States spend big on importing coal

The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, W.Va.

by Sarah Gardner

The Union of Concerned Scientists found that 11 states each spend more than a billion dollars a year importing coal from other states or abroad. Georgia, North Carolina and Texas are the biggest spenders. Some Midwestern states import too.

Barbara Freese co-authored today's report.

"In Ohio, nearly three quarters of the coal they burn in their power plants came from elsewhere," she says.

Freese contends importers should invest some of that money instead on energy efficiency and renewables.

Mark Durbin at Ohio's First Energy says his utility is starting to do that. They plan to convert one of their six Ohio coal plants.

"Our goal is to have that plant burn 100 percent biomass," says Durbin. "And we're working to make that happen."

First Energy has no choice. Ohio is now demanding that 12 percent of the state's energy come from renewables by 2025. And half the renewable sources must come from Ohio.

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