July 09, 2020

`Clean-burning coal’ is non-existent

I would like to respond to the Sept. 3 letter by Neil A. Hapworth, who has voiced approval of Applied Energy Services’ coal-fired co-generation power plant proposed in Bucksport.

Apparently, this approval stems from what he feels to be “too much pressure on our forests to provide the paper industry, the lumber industry, and chip-burning for electricity.” Hapworth believes the burden on our forests can be lessened if we turn to “clean-burning coal” to produce electricity; and therein lies a major flaw.

First and foremost, there is no such thing as clean-burning coal. The AES plant would pump tons of pollution into the air annually. AES officials admit that….

Second, Hapworth’s concern about the future of our forests is legitimate; his solution to the problem is not. The forests in New England are slowly being eaten away by acid rain. The production of acid rain is a direct by-product of burning fossil fuels such as coal. The AES coal-fired plant will increase the burden on our forests and will have a long-term negative effect on other lumber-related industries.

As a former member of the Board of Environmental Protection, I am surprised Hapworth hasn’t thought about this issue more carefully. Reality tells me that “clean-burning” coal doesn’t exist and, as always, there is a price for everything. In this case, the price is too high and we must say no! Edward L. Ritchey Bucksport

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