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Reader's view: Solar power can help us stop pollution from coal power plants

When I want to use an appliance in my home that requires electricity or when I want lighting in a room I just flip a switch. When my electrical power is compromised — by a storm, for example — I conveniently call Minnesota Power and I am courteously informed that a crew will be alerted to the source of the outage. How nice!

When I purchase an energy-efficient appliance, such as a new furnace, I receive a rebate from Minnesota Power. So in the comfort of my home I am provided for all my electrical needs at a monthly rate I responsibly pay to Minnesota Power.

Minnesota Power uses coal to power the electrical plant at Taconite Harbor, which is putting sulfur dioxide into the air we breathe while hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail, which passes by the power plant. So not only do I pay my monthly electrical bill, I pay as well for the damage coal pollution causes to human health: asthma; heart attacks and premature deaths, especially in children, the elderly and people with respiratory diseases.

Consequently, on May 7, the Sierra Club delivered a “bill” for the cost of coal pollution and offered testimony indicating coal pollution takes quite a toll on human and environmental health.

I understand Minnesota Power purchased wind energy from North Dakota and hydroelectric power from Canada. I applaud Minnesota Power for the renewable energy resources. Now it appears we must urge Minnesota Power to continue to replace coal-fired plants with those powered by renewable sources.

How about solar energy? Could we as a community buy interest in solar gardens to not only help with our monthly utility costs but to cooperate with Minnesota Power in generating clean electric power for our homes and businesses?

What do readers think about this?

Norm Herron