“How will America get the energy we need if mountaintop removal coal mining stops?”
If you’ve had many conversations with people about mountaintop removal, you may have been confronted by this question. For those of us who aren’t authorities on the matter, questions like this are sometimes difficult to answer. Luckily, the Associated Press has recently provided us with an excellent reply.
According to an AP article published on May 12, the Energy Department has concluded that America could get 20% of our energy from WIND POWER within 20 years, using technologies which are already possible today.
The Energy Department report states that this would allow for an 18% decrease in total coal consumption. Currently, coal obtained by mountaintop removal amounts to only about 7-10% of all coal burned in America.
This report proves what some energy experts have been asserting for a long time: that the energy provided by mountaintop removal coal could easily be replaced— and significantly surpassed— by wind energy.
It is also important to note that a US Geologic Survey report in 2000 stated that Appalachian coal had already passed peak production, and that what was left would only last another decade or two. Mountaintop removal is a short-term plan for Big Coal to make a fortune, not a long-term energy solution for America.
If America is going to embrace the energy of the future, it is important that we begin building wind turbines in as many optimum locations as possible. We will need our Appalachian mountain ridges INTACT in order to collect wind energy.
So, perhaps the best way to respond to queries about the relationship between mountaintop removal and America’s energy needs would be to pose another question: “How will America get the energy we need if mountaintop removal continues?”