Relying on coal a bad idea for Oklahoma

BY BUD SCOTT AND WHITNEY PEARSON Published: March 16, 2011

We do not think it is in the best interest of citizens of Oklahoma to extend the life of these dirty coal plants. Continuing to use coal for electricity, while the rest of the nation moves away from coal, will be detrimental to our health and our economy.

The Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club has promoted the transition to a clean-energy economy by advocating for a renewable energy goal to generate 15 percent of our state's electricity from clean sources by 2015. In 2010, the Legislature adopted this energy plan for the state that called for investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a commitment to natural gas facilities over coal-burning power plants. Any implementation plan to address regional haze must have firm timelines for decommissioning dirty coal plants and investing in natural gas facilities, along with renewable energy and efficiency upgrades.

This issue is about more than visibility at the Wichita Mountains. Fine particle pollution that contributes to regional haze affects people's health. Every day that we continue to rely on coal, we threaten the health of Oklahomans across the state.

Scott and Pearson represent the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club.