Study says coal burning in Utah kills 202 a year

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  • Lyle Springville, UT
    Oct. 20, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    Sure... replace a 1.8 GW power plant with 857 windmills at 2.1 MW each. Sounds logical to me!

    (Numbers are from the IPP plant in Delta and the windmills at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon).

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Oct. 20, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    Let's give the Left 4 years to enact any legislation or regulation they want. If after 4 more years anybody dies for any reason, we repeal the legislation and regulation, abolish the EPA and the DOE, and make anyone who voted for the legislation or enacted the regulations compensate, out of their own pockets, the families of anyone who has died.

    If they can't point to exactly how their ideas, enacted as policy, saved lives and to exactly how many, they should at the very least have to compensate the businesses who were burdened by the regulations. Sorry, you don't get to accuse the owners of coal plants of killing people and then run and hide without telling us how many people you put out of work and how much of a hardship you place on the consumer due to every cost-increasing regulation imposed on business by every single one of your sky-is-falling predictions. It's time to hold the environmentalists accountable for the consequences of their agenda.

  • Soul Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2010 11:29 a.m.

    What do similar studies say about California, New York, or other States (thousands dead?) and countries like China or India (Millions dead?)? No relative comparison there.

    By the way, what green energy solutions are "they" proposing to replace coal fired electric plants within the next 30 years?

    Real solutions?

  • 42istheanswer SLC, UT
    Oct. 20, 2010 9:28 a.m.

    Only 202. Those are acceptable losses when we figure how much money we make on polluting in Utah.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    Oct. 20, 2010 9:03 a.m.

    I think Utah's new slogan that they should put on all license plates is:

    "Utah's air, it's to die for."

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Oct. 20, 2010 7:25 a.m.

    the chemical impact of burning fuel for energy is pretty scientifically accessible. I don't think that the science is at fault here--just because people are noticing that there may be cleaner ways to obtain our needs in energy.

    We shouldn't want to continue to burn coal just because we've always done it that way--or even that it's the most immediate and financially beneficial solution. Back when pioneers founded the cities they didn't have solar cells--though they did occasionally employ hydraulic/mechanical power to power mills. Now we have such technologies, and should look into how best to deploy them.

    A long-term sensible policy towards energy migration will help us all out in the long-run. Who doesn't want cleaner air?

    This doesn't mean we abandon conservative principles or economic sensiblity--but instead we should embrace ecologically conservative principles as well. In other words, it should be on our to-do list, and we should investigate how to make cleaner energy more accessible.

  • collegestudent25 Cedar City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2010 2:40 a.m.

    This study seems ridiculous to me. Though I do not see coal fired power plants being the the power of the future, for now they are the best we have. Don't be putting people out of jobs and raising energy costs based on some bogus study done with a political motive in mind.

  • B Logan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 10:33 p.m.

    This news article is beyond ridiculous. It goes something like this: "Some state agencies (it doesn't say which ones or who is heading up these agencies) commissioned, but don't endorse, a study that says Coal Fire Power Plants are killing over 200 people in Utah each year. (Again, the story doesn't mention which Utahns died.) Some doctors who agree with the study have told the governor to do something so that Utah will replace all it's Coal Fire Power plants with wind and solar. (The article also doesn't mention one state where that has, or ever is going to happen.) Lousy journalism, bogus science, and tree-hugging fear mongering at its finest.

  • CPA Howard Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
    Oct. 19, 2010 10:08 p.m.

    If we want to save 202 lives let's get rid of alcohol and tobacco products. Oh while we're at it get rid of fast food. I bet we'd save more than 202 lives.

  • LDS Tree-Hugger Farmington, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 7:07 p.m.

    I don't want to be an "I-told-you-so"

    but, I TOLD YOU SO!!!!


  • Eco-Weenie Dayton, OH
    Oct. 19, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    @oldasdirt 4:41 p.m.

    Deseret News doesn't allow links to be posted. However, you can find the report online by googling either the report's name:

    "Co-Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable
    Energy in Utah" (no quotes)

    or the report's file name:

    "synapse_co-benefits.pdf" (no quotes)

  • oldasdirt Grantsville, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 4:41 p.m.

    I would like to read the report..anyone know where it is on the web. The consulting firms mission statement is a little troubling "Beyond Business as Usual: Investigating a Future without Coal and Nuclear Power in the U.S."

    Appears to be an eastern think tank group.

  • Tlingit Orem, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 3:56 p.m.


    I don't blame you for being dismayed with the despicable attitude some people have about the environment.

    Rest assured though, if any of them are LDS, then they are far out of step with their Church's teachings.

    "We're working very hard to try and find ways to conserve the precious resources, help with clean air and use those kind of practices that are environmentally responsible," -- Bishop H. David Burton, the Church's presiding bishop.

    In April 2010, the LDS Church announced that newly constructed buildings will be more environmentally friendly.

    The new Farmington stake center, for example, has 158 solar panels, water conservation technology, etc.

    The scriptures teach that man was given stewardship over the earth, and that every person will give an accounting to God of their stewardship.

    There are no exemptions mentioned for politicians or those who vote them in. :-)

    “For decades we have looked for innovative ways to ... reflect our commitment AS WISE STEWARDS OF GOD'S CREATIONS.” -- H. David Burton (EMPHASIS added).

    I moved to Utah from Alaska and have had respiratory problems ever since.

    It's silly to nitpick the study when everyone knows the air here is substandard.

  • newwest Ferron, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 3:46 p.m.

    Just read the research paper. It "estimates" 202 deaths each year (not necessarily in Utah) due to generation of power using fossil fuel (coal and natural gas). This isn't a scientific study of what has actually occurred. It is an estimate generated by a think tank that makes its living promoting green energy.
    To arrive at the figure of 202 "premature deaths", they estimate how many toxic elements go up the smoke stacks, how widely the toxins are disbursed, what percentage of the toxins are actually inhaled, and how many people would be affected. Here are a few gems from the report:
    “...ozone exposure modeling is based on a single paper in which relationships were derived for a single summertime month more than 10 years ago, so the uncertainties for ozone impacts are likely large and potentially highly biased...”
    “...even the well-characterized estimates have appreciable uncertainties...”
    “...there are significant uncertainties associated with the concentration-response functions for mortality and morbidity outcomes...”
    I think we need more green power. But to say that coal power kills 202 Utahns each year is simply sensationalism at its worst.

  • Eco-Weenie Dayton, OH
    Oct. 19, 2010 3:40 p.m.

    The news article misstates what is in the report.

    The 202 deaths are attributed to emissions from all Utah fossil-fuel sources of electricity, coal and natural gas. Coal is 82% of the total, natural gas is 18%.

    The 202 deaths include both in-state and out-of-state deaths. The Utah deaths are 28, not 202.

    The number of deaths are estimates. They were not determined from death certificates or estimated from epidemiological studies. Instead they were derived (by computer modeling)from estimates of emissions, estimates of exposure levels, and estimated sizes of the populations exposed. Needless to say there is considerable uncertainty in the estimated number of deaths, which the authors of the report acknowledge in the report.

  • JHP Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    And how many lives have coal-fired power plants saved by keeping people cool or warm and providing them light and other necessities?

    Did they factor that into the study?

  • newwest Ferron, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    Does the report say that air pollution kills 202 Utahns each year, or that coal-fired power plants kill that many?
    I find it hard to believe that pollution from our coal-fired plants kills 202 people in Utah (or anywhere else). Most are located in eastern Utah. Given our prevailing west-to-east airflow, I just don't see that many Utahns being exposed.
    I can see how people could be affected by the muck they breathe during inversions along the Wasatch front, but coal fired plants aren't big contributors to that. You could do more good by encouraging mass transit and by discouraging smoking. Oh, wait---we're already doing that.
    Pagan, most of the coal miners and union workers in the power plants are hard-core Democrats. Carbon County has not elected a Republican to any County office in at least 30 years.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 2:20 p.m.

    "The report says Utah should replace its most polluting coal plants with wind and solar power and find ways to conserve energy."

    And we could prevent even more pollution if UTA replaced all the buses with rikushas.....

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 2:00 p.m.


    Oh! The Kool Aid gambit!

    How clever.

    Let's say x5 people live in a typical home in Utah. Because of the economy, let's say x7.

    202 people die, per year in Utah due to coal burning. This report supports that.

    That's 28 homes, empty, due to the 202 dead Utahns per year.

    All this talk of morality, and 'clean living' from the right. And yet, when it comes to actually giving Utahns a clean, healthy way of life...

    it seems our Utah leadership only cares about a tidy profit instead of the health and lives of people who live in Utah.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 1:52 p.m.

    I agree with "sensible scientist"!!

    Its sad to see science become politicized, but that's exactly whats been happening the last few years.

    Utah lawmakers: think this through, how can ANYONE possibly come up with numbers that show a SPECFIC AMOUNT of people died as the result of pollution?

    Smoker?, jogger? both these groups use their lung capacity more.

    Live in a rural area? Still have the same "pollution death rate"? How can that be?

    Too many variables exist to draw any sort of conclusions - UNLESS you're trying to get/cut funding for a particular political agenda.

    Sorry guys, this "theory/study" has holes big enough to drive a truck through!

  • JonRissen Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 19, 2010 1:44 p.m.

    Imagine the lives that would be saved if we all lived in caves and only ate fruits and berries that had fallen freely from the trees and bushes. All these modern conveniences such as electricity and running water have shortened our lives and are killing people. The environmentalists are right.

  • JNA Layton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    No it really doesn't and Utah lawmakers decided not to drink the Kool Aid like you and your cronies Pagan.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 1:26 p.m.

    Time to turn the lights out in california.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2010 1:15 p.m.

    202 dead per year....

    and Utah lawmakers do nothing.

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 19, 2010 1:07 p.m.

    This kind of cause-and-effect study is notoriously hard to prove because so many factors affect mortality -- lifestyle choices, heredity, life history, employment, home environment, hobbies, soils, building materials, eating habits, food sources, drugs, allergies, medical history, house location, and on and on. To say that one thing was the primary cause for a specific number of people's deaths is highly questionable, especially if the study was statistics-based and not a case-by-case study. I urge the legislature to take this report with a big grain of salt.