Op-Ed: Coal's time is over

Carbon pollution harms human health and the environment and is the greatest contributor to climate change. Power plants are the largest sources of carbon pollution. Coal burning produces the greatest amount of power plant pollution.

Coal plants are financial liabilities, as well. So utilities across this nation and world are closing coal plants or converting to different fuels for cleaner, affordable electricity generation. Sadly, Idaho’s largest electric utility is refusing to embrace the future.

In December, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission accepted Idaho Power Co.’s plan to spend $130 million to upgrade emissions controls to continue the life of the Jim Bridger coal plant in Wyoming. However, the commission stipulated that the utility may not rate-base the upgrades now — meaning it cannot automatically add those costs to consumers’ bills. “Because of the uncertain future of coal-fired generation,” the commission said, “we find it unreasonable to prematurely commit ratepayer dollars to support Idaho Power’s investment.”

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