Comment from Merrill, Rodney L.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council draft power and conservation plan gets plenty right in its vision of the next 20 years but it does not go far enough if we are serious about eliminating dirty power and reducing green house gases dramatically. Now is no time for temerity or gamesmanship. The stakes may well be our survival. The plan needs to go further. Anything less will not do the job and is unacceptable. The million-ton "elephant in the room" is coal. The draft plan is admirably aggressive on pursuing energy efficiency and increases in renewable-energy; but it shamefully sidesteps the issue of coal use which produces 23 percent of this region’s electricity but spews out 85-90 percent of the region’s pollution. Oregon law calls for a 75-percent cut in 1990’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a figure that can only be reached with a virtual elimination of coal emissions from the power system. In a time long passed when there were four billion fewer people on the planet,coal might have a place. It is clear that the days of coal power are over. Simply put, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s draft is a very good start. But it falls short. There is much difficult work left to do.