After the recent round of headlines and stories proclaiming coal to be cleaner than gas, many people could be excused for actually thinking coal is cleaner than gas. Time to get to the facts, and they are disturbing.
According to official Environmental Protection Agency data, toxic power plant pollution comes almost exclusively from coal and oil power plants and causes the following tragic and expensive health disaster each year:
1. 17,000 premature deaths...again every year;
2. 11,000 non-fatal heart attacks;
3. 120,000 asthma cases;
4. 11,000 acute bronchitis cases among children.
Natural gas power plants do not contribute at all to the above public health disaster.
In fact if gas replaced all the coal and oil power plants emitting the toxic pollution causing the illness and deaths listed above, gas would prevent 17,000 premature deaths each year.
The EPA proposed on March 16th a 20-year-overdue rule requiring power plants to cut their mercury and toxic pollution by essentially 91%. Coal and oil fired power plants could install pollution control equipment to meet that goal and save 17,000 lives. Or their owners could convert them to natural gas.
Gas is orders of magnitude cleaner than coal and oil.