Another Take On PA Plant Closures

  • Scott Detrow

While Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey is lamenting GenOn’s decision to close five Pennsylvania coal-fired power plants due to new environmental regulations, former Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley is applauding the move.
Blogging at the PennFuture website, he writes,

The switch from goal to gas is saving lives. Every year, pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 23,600 premature deaths; 21,850 hospital admissions; 554,000 asthma attacks; and 38,200 heart attacks. Gas is vastly cleaner than coal when it comes to emissions of pollutants like soot, mercury, lead, arsenic, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide. It also uses less water and requires no ash disposal.
The closures are also a victory in the battle against global climate disruption. Gas is 50 percent cleaner than coal when it comes to CO2 emissions from electricity production. And while methane emissions from production and distribution of gas must be scrutinized and minimized, it’s clear that major environmental improvements are unfolding in part because of the shale gas boom.
This only underscores the importance of – and the opportunity in – addressing all of the problems associated with gas production, so that the shale gas production can truly be an environmental victory that grows the economy.

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