Letter: The 'war on coal'

Published: Sunday, March 30 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

To see what the “war on coal” will ultimately cost Americans, one need only look to Ontario. Our provincial government boasts that Ontario’s “phase out of coal is the single largest climate change initiative in North America.”

Ontario has reduced the use of coal for generating electricity from 25 percent of all power generated to now less than 2 percent. As a result, electricity rates are forecast to rise 42 percent over the next five years. With coal gone, more natural gas is being used to produce base load power, a consequence of which is that our chief natural gas supplier just requested a 40 percent price hike to account for supply shortages during this unusually cold winter. Had our coal stations remained on line, things would have been very different.

As Ontario moved away from coal, our economy suffered immensely. Our per capita debt is now $20,166, and the province pays about 9 percent of its revenues for interest on its debt.

Closing down our most reliable and least expensive source of electricity played a major role in reducing Ontario from a once-prosperous “have” province to now being a “have not” province, dependent on the charity of wealthier provinces. Who will support the United States if you similarly damage your economy by getting rid of coal, your most important source of electricity?

Tom Harris

Ottawa, Ontario

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