A March 14 piece regarding Dr. Alan Lockwood's book tour repeats incorrect information Lockwood uses to buttress his claims (see "Black cloud" in Letters). Clearly, a clarification is needed.
First, the research in Europe and Japan linking diabetes to the onset of Alzheimer's disease does not link either condition to coal. Further, Dr. Lockwood completely misstates the findings of a 2009 National Academies Study, which he says estimates "the additional heath care costs because of pollutants from those [coal] plants totaled $62 billion a year." The analysis uses 2005 emissions data to model a range of potential costs: Health care is not one of them. The same study uses these parameters to estimate the costs from cars and trucks to be $56 billion annually.
Coal-based generation as well as cars and trucks have continued to reduce their emissions profile since 2005thereby reducing the calculated potential costs. Neither the NAS study nor Dr. Lockwood evaluate the positive economic or health-based contributions of affordable electricity used to power home heating and air conditioning, water treatment facilities or other benefits of modern society.
Senior Vice President, Communications
National Mining Association