Coal v. Wind: MTR would lose $600 million over 17 years for Raleigh County, WV


Image adapted from cover design for the new report,”The Long-Term Economic Benefits of Wind versus Mountaintop Removal Coal on Coal River Mountain, West Virginia” released yesterday.

  • When externalities such as public health and environmental quality are factored in, a mountaintop removal mine ends up losing $600 million over it’s expected 17 year life. The costs of these externalities are taken in by the public in the form of health expenses and environmental clean up costs as well as lost resources, like ginseng and wild game.
  • A wind farm would remain profitable over its life, forever.The Raleigh County Government would receive $1.74 million each year from the property taxes on a wind farm, whereas only $36,000 would make its way back to Raleigh County from the severance taxes on the coal taken out of Coal River Mountain. And the money from the wind farm comes in forever.
  • A scenario where a local wind industry came to the Raleigh County was considered. In this scenario, over 1700 people would be employed at a local wind turbine production facility. A facility such as this would only be placed in an area where wind farms were going up.

Also see Grist‘s November 24 guest post, “An open letter to Al Gore: Speak now against the rape of Coal River Mountain,” by author Jeff Biggers (bio, email).

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