According to a report by the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), Michigan’s nine oldest coal plants are estimated to cost residents $1.5 billion a year in health care costs. This figure includes the following:
- 180 premature deaths
- 233 hospital admissions
- 68,000 asthma exacerbations
- 72,000 instances where children’s activities were restricted
Nationally, the report indicates coal plants are estimated to be responsible for 660 premature deaths and 250,000 asthma-related incidents.
Those are the “coaled” hard facts, folks. Certainly makes clean, renewable energy like solar and wind look a lot more exciting, cost-effective, and healthy. Locally, the Board of Water and Light is in the process of replacing its coal-fired plant with a new natural gas facility and efforts are underway to pressure Michigan State University to replace its coal-fired power plant with a new, clean facility.
Kudos to the BWL for taking a huge step toward a more eco-friendly future. As for MSU, it is time the primary school color and slogan, “Go Green” be applied to everyday operations, as well. Significant efforts have been made on campus, but they all pale in comparison to the environmental impacts of the old power plant.
As a resident of Mid-Michigan, I personally would support and appreciate a quick conversion by the university from coal to clean, renewable forms of energy to power its many buildings and structures.