will threaten the health and welfare of people in South Carolina as well as Kentucky and West Virginia.

There are alternatives to another coal plant. Santee Cooper should focus spending on energy-efficiency programs that will reduce energy demand, while it invests in and brings on line energy alternatives such as biomass, offshore wind, solar and small natural gas plants.
We do not need this rate hike to support old technology that not only jeopardizes our health and welfare here in South Carolina but reaches farther north to the mountains of Appalachia and the communities and people living there. Say no to another coal plant.


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