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My view: Coal plays important role in powering Utah

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Cody Stewart – Op-Ed for the Deseret News

Powering American life and our economy with reliable and plentiful energy sources is a top priority for the state of Utah.

Gov. Gary Herbert has made balanced energy development one of the four cornerstones of his administration. His all-of-the-above approach to energy, as codified in state law, explicitly states Utah will promote the development of “natural gas, coal, oil, oil shale and [oil] sands and renewable energy resources, including geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, biodiesel, hydroelectric and ethanol.”

A key component in that energy portfolio is clean-burning coal. Utah has the 6th highest percentage of coal power generation in the nation. Almost 80 percent of the electricity generated in Utah comes from coal, and its ready abundance is a key factor behind Utah’s supply of abundant, affordable power. Utah coal comes out of the ground markedly cleaner than is found in other parts of the country and our power plants are already using clean burning technologies.

According to the federal Energy Information Administration, the amount of energy the nation generates from burning coal is nine times the amount we get from both solar and wind, combined. Common sense dictates we should continue to use abundant, low-cost resources like coal in a smart, efficient manner. There are technologies that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, and we are using them more than most people recognize.

During the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, President Obama’s stressed heavily that he supported coal workers and the coal industry and he stated unequivocally that our nation wanted to be able to “continue to use this abundant energy source.”

Recent actions, however, call into question President Obama’s commitment to his stated “all-of-the-above” energy policy. (…)

To read more, please visit the Deseret News.