Dear Editor: Clean air is a right that all Wisconsinites should have. With coal providing about two-thirds of our electricity, the air we breathe is not as clean as it should be. Burning coal creates large amounts of particulate matter, which causes respiratory illness in thousands of people. Coal plants are a top source of the chemicals that cause acid rain once they’re released into the air. Producing electricity with coal also contributes to global climate change, since coal plants are one of the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a recent article in The Capital Times, the EPA has found nine coal-fired power plants in Wisconsin with significant violations of the Clean Air Act. Both the EPA and the DNR have too much to do and too little time and money to keep up with every coal plant that’s polluting more than it ought to. Plus, loopholes in laws allow older power plants to keep contaminating the air without installing proper pollution controls.
Now is the time for coal-fired power plants in Wisconsin to clean up their act. Ultimately we need to work for clean, sustainable, renewable energy. In the meantime, implementation of stronger pollution controls by the coal plants currently in operation would go a long way toward letting everyone breathe easier.