The benefits of coal-based electricity to North Dakota include low electricity costs for homes and businesses, more than 14,000 jobs in the state, and $100 million in annual tax revenues. The coal industry makes our lives better every day, so it’s no wonder the Lignite Energy Council’s newest poll shows voters strongly support coal as an energy source.
Conducted this spring, the poll surveyed 400 voters across the state on a variety of questions related to the use of coal-based energy, the environment, the coal industry, climate change, the future of clean coal, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It revealed broad bipartisan support for the industry and its place in our future. More than 80 percent of Republicans surveyed, as well as Democrats, strongly favor the development of a clean coal power plant, as well as research and development projects focused on capturing carbon dioxide emissions generated by coal-fired power plants.
Coal is the most efficient source of energy in terms of reliability, infrastructure, cost, and the environment, and an investment in clean coal technology projects just makes sense. Coal-fired power plants operate 24/7, unlike intermittent alternative energy sources such as wind and the sun. Wind energy requires vast amounts of space to produce the same amount of energy as coal, and natural gas requires the construction of large, costly pipelines. With coal power plants in place, consumers need not worry about the lights going out.
The coal industry has made great strides in reducing emissions. Yet with all the new regulations the coal industry faces today, most notably the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, it is more crucial than ever to ensure the future and validity of our industry.
Coal has long been America’s most efficient, reliable source of electricity. With the right investment and development of clean-coal projects, it can continue in this role.
We urge our state lawmakers to take these poll results seriously and listen to the voice of the people. North Dakotans want the U.S. Department of Energy, state government and the coal industry to work together to develop a zero-emissions power plant in our state. We have achieved success in the past through partnerships like these, and we can do it again.
A large majority of voters believe the North Dakota coal industry is dedicated to finding cleaner ways to build coal, and 78 percent of them favor research to help capture carbon dioxide emissions generated by coal-based power plants. Voters agree that building a new coal-fired power plant is a wise investment in our future, but we need to act now. Together, we can make this a reality, but we need the support of state lawmakers and the federal government. The momentum and voter popularity is there; now it’s time to get it done.