Garden City Telegram from Garden City, Kansas on July 14, 1976 · Page 8
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Garden City Telegram from Garden City, Kansas · Page 8

Garden City, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, July 14, 1976
Page 8
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With More Coal Here Than Arabs Have Oil Is Energy Independence for U.S. Just a Dream? TTtJ:* »_ XT_I_ i . _ . ^^^^ * , • ^ . Editor's Note: Americfc has far more coal than the Arabs have oil. After the 1973 embargo, the United States launched a plan to tap those rich coal seams as a step toward energy independence. What's happened to coal, our biggest energy alternative to oil and gas, since then? This last article in a series on energy alternatives is a progress report, By JOHN BRONSON Associated Press Writer Coal was supposed to be America's answer to the energy crisis. But three years after the Arab oil .embargo, little has been done to take advantage of the nation's most abundant fuel. . An estimated 18.6 per cent of the U.S. energy needs will be met by coal this year. That's only a 1 per cent increase since the embargo. With those statistics in- mind, many experts predict that the drive to wean the nation from foreign oil will flop unless the government forges a clear energy policy that encourages more use of coal. "Our political leadership has done absolutelyjiothing," said Carl Bagge, president of the National Coal Association. "There's been rhetoric and energy scenarios, and we have established a vast new bureaucracy of incompetents to worry about the problem. "But we are in worse shape today than before th'e oil cutoff." The figures bear him out. In March, the United States imported more oil than it produced for the first time in its history. The American Petroleum Institute says the nation now imports 42 per cent of its oil. Before the embargo, it was 32 per cent. The United States has an estimated coal reserve that could last 300 years. For that reason, coal is looked on as the best way to avoid the fluctuations of the world oil market by substituting it for oil and natural gas wherever. possible. Besides its traditional use as a fuel for making electricity, coal can also be converted into synthetic natural gas and gasoline. ELKS LODGE Hawaiian Luau FRIDAY, JULY 16 7 P.M. to ??? Dance To The CONTINENTALS 8:30 to 11:30 Get Your Reservations Now!! The main area for expansion right now is in the conventional uses of coal. And coal is cheaper to burn than oil. The contract price per BTU — British Thermal Unit, a standard energy measurement — for oil in January was about $1.96 versus 78 cents for the same amount of energy from coal, the Federal Power Commission says. So why aren't we using more coal? We planned to. At the height of the embargo, when about 590 million tons of coal was being mined, then President Richard M. Nixon called for a tripling of production by 1985. But forecasters no longer dream of reaching that goal. The latest report by the Federal Energy Administration calls for output to top one billion tons by 1985. While recent production has increased — 640 million tons was mined in 1975 and this year's estimate is 664 million tons — some experts still see the goal as too high. "If we exerted a superhuman effort and if we removed all the roadblocks and obstacles to developing all the new coal mines which we need, we would probably still fall short of this forecast," said Gerald Gambs, vice president of the engineering firm of Ford, Bacon & Davis. "Since I see no hope "that anyone in Washington either understands the problem or in fact seems to care, I believe it will be impossible," he added. What rankles the industry the most is what it sees as the lack of direction at the federal level. At the same time that ambitious production goals are set, coal producers say obstacles are also placed in their path. The worst, they say, involve the environment. Amendments to the Clean Air Act that took effect last year set stiff limits for the WE WANT tO THANK THE FOLLOWING MAKING OUR 1976 JAMBOREE A SUCCESS Enresman Packing Uughlin Electric Arnold's TV & Sound Clyde Sober, Manager Gibson Discount Center Goodtimes Communications Jaeger Implement-Leoti Sport Center-leoti Betty's Ceramics-Leoti Northside Grocery Wittman AG-Copeland Bill's IGA - Ulysses Garden City Color Center Firestone Standard Supply Bfibiesca's Larger Size Clothing Rome Jewelry OTASCO Garden City Co-op Farm Center Machine Supply Garden Belle Lumber Navrats Collin's Furniture Circle K Auto Parts Scheufler Supply Carpet Gallery Sherwin-Williams Taco Tico Jim & Marilyn Fulton Garden National Bank Fidelity State Bank Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. Sirloin of America Steak Pit Woody's Robo Garden Bowl Unique Beauty Shop Quint Automotive Bob's 83 Restaurant Kemper Electric Jerry Chmelka Mickey's Mart Southwest Carpet & Tile Or. Terry Hunsberger R. W. Hunsberger Buzz Inn Coyote's Sport Center Eads True Value Hardware Books Etc. Golden Crown Meschke's Mens & Boys Wear Mayo's Mens Wear Dave Crabb Electric Western State Bank Crazy House • ••••* • I & M Paint & Wallpaper Plaza West Furniture Dart In Superette Ed Porter Lumber Fashion Two-Twenty ALCO Merle Norman Cosmetics Geier Electric Gamble Store Five Points 66 Pizza Hut Ward's Lawn ft Garden Center Lazy R McGraw Market Oswalt's Farr Better Feeds Old World Imports Santa Fe Motors-Deerfield Renick No. 2 Golden Plains Credit Union Americana Shoppe Mark II Pedals & Wheels Barber Ready Built Homes Chamber of Commerce Big R Walco-lnternational Schiffelbein Transmission Southwest Kansas Oxygen Delta Supply Southwestern Bell Telephone Quality Oil - Deerfield Lee Ballinger Safeway Spencer's Carry Out Master Feeders Cramer's Harvestore Rodeo Meats-Arkansas City Denny's IGA-Scott City Garland El Rancho Cafe-Holcomb Ball Trucking Sig's AG Foods-Dodge City Dodge House-Dodge City Burtis Motor Kenny & Sharon Kuhn Peoples Natural Gas Luau Inn Myron Shrader Keller-Leopold Insurance Kirby Vacuum Great Plains Chemical Brookover Enterprises Electron fleifhe r; , ; "v .."•% ^ D-H Mobile Homes-Darell-Wright Horn ft Hoof Cafe Western Motors Team Electronics Herb's Carry Out Specialty Haus Peerless Plastics Roger Ramsey Minter-Wilson Drilling Highpockets Linen Gallery Triple S Steel & Concrete Silver Horseshoe Western Wear Waterman Industries Production Credit Assn. Frontier Federal Savings ft Loan Brake Stop Yankee Doodler Coffee Ann Baker's Popcorn Jim Belknap Fansler Tires Garden City Meat Service Center Coast-to-Coast Sonic Chuck's Auto Reapir-Holcomb Coca-Cola Masher's Golf Carts Knights of Columbus Steve's Sewing Center Cash & Carry Anthony's Carl's Charburger Duane Billinger Ron Remschner Wharton's Greg's Shirt Shack Pay Day IGA-Dodge City Ray's Truck I Implement Valley Feeders-Scott City Porter's Flowers I Gifts El Zarape Lee Construction Berry Tractror George ft Bertie McGrew Cardinal Engraving-Sharon, Oklahoma 0 & L Sign & Engraving-Wichita Ideal Food Store Garden City let Co. Myers Milk Products Miller Tractor Work Miller Insurance & Real Estate Agency GARDEN CITY COUNTRY BUMPKINS CB CLUB emission of sulfur dioxide. The act has, in effect, outlawed the burning of virtually all coal mined east of the Mississippi River. "So far the standards have not been strictly enforced and variances have been granted," said Ralph Bailey, chairman of second-ranked Consolidation Coal Co. President Ford agrees with the energy industry and has asked Congress to ease the law so that more high-sulfur coal can be burned. But the Senate has responded with a bill that will actually tighten the restrictions. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency insists that the technology exists to remove sulfur from coal when it is burned. The devices are called scrubbers and they literally wash out sulfur dioxide from stack gases at electric generating plants. Many utilities say the scrubbers are unreliable, and others are hesitant to install them because they don't know if further changes in the law will make the equipment obsolete. "We don't know from one day to the next, if we'll be able to burn the coal," said Henry Brown, of the Keystone Bituminous Coal Association. Scrubbers are also expensive. For instance, one- third of the $1.3 billion price tag for the Bruce Mansfield power station at Shippingport, Pa., went for pollution controls, including scrubbers. Tackling that problem has created another. Once the plant is at full capacity, nearly three million tons of a toothpaste-like sludge will ooze out of the scrubber each year. The utilities involved at Bruce Mansfield have to dump the waste behind the largest earthen dam in the eastern United States. The American Electric Power system — AEP — one of the nation's largest utility combines, refuses to use scrubbers. Instead, it has built smokestacks that sometimes tower more than 1,000 feet *•(.. overs its v plants > to •,disperse sulfur emissions high into the air. The company also mixes lowsulfur coal with its regular supplies in order to comply. The need to do so at the Gallipolis, Ohio, plant is a graphic example of the predicaments some utilities face. The General James Gavin plant lies in the heart of the Ohio-West Virginia coal region. Since that coal contains too much sulfur to be burned by itself, AEP ships in low-sulfur coal from the West. Thus, there is the spectacle of barges hauling coal from Wyoming and Utah up the Ohio River passing barges loaded with local coal headed downstream. x Western coal, most of which is low in sulfur, would make the use of scrubbers unnecessary in many cases. The area between Montana and Arizona has nearly half of the nation's known coal reserves. Since most of that coal lies just below the surface and in seams up to 100 feet thick, the easiest and cheapest way to recover it is through strip mining. But memories of strip- scarred land back East and fear of unchecked development in the West has led to a number of environmental actions that have stymied production. One prominent casualty has been the gigantic Kaiparowits power plant project in Utah, abandoned in April because backers didn't want to fight regulatory delays and environmental lawsuits. Their opponents, eager to halt what they see as the rape of the scenic West, hailed the decision as a victory."We don't want the Mountain States to become the boiler room of the nation," said one Montana official. President Ford has vetoed two attempts to establish national strip mine laws, but it appears Congress will bring the measure up again. Coal operators oppose the move, arguing that state regulations are enough. "The people who are talking about regulating strip mining on the federal level are talking about no mining at all. They simply want to prohibit it," said Howard Frey, executive vice president for Westmoreland Coal Co. Environmental hurdles are not the only ones the coal industry faces. Productivity has nosedived in the past six years from a peak of 19.90 tons per man-day in 1969 to 15.15 tons last year. Part of the drop is due to tough federal safety regulations that took effect in 1970, but high absenteeism and wildcat strikes by miners have also taken their toll. United Mine Workers President Arnold Miller succeeded in negotiating a generous contract for miners in 1974 — they average $50 a day not counting overtime — but he has had trouble controlling the membership. The union's International Executive Board recently suspended two West Virginia miners who led a series of wildcat strikes, and operators hope that relatively rare move is an indication that the UMW will exert firmer control in the future. Get Results Want Ads Any new growth by the coal industry will also require huge amounts of capital, estimated as high as $25 billion. Says Consol's Bailey: "All of the growth will have to come from new mines, produced by equipment that doesn't exist today, operated by miners who have not yet been hired or trained and transported in rail cars that haven't been built running over rail lines ... too dilapidated to be safe or efficient." Page 9 Garden City Telegram Wednesday, July 14,1976 Individual Dignity Philip C. Vieux for County Attorney. Pd. for by P. C. Vieux — Pol. Adv. LIVE! AT THE GRAIN BIN "CHOPS" 9:30-12:30 ARE YOU OVER 40? AN ADDITIONAL 10% DISCOUNT WILL BE OFFERED TO ALL CUSTOMERS, 40 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, ON ALL SALE MERCHANDISE THRU SATURDAY JULY ITTH. OPEN THURSDAY NIGHT. ear IT'S SO SIMPLE AND EASY TO TAKE YOUR FILM TO MELLERS PHOTO DRIVE-IN STORE in Garden City On Taco John's Parking Lot—303 E. Kansas PICTURE AMERICA ON AMERICAN-MADE COLOR PRINT PAPER COUPON ENLARGEMENT SPECIAL 8x10 COLOR ENLARGEMENTS From Color Negatives Have enlargements made for friends and relatives at this low price Special price from color negatives only Does not apply to color slides COUPON GOOD ONE WEEK MELLERS PHOTO DRIVE-IN STORE Taco John's Parking Lot in Garden City COUPON MONEY SAVING COUPON II i i I HALF-DAY CLEAR-AWAY TOMORROW.. .STORE OPENS 12:00 NOON OPEN 'TIL 8:30 P.M. 6 I I STORE-WIDE SALE! •it =s—mo-

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