In response to Dan Rodricks’ column on coal, I would have to say I finally agree with something he wrote.
Dan should cheer up, though. Any visitor to Western Maryland will notice that the entire mountain range in Western Maryland is now littered with wind turbines. They were, of course, built and installed by a company outside Maryland, so our state’s economy did not benefit much from their installation.
In order to build those turbines, however, we had to clear acres of old growth forest, to make the roads to build and access them, and platforms to build them on (at least they weren’t strip mined, am I right?). This then created runoff issues into the streams (but hey, they are on the other side of the Eastern Continental Divide, so it’s all those states on the Mississippi that will suffer). And I understand that the energy required to manufacture the turbines is more than they produce in their first several years, and that they are only turning a fraction of the time, which means we need – wait for it – coal burning plants running continuously to make up the gaps. And finally, in the greatest slap in the face to environmentalists, China (the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world) is building coal-fired power plants. As they Beatles said, “you say goodbye, I say hello.”
Greg Corrigan, Ellicott City