Coal’s last gasp

letter in The Kansas City Star

August 21, 2016

Last month, the Energy Information Administration released its 2016 Annual Energy Outlook. U.S. coal production is projected to decline 26 percent between 2015 and 2040.

The decline will continue with or without the Clean Power Plan. In a coal-consuming state like Missouri, the plan will speed up this reduction.

It’s no secret that the clean-energy industry has been growing nationwide. In Missouri, solar roadways are being piloted, millions of dollars are being invested in community solar, and utilities in western Missouri are purchasing hundreds of megawatts of wind power.

Moving beyond coal is how Missouri should embrace its clean-energy future. With coal production declining, that also means that coal jobs are on the downturn.

The right response is to help communities transition from coal. This means coal companies such as Peabody and Arch should pay for mine cleanups, compensate workers and work with labor to transition to clean-energy jobs.

The Clean Power Plan is the future. Missourians can reap the benefits of better health and better jobs and save on utility bills.

Rajiv Ravulapati of St. Louis is a 2011 graduate of Loyola University in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. The Chicago native moved to St. Louis to work for the Citizens Utility Board, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. He is conservation coordinator with the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club.