Coal’s bad reputation isn’t deserved

The Oklahoma legislature’s ability to fund core obligations has been greatly affected by our increased dependence on foreign oil.

Oil and gas prices have plummeted as OPEC and foreign countries still have effective control over our state. Factors  – such as the Saudis’ and Iranians’ Shiite/Sunni feud, the Venezuela’s economic crisis and Russian sanctions/ incursions into the Crimea – have compromised our main economic driver.

We need to get off of foreign oil – period. Like drug addicts destroy their health with an addiction, we are destroying Oklahoma’s economy with our dependence.

The Obama administration is gone, folks.

It’s time to start ramping up ” clean fossil fuel” production again. “All of the above,” as Boone Pickens said.

One of all of the above is coal. Growing up as an outdoor enthusiast, I love a clean environment as much as the next guy and anyone who knows me realizes how much I value natural gas. Gas turbine power is my business. That’s a given. But that being said, coal has really gotten a “bad rep.”

Coal supplies almost half of all our electricity in the United States. Thanks to over $50 billion in investments in clean coal technology (CCT) by the industry, coal is an amazing 70 percent environmentally cleaner than it was decades ago.

New clean coal plants are removing a majority of all carbon and sulfur emissions now. Low-sulfur coal and new technology ” scrubbers” are removing these pollutants at incredible rates (90 plus percent). Reclamation efforts have cleaned up our land and waters along with providing new land development by more restorative and less invasive mountaintop removal efforts.

But you will never get the biased, intolerant environmentalists to admit that or even begin to understand the economic dilemma we are facing.

A wise man once said, “Reality needs to be based on evidence and facts – not perception and myths.” The facts are plain and indisputable. Coal is one of our cheapest forms of energy. It is abundant in the United States and reliable. It is not subject to OPEC and creates millions of jobs. We don’t have to import coal – we export it.

Don’t get me wrong. My first love will always be clean–burning natural gas and no fossil fuel electricity beats a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power plant for clean energy. But we need to acknowledge coal has cleaned up its act and it’s time to support it.

Especially after 8 years of destruction by  counterproductive uninformed critics who have little knowledge of it’s critical energy importance and potential.

Like Boone Pickens, this author is “for everything that’s American when it comes to energy.”

That also includes the cost-efficient use of renewable energy. But that same plan must also include coal. As Americans and Oklahomans we should all feel the same way.