While we all like to believe we think for ourselves, a great deal of what we think and believe has been "planted" in our brains by powerful corporations. They do this in a number of ways. They have control of most of the media, subject us to advertising almost everywhere we look and listen, and control most of our political leaders. They can do this simply because they have most of the money.
One of the great deceptions of the day deals with coal. Most of us have seen the advertisement with the power cord plugged into a lump of coal. They want you to internalize just how important cheap, available coal is to the production of electricity. But there is nothing cheap or inexpensive about the production of electricity using coal. If you figure in all the costs the coal and the power industry externalize, you find that the electricity produced from coal is very expensive.
The medical expenses caused by coal pollution are extensive. Think of all the emergency room visits by children with acute asthma attacks.
When someone argues against eliminating coal power plants, you get the "jobs" issue thrown back at you. There has already been extensive job lose in the coal industry due to mechanization. The question boils down to whether we should support jobs which cause harm to others? As the economy made transitions in the past there has always been job loss in one area and job gains in others. Clean energy such as wind and solar are much more labor intensive than coal or natural gas produced energy. Yes, if we use less coal, some miners will lose their jobs so we must have a strong safety net to help their transition, but we should not have to trade a child's health for a miner's job.
This is a public health fight. Pollution kills. It is also an economic one. Climate change is already costing us real dollars in extensive storm damage and drought related food costs. The fight to shut down dirty fired coal plants is a difficult fight. Three powerful industries (coal, power, and railroads) are using their money and power in this fight. Their paid supporters in Congress are doing all they can to keep the EPA from protecting our health. We can produce our electrons without compromising our health and environmental sustainability. All that is needed is the strength to make the decision to do so and the will to act. Remember that the power and coal industry only cares about profits. Why should we be concerned about them?
Jack D. Miller, Middleburg