Coal’s curse

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I have just read Rep. Jonathan McNiven’s editorial in the Missoula Independent regarding the benefits of coal extraction and export to Asian markets (see “Coal is key,” in Letters, April 11). I am in utter disbelief of his globally selfish point of view. It is a fact: Coal is not clean energy and annually kills ten of thousands of innocents. I understand coal must be used in abundance for some time; however, as an elected official (and human being) it is McNiven’s duty to seek and promote the future development of clean forms of energy. In his editorial, he says nothing about promoting a future of clean energy use and the continued creation of related jobs in that sector, which in fact will serve Americans in a positive light. McNiven was elected to protect the health and well being of his constituents (China’s dirty air lands on our shores and kills thousand of their citizens). Montana’s unique landscape and waterways has been desecrated environmentally (Butte will most likely never recover) because of those who world rather create short-term employment and wealth for the few at any cost. To not explore the long-term ramifications of this lack of foresight is insane and selfish. If this extraction of coal comes to be, McNiven will have blood on his hands. China has taken our place in history (lack of air standards) as have many Asian countries. McNiven’s views promote this repulsive action. The harm that will come to so many world citizens surely outweigh the benefits regarding the burning of coal for America’s benefit. Let’s look ahead and protect all lands and air for all our world's future generations, promote clean energy and systematically reduce coal emissions. Expanding coal use is not a solution, it is a curse.

Mark Kersting

Missoula

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