Consequences of Shutting Down Coal Power Plants

Who will provide jobs in Montana if your coal mines close?

By Tom Harris

I would like to offer my American friends a preview of what may happen if you shut down your coal-fired power plants (June 15 Beacon: “Montana Coal Production Continues to Drop”).

Ontario was once an industrial powerhouse and the home of thousands upon thousands of well paid, manufacturing jobs. But the province lost at least 300,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 15 years when companies either went bankrupt or left Ontario.

This happened largely because our electricity prices have increased 318 percent since 2002, now giving us one of the highest rates in North America. The single most important cause for this staggering rise is that, in the name of “stopping climate change,” we shut down all of our inexpensive coal plants, which, in 2002, provided about 25 percent of our electricity.

Things will likely be even worse for America if President Barack Obama’s climate policies are continued by the next administration. After all, the U.S. gets 33 percent of its power from coal (53 percent in Montana).

Ontarians were too frightened of climate activists to oppose the plan to end coal-fired power generation. As a consequence, we are now dependent on the charity of more wealthy Canadian provinces to survive. Who will provide jobs in Montana if your coal mines close and businesses in the state cannot rely on cheap and reliable electricity generated from coal?

Tom Harris, executive director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Ontario