The #1 polluter in Oregon, happily profiting by destroying the climate. Image via WikipediaMagicians trick us by getting us to watch the wrong thing. So too with corporations. When challenged for numerous bad acts, they like to focus your attention on the one that they have a ready response for, which has the effect of directing the conversation away from the most serious problems and focusing it on the one that they'd prefer you think about:
PGE did right thingThus, with PGE, which is starting to grudgingly come out of the dark ages on the neurotoxic mercury emissions from its Boardman coal plant---the better to avoid discussion of the plant's CO2 emissions (the biggest in the entire state of Oregon) . . . emissions that the mercury control equipment will actually increase!
A letter to the editor Oct. 10 regarding the Boardman power plant ("Boardman must close") makes a good point: Pollution from mercury is a significant environmental and health concern.
That's why Portland General Electric participated in and supported the most comprehensive study of the sources of mercury pollution in Oregon to date, several years ago, in cooperation with the Oregon Environmental Council. That's also why we've agreed to install new emissions equipment that will allow the Boardman plant to meet one of the most stringent mercury control standards in the nation.
Cleaning up mercury in our environment from human sources -- mine wastes, cement kilns, power plants and other industrial activities -- is good public policy. We're working hard to aggressively reduce the Boardman plant's environmental impact while keeping this dependable source of electricity available for our customers.
Plantico is director of environmental policy for Portland General Electric.
That's because all the exhaust-pollution control equipment on the emissions stream at Boardman will reduce the plant's operating efficiency, meaning that it will burn more coal to produce the same amount of power. For PGE, the goal is ensuring high profits from combustion of "cheap" coal (only cheap because they don't have to include the cost of sending the climate into a chaotic new unstable state) for decades more -- even as they pass every dime of the cost of the p0llution controls onto ratepayers.
It's lemon socialism at its finest --- PGE creates the problem, we have to pay to clean it up, and they get to profit even MORE from both creating the problem AND from what we spend to clean it up (the cost of the pollution control equipment is considered "capital investment" by PGE, so it shows up as "their" investment when rates are set, so they get a bigger flow of cash every year in return for using our money to fix only the smallest part of their pollution problem and ignoring the truly critical CO2 problem). Nice, eh!
The letter also shows how nicely Oregon's environmental groups have been coopted and outplayed by PGE--- they do most of the misdirection work for PGE for free, persuading people to focus on tiny incremental improvements in the plant's pollution output, while not mentioning the only solution that makes sense from an economic or environmental point of view: shutting down Boardman ASAP.