Rutkowski: We Energies promoting false dilemma on coal

Rutkowski: We Energies promoting false dilemma on coal

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In defense of what is increasingly difficult to defend, We Energies executives present us with a stark choice either we continue to burn coal or we risk losing power during the next polar vortex. It’s a false dilemma, a fear tactic that’s much more persuasive than arguing to protect shareholder returns.

The argument that coal is more reliable is one of the last excuses left for the company that must justify paying more for a fuel source that pollutes our air and water and contributes greatly to our climate crisis. The truth is that as more coal plants are retired, utilities have successfully adopted a variety of strategies and technologies to keep pace with a rapidly evolving energy industry. No one has been left shivering in the dark.

New leadership at We Energies might recognize that time spent defending the fuel of the 19th Century is time wasted at a critical moment. More flexible, innovative management would understand that the $75 million dollars a year ratepayers lose by keeping the outdated South Oak Creek coal plant operating is money better spent preparing for a future that will depend on carbon-free electricity.

Strong turnout at February’s water permit hearings and 600 public comments resulted in the tightening of DNR regulations on We Energies’ discharge of mercury into Lake Michigan. Tell the PSC to deny We Energies’ rate increase by submitting comments to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission website. 

Tom Rutkowski, Southeast Gateway Sierra Club and Clean Power Coalition

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