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Reader's View: Lignite coal can help meet carbon goals

I recall in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama campaigned on clean coal to get elected. I believe lignite coal is just that: clean coal. (This is in reference to the "Statewide View" column in the March 29 News Tribune, headlined, "Li...

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I recall in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama campaigned on clean coal to get elected. I believe lignite coal is just that: clean coal. (This is in reference to the "Statewide View" column in the March 29 News Tribune, headlined, "Lignite coal can help meet carbon-free goals.")

In 2015, my husband and I went on a tour of Coal Creek in North Dakota via an annual tour bus Lake Country Power invites co-op members to take. We visited the Falkirk Mine near Bismarck, N.D., where 8 million tons of lignite coal is mined yearly to supply Coal Creek Station, the largest power plant in North Dakota.

The equipment to mine the coal is three times the size of taconite-mining equipment. The coal is less than 200 feet in the ground, and it was interesting to hear that the entire mine area is GPS'd before mining begins so the land can be reclaimed to its original condition. The footprint of mining is basically erased.

Everyone has the belief that coal-powered plants are dirty. We toured the Coal Creek Station. It was surprisingly clean inside and outside. As was noted in the column, lignite coal can help meet carbon-free goals. With our nation's abundance of coal, lignite coal plants are a reliable, clean, and affordable energy source. In North Dakota's case, they're earth-friendly.

Nancy McReady

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The writer is president of the grassroots group Conservationists with Common Sense (cwcs.org).

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