Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

April 30, 2013

SHADES OF GREEN: Hoosiers are smart enough to have energy options

(Continued)

On the Indiana Chapter of the Sierra Club web page it warns us “In 2009, the Indiana Legislature quietly passed a bill which would force Indiana natural gas consumers to assume all the financial risks for an expensive new coal gasification plant proposed by New York-based Leucadia National Corp.

But there are some problems with the gasification method because it uses a complicated technology and high-temperature chemistry to turn coal into a synthetic natural gas. However, the synthetic gas it produces can’t compete with the price of natural gas.  

Leucadia is a private business, not an electric utility. Yet Indiana ratepayers will cover the losses, and potentially be stuck with a polluted, worn-out coal gasification plant as our reward. Under the contract between Leucadia and the state, Hoosier gas utility customers will pay 100 percent of any losses during the 30-year startup period for the plant.  

This is something that I think is something we should all talk about — we don’t want to raise taxes to help out social causes but we are willing to pay for Leucadia’s losses?

A new excise tax will be placed on utility bills for Indiana gas customers, except for industry and large businesses. If the project is such a good deal, why are industrial and large commercial customers excluded from paying for it?

New jobs in coal mining and syngas production will come at the expense of jobs elsewhere in the state. According to the IU study: “The winners are workers in coal mining and (syngas) production. The losers are workers predominately in retail and manufacturing. In broad strokes, one might say that mining and synthetic natural gas production jobs come at the expense of jobs in other sectors.”

In fact, IU estimates 1,800 jobs will be lost, on average, each year if the plant is built as planned.

I love to see wind and solar installations in the state of Indiana because:

1 — I think they truly are a beautiful alternative energy source;

2 — They don’t produce harmful emissions that will affect our future, and

3 — We are smart enough to know we have more than our one option that powers Indiana’s energy production — and intelligent enough to think about our future generations.

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