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posted: 6/29/2014 5:01 AM

Cutting coal emissions a reachable goal

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A recent letter about our president's policies being in shambles was startling in the number of ill-informed accusations and the tone of disdain and dismissal directed toward President Obama. The biblical injunction "if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand" has been on my mind as bitter anti-Obama positions are paraded unselfconsciously in these pages. As adults, we should all know better than to be steadfast in uncompromising positions because in life we are not offered the chance to have it all our way.

We were similarly divided in the Vietnam era, and the Nixon administration feared revolution. If the anti-war movement hadn't been seduced by the distractions of the times, then U.S. history might have recorded a sharp turn right around 1972. Nixon made his career as a fear-mongering anti-communist. Funny how that gets recycled -- we just say socialist instead.

We are not allowed space to refute the many accusations of the Obama Detractor Club. I'd like to address the statement that new EPA standards "can't be met by coal-fired electric plants." The EPA's aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels. This can be accomplished by refitting existing power plants to capture carbon, by reducing the share of power from coal-fired plants, by using more renewable energy and by decreasing demand by increasing efficiency.

Due to the shift to gas-powered plants we have already moved about 13 percent toward the goal. Thirty coal-fired plants were retired in 2012 alone. The targets are state-by-state, and only 12 states are not already on the path of clean energy production and reduced consumption.

What can we expect? Less CO2, sulfur and mercury spewed into our atmosphere, breakthrough innovations from industry, improved health for many and net savings. Not doom. Not gloom.

David Troland

Arlington Heights

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