About The Coal Truth

As proud members of the coal industry, our purpose is simple: we want to advance human progress by providing the world’s most affordable, plentiful, reliable and safe energy to consumers and industry. We joined the coal industry because we believe it is the best source of energy for billions of people around the world.

Many believe that coal is an outdated, dangerous fuel of the past. We disagree. We believe that an unbiased look at the positives and the negatives of coal shows that the case against coal rests on widespread myths, and that the truth is coal is good for our lives, good for our health, good for our environment–good for human progress.

You’ve heard the myths…now hear The Coal Truth.

 


Myth Part 1: Coal power harms human health by generating unsafe emissions levels.

The Coal Truth: Modern coal power improves human health through providing reliable, affordable power at safe emissions levels.

  • To understand coal power’s impact on health we need to look at the whole truth–both its health benefits and health costs.
  • Assessing the benefits: Reliable, affordable energy from coal is crucial to human health.
  • Assessing the costs: Modern coal power has low emissions levels that are perfectly healthy.
  • The best policy: Communities should choose the energy sources that are the best combination of reliable, affordable, and safe–instead of the government discriminating against coal power.
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Myth Part 2: Coal power is no longer necessary because natural gas and others outcompete it.

The Coal Truth: Coal power is the best solution for millions of Americans and billions around the world, providing the most reliable, affordable power.

  • Communities around the world should choose the energy that is most reliable, affordable, and safe.
  • Coal power is often the most reliable solution; it has such extreme reliability it can handle a month’s delay in fuel supply.
  • Coal power often has the lowest prices–with far more long-term stability than natural gas prices.
  • Modern coal power is safe, featuring low emissions levels that are perfectly healthy for communities.
  • The best policy: Communities should choose the energy sources that are the best combination of reliable, affordable, and safe–instead of the government discriminating against coal power.
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Myth Part 3: Coal power is causing so much dangerous global warming that it needs to be stopped.

The Coal Truth: Coal power is contributing to at most mild global warming but major global greening–while giving us reliable, affordable energy to make all climates livable.

  • To understand coal power’s impact on climate we need to look at the whole truth–both its climate benefits and climate costs.
  • Benefits: Coal power is contributing reliable, affordable energy to make the earth’s naturally dangerous climate more livable–and its contribution to higher CO2 levels causes global greening.
  • Costs: Coal power’s CO2 emissions are contributing to mild, not major, global warming–which is very manageable as long as we have affordable energy.
  • The best policy: The government should not try to stop global greening and global warming by restricting CO2 levels; it should leave us free to choose the best sources of energy for prosperous lives and ample climate protection.
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Myth Part 4: The EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) is an effective way to substantially lower CO2 and other emissions at virtually no cost.

The Coal Truth: The CPP, by restricting communities’ freedom to choose their power sources, will dramatically increase power prices and increase climate danger.

  • If it saved money to shut down plants prematurely and use unreliable energy from solar and wind, the government wouldn’t have to force communities to do it.
  • The CPP makes energy more expensive and unreliable, which is bad for every aspect of life–including health and climate safety.
  • When energy becomes more expensive and less reliable, every price in our lives eventually goes up–food, clothing, shelter, medical care–which hurts the lowest income most of all.
  • Health problems caused by high energy prices include: not being able to afford nutritious food, not being able to afford sufficient heat in the winter, not being able to afford sufficient air-conditioning in the summer, and blackouts.
  • Climate danger problems caused by high energy prices include: no protection from extreme heat and cold, flimsier buildings, more frequent blackouts.
  • The government should let communities decide on the best power to meet their needs–and those concerned about CO2 should create competitive alternatives, not expensive and unreliable burdens.
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Myth Part 5: New Source Review, which forces plants to use the “best available” emissions control technology, protects the health and well-being of citizens.

The Coal Truth: By mandating the “best available” technology, which is often expensive and unnecessary, New Source Review prevents plants from making the cost-effective upgrades that would truly benefit citizens.

  • The best upgrade policy is the one that gives citizens the best combination of reliability, affordability, and safety.
  • In many parts of the country (e.g., North Dakota) coal plants can meet high air quality standards without the “best,” most expensive technologies.
  • Communities should be free to pursue upgrades and expansions not with the “best available” technology but with the most cost-effective technology.
  • The “best available” standard is preventing communities from upgrading and expanding coal plants in ways that would help their prosperity and environmental quality.
  • Analogy: If instead of letting a Hyundai owner buy a new catalytic converter you said they could only upgrade to the “best available”–an $80,000 Tesla–you would be making that customer, and air quality, worse off, which is exactly what New Source Review does.
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Myth Part 6: Renewable tax credits are win-win-win: they help our economy, our environmental quality, and our climate safety.

The Coal Truth: Renewable tax credits increase our dependence on unreliable, costly energy by forcing taxpayers to subsidize uncompetitive technologies.

  • Solar and wind require subsidies because, left free to choose, people prefer affordable, reliable alternatives.
  • Per unit of energy, solar and wind are the most heavily subsidized forms of energy by far.
  • By encouraging us to burden the energy grid with unpredictable sources of energy, solar and wind increase the cost of energy, as they have in places like Germany.
  • We should level the playing field by ending, not equalizing, energy subsidies.
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