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Air Quality

Think Tank Responds to Report on Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuels: Yawn

1:48 PM PDT on October 20, 2009

The National Academy of Science's new report
on the hidden health costs of U.S. reliance on fossil fuels has
generated high-profile media coverage around the country, most of it focusing on the $62 billion annual estimate for coal rather than the $56 billion projection for vehicles.


But Greenwire's write-up is particularly interesting, if only for its responses from the National Mining Association and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative and climate-denying D.C. think tank that has taken $2 million from Exxon Mobil this decade. From the Greenwire piece (sub.req'd.):

"Energy production from fossil fuels causes air
pollution, which damages people's health and welfare. That was big news
-- in the 1970s," Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive
Enterprise Institute, wrote in an e-mail. "Did we really need a
346-page study with more than 50 expert contributors to tell us that?" ...

"That aside, without energy, we'd all freeze in the dark," Lewis added.
"The net cost of not having energy vastly outweighs the supposed
'hidden' costs."

Lewis' quip about "the net cost of not having energy" was similar in
substance from the that of the Mining Association, which asserted that
"the health and welfare benefits" of burning coal for electricity
"clearly outweigh the cost."

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