Regarding the letter “EPA impoverishing seniors”: Pennsylvania’s electricity system is not “at risk of failing.” In 2012, Pennsylvania exported more energy than any other state in the union and it continues to build more power plants.
The EPA does not control the price of energy; energy companies do. The rule to limit carbon dioxide from new and existing power plants will save money in health-care costs and climate-change adaptation. Nationwide, we’ve spent $7 billion re-creating shorelines that are at risk of being swallowed by sea-level rise.
Pennsylvania and the country spend plenty of money supporting the coal industry. Pennsylvania exempts coal from sales tax, losing $120 million every year. Nationally, we lose another $80 million by taxing coal royalties as capital gains rather than as income. Another $40 million is given to coal companies for the clean-up and closure of mines and waste sites. We lost $1 billion in 2011 in the form of cheap leases for coal mining on federal lands not designated as coal-producing areas.
All of this could be used to help low-income citizens pay for energy. Climate change and coal pollution are dangerous and we cannot afford to keep paying off this industry.
The writer is a Clean Air Council (cleanair.org) advocacy coordinator.