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Coal

When I decided to leave my home state of Kentucky to attend the University, I thought I had wisely invested my out-of-state tuition money and, more importantly, my future in a community of students and faculty who uphold a unique honor code and a communion of trust between each individual. After reading the article on the "Beyond Coal" campaign in the Fall Break edition of The Cavalier Daily ("'Beyond Coal' gathers support," Oct. 8), however, I was severely disappointed to see a fact about the coal so grossly misrepresented at the University.

First, I must respectfully applaud Graham Welch for his wonderful work for the University and its students. But the following statement from his column bothered me: "The coal the University uses comes from Kentucky, not from harmful mountaintop removal." As if the mere notion of mining and using coal is not harmful, coal from Kentucky is not mined from mountaintop removal? After reading and writing so much about mountaintop mining back in high school science, I could only stare with disbelief at the question. According to the Kentucky Division of Fossil Fuels & Utilities Services, 92.2 percent of Kentucky's electricity comes from coal harvested through mountaintop removal in Eastern Kentucky. Even as I drove through Kentucky on my way to Virginia, I could see considerable damage from coal mines and coal power plants. To say that coal from Kentucky is more benign than coal mined through mountaintop removal is both misguided and inaccurate.

Any coal is bad and harmful. Regardless of whether a coal power plant has 99 percent efficiency or a continuous emissions monitoring system, coal causes insurmountable harm when mined and disposed. Unfortunately, Welch's article failed to address that point.\n\nDavid Kwon\nCLAS I

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