National Geographic : 1981 Dec
Some insistcoal is good. Some insistcoal isbad. We insist its not that black or white. Those who insist that coal isgood point out that we have over 200 billion Stones of economically recoverable \ coal in this country-enough to last us for at least three cen turies at current consumption rates. And, they further point out, .. 'Y6 And to the fact that coal contains ash and sulfur which, if not controlled, can pollute the air when burned. Still, we at Atlantic Richfield's ARCO Coal Company believe that today the advantages of coal outweigh its disadvan tages. And so do the many Americans who have invested with us. That's because these days we have extremely tough environmental laws. Laws that require the restoration of mined lands and the protection of air and water resources. Laws that ensure that coal mine areas are properly re stored and that newly constructed or converted power plants reduce air \ .^~- !/ /I/I, lr.,, r although that represents 90% of our domestic energy resources, coal currently supplies less than 20% of our energy production. It's true, that with greater usage, coal could give us as much as one half of the new energy we'll need between now and the year 2000-enough to help loosen the dangerous ties that bind us to expensive and insecure foreign oil. But those who insist that coal is bad point to abandoned mines which scar the landscape and allow acid water to seep into streams. pollution to protect health and welfare. Of course, environmental con trols are expensive. But they are a worthwhile investment when you consider that the cost of using coal is still less than half of the current cost of using oil. And when you consider that coal can also be converted into transpor tation fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel-reducing even more our depen dence on foreign oil -it seems obvious that we ought to reassess our old prejudices against this most abundant of all fossil fuels. At least Atlantic Richfield thinks so. There are no easy answers. Atlantic Richfield Company iI / i;,22, '^/w'/, I.