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Letís Keep Coal Out of Our Energy Future

A draft power and conservation plan from the region's official power-planning agency gets plenty right in its vision of the next 20 years: The Northwest Power and Conservation Council imagines meeting our region's rising electricity demand with impressive efficiency standards and new clean energy, all without building new fossil-fueled power plants or increasing emissions. Sounds good, right?
Not if we're serious about cutting our ties with dirty power.

Tell the council its work is appreciated, but not finished.

The plan needs to go further. The million-ton elephant in the council's room is coal, which produces 23 percent of the region's electricity but spews out 87 percent of the region's pollution. The draft plan, admirably aggressive in its pursuit of energy efficiency and renewable-energy targets, sidesteps the region's coal use, neither advocating cap-and-trade (carbon tax) policies or CO2 reduction targets that are already on the books in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Help make the council's final plan take on coal.

Oregon law calls for a 75-percent cut in 1990's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a figure the council has determined will only be reached with a virtual elimination of coal from the power system. And while the council cannot order any coal plants to be shuttered, it can chart a course for a future that gradually reduces greenhouse gas emissions, a goal that's proven itself to be both economically and morally necessary. Plus, cutting out coal power would have relatively minor rate impacts, according to the council's own analysis.

Tell the council it's time we cut our ties with coal. Simply put, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's very good draft could become a great plan. It can build on its already-solid foundation of efficiency and clean energy and build toward a low-carbon energy future that will meet growing need while shrinking its impact on the environment.

Your comments are needed to shape the final plan.

Take Action
The council is accepting public comment on its draft plan until Nov. 6. Tell them you appreciate their efforts on energy efficiency and focus on renewables, but would like to see those efforts fortified with a reduction in greenhouse emissions.

homepage: homepage: http://www.nwcouncil.org/energy/powerplan/6/comment.asp?tr=y&auid=5516024