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Yvonne Besyk: Utilities must shutter coal plants

Yvonne Besyk: Utilities must shutter coal plants

Dear Editor: If you have been to the Northwoods of Wisconsin you know the sound of a loon. That haunting sound influenced me to care strongly about the environment from childhood on. Back then loon and eagle populations were declining. But they have since improved because people saw the effects of DDT and made necessary changes. To me, that proves we can do it again.

But we can’t make progress on climate change if we continue to use fossil fuels. Here in Wisconsin we have seen some positive changes. Utilities are closing some coal plants and replacing them with new solar, wind and battery storage.

To keep up that momentum we must avoid any new infrastructure that locks us into fossil fuel use. That means abandoning specific proposals: WE Energies gas storage, Enbridge’s Line 5 and Dairyland Coop’s gas plant.

It also means urging utilities to close the remaining coal plants:

Elm Road (Milwaukee County, We Energies); Manitowoc (City of Manitowoc); Weston (Marathon County, WEC Energy); Madgett (Buffalo County, Dairyland Power Coop).

Unfortunately, the realities of climate change are upon us. In Wisconsin, we have seen increased flooding, crop loss, air pollution, dangerously hot days and more in just the last four years. Thinking we can continue to use fossil fuels with impunity is a mindset that we can no longer afford.

I recently returned from an annual trip to the Northwoods and heard the loons again. It gave me new hope that we can make the changes needed to keep moving forward.

Yvonne Besyk

Salem

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