Plenty of room for both coal- and gas-fired power

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — As strong defenders of coal and its importance to West Virginia’s economy, we find ourselves at an unusual point: Disagreeing with coal supporters.

Recently, the West Virginia Coal Association and miners’ groups have come out against natural-gas fired power plants like the one being discussed in Harrison County.

They fear a natural-gas fired plant would hurt coal-fired plants like the Harrison Power Station in Haywood.

On the surface, we can see their concern. Natural gas is much cheaper to produce and burn than coal. And we all know that coal has been targeted by the Obama Administration’s EPA.

The Harrison Power Station “sustains the employment of about 500 miners at the Harrison County Mine,” WV Coal Associated President Bill Raney told Staff Writer Jeremiah Shelor.

“You begin to take away from that generation capacity and its ability to make power, because it’s being made by low-cost natural gas … you begin to not use it as much, not use that plant as much, then you won’t have as many coal miners working, not as much property tax paid.”

Raney’s points are well taken. And we’re especially concerned over the tax breaks the new power plant would receive when compared to the taxes paid by the Harrison Power Station.

But we also know that there is plenty of need for the electricity currently being generated at Harrison Power, as well as the additional capacity that would be provided by the gas-fired plant…

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