The Grand Portage Reservation is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota. The Air Quality Program has many ongoing projects in order to maintain healthy indoor and outdoor air. These projects include monitoring for regional haze and particulate matter, indoor air quality, invasive plant removal, public outreach, environmental education, alternative energy, and climate change.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coal Power

The Minnesota Legislature passed two bills that would lift the current regulation on carbon dioxide emissions at coal-fired plants. In Minnesota coal-fired plants are required to offset their carbon dioxide emissions. The plants must not contribute any additional carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The law regulating these emissions was passed four years ago as part of a package to increase alternative energy production in Minnesota. Some claim that the law is too restricting and that coal plant production cannot occur because the offset practices are too expensive. The House and Senate will vote on the bills in April.

The environmental impacts that occur from burning coal for energy are numerous, including more than emissions of carbon dioxide. We need to use alternative energy and clean up the current energy production. Coal is a fossil fuel, and there is only a limited amount of that coal in the earth. We are going to run out of these fossil fuels, and in the meantime, we are damaging the planet by burning them without the most effective clean burning methods. Americans use a great amount of energy and because we are unwilling to give up our current standard of living, we need to plan for the future and plan how to use our current resources in the most appropriate way.

If we are going to continue with burning coal, we need to use the best technology we have to produce the fewest emissions and cause the smallest environmental impact. We have only one planet and we are very dependent on that planet for survival.

Image from the Energy Bulletin.

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