Deseret News Editorial
June 30, 2016
A vote of the Oakland City Council to bar shipments of coal through the city on the way to port has virtually derailed plans to market millions of tons of Utah coal to potential overseas customers. At the same time, Rocky Mountain Power, long a champion of coal-fired electricity, is now pushing programs to offer the benefits of solar power to more of its customers. The two developments are indicators of the cross currents now affecting energy policy, with development of renewable sources clearly moving forward while traditional fossil fuel industries find themselves in a state of eclipse.
In that light, the state’s decision to invest more than $50 million in development of a coal export facility on the San Francisco Bay should be re-examined. Backers of the port may sue to overturn the Oakland council’s action, but it seems unlikely the plan will come to fruition any time soon, if ever, and the money the state is willing to spend to support Utah coal interests could be better spent in assisting those individuals and communities impacted by the diminishing demand for coal-fired power.
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