Becky Hall & Ann Christenson 3/10/2014

Becky Hall & Ann Christenson’s letter 3/10/2014 to the Press-Citizen

UI should say ‘no’ to fossil fuels

How is a proposed $75 million power plant fueled mostly with natural gas true to the University’s “Vision 2020” goal to achieve 40 percent energy renewability within five years?

Yes, natural gas burns cleaner than any other fossil fuel, but the extraction of natural gas involves fracking, an environmentally disastrous method. Natural gas, an energy source that will soon be obsolete, is not a prudent choice for the future.

Nuclear is not the answer, either, as Jonathan Carlson proposed in the Press-Citizen recently. Carlson presents an excellent argument for moving away from fossil fuels without delay, but many alternatives offer safer, more sustainable solutions for future generations than nuclear.

Thoughtful proposals were offered in the University’s own Anthropocine Symposium last week. For example, Lonnie Thompson, featured speaker from Ohio State University, pointed out that OSU gets 25 percent of its energy from wind. Despite Iowa’s extraordinary production of wind energy, our university hasn’t even begun to tap the wind.

Because of the intermittent nature of wind and sun at this point, they may only be viable as ancillary sources for the proposed power plant, but have geothermal and hydro been considered as we know the use of biomass has? Are the great minds at this university are capable of tackling a problem of this magnitude? We want to believe that within this institution is the knowledge, imagination and creativity for leadership in this type of endeavor, to meet this challenge.

Let’s attain the “Vision 2020” goal of 40 percent renewable by putting our money where our mouth is. Let’s say “no” to fossil fuels.

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