One of the most blatant attempts to garner welfare is the effort to have power companies paid for stockpiling coal. The rational is it increases reliability. Why not pay grocery stores for keeping the food on the shelf?

If preparing for emergency power is the goal, then why not address the real problem, the weakness of the grid? A simple reality check would show running out of coal simply does not happen, but power line problems are the most frequent problem. If energy were in short supply it would make sense to equip homes with energy-efficient lights and appliances. Little effort has been made to promote energy efficiency.

Natural gas is a reliable and abundant source of energy. Gas turbines, wind turbines and solar power make it possible to decentralize power production. Why not make a more robust power system by diversifying our power supply and providing sensible backup systems? The Garrison Dam is a giant battery. Water in the lake can easily be turned into electric power. Maybe we should pay the Corps of Engineers for storing the water. Maybe we should store water instead of coal? You can grow food with water and it is great to drink in addition to using it for electricity.

As wind, solar and natural gas give coal a difficult time competing should we let the coal lobby do what is best for the industry, but ignore the public?

Mike Quinn, Hazen