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Don’t be too quick to praise California and New York for their clean-energy policies

The June 4 editorial “What states can do on climate change” praised New York and California for their clean-energy policies. California leads all states in the importation of electricity; New York ranks high. California’s forced closing of the San Onofre nuclear plant removed a large source of in-state generation, and New York’s forced closing of the two nuclear reactors at Indian Point (scheduled for mid-2021) will do the same for it. When a state imports electricity, it avoids the air pollution associated with its manufacture.

Both states have hopped on the bandwagon of renewables, which usually means wind and solar. Neither state comes close to manufacturing all the wind turbine towers, nacelles and blades it has installed. They import most of those as well. Huge towers and nacelles require making a lot of steel and concrete, both heavy polluting processes. The noxious chemicals and resins released during manufacture of turbine blades remain toxic to the environment for decades. California has one blade-manufacturing plant, near Los Angeles, so its toxins flow either south or into the ocean. Solar-panel manufacturing is another highly polluting process.

California leads the nation in blackouts and brownouts, and it costs the state dearly. New York sits firmly in third place in blackouts and will likely move up to second (no state will overtake California anytime soon) when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) succeeds in closing Indian Point.

Lin Edgar Moyer, Takoma Park