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Where our electric comes from, and where our Florida dollars go

April 21, 2012
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

To the editor:

In the film, Renewal, people are brought together through a concern for keeping their water, air and land protected. I thought of the people of Appalachia (including a doctor) featured in the film. Their beautiful mountain ranges were being decimated by coal companies. The process is called Mountaintop Removal or MTR. The people living in those areas are asking us as consumers to please stop feeding an industry that is destroying their land/water as well as polluting our own air.

And then I wondered, where do we Southwest Floridians get our energy?

The answer I was given is "coal."

And where does that specific coal come from?

I also wondered what effect does it have in our communities?

According to it's own report, "LCEC purchases bulk power services from Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc., a generation and transmission electric cooperative headquartered in Tampa, Florida.", and "LCEC holds two seats on Seminole's Board of Directors, as do nine other electric distribution cooperatives in Florida LCEC is under an all-requirements contract with Seminole through the year 2020."

According to Seminole Electric, its fuel comes from: "coal delivered primarily from mines in western Kentucky and southern Illinois and mines east of the Mississippi." The coal is purchased by Seminole from Alliance Coal, LLC. (part of Alliance Resource Partners). According to the Daily Independent of KY lobbyists of Alliance Coal are working to oppose the Streamsaver Bill, supported by local citizens in KY.

It is also important to know:

Coal produces CO2 gases and other toxins. One of the toxins, mercury, is known to cause brain and birth defects.

*In 2008, Florida spent $1.6 billion importing coal, (and exporting our dollars in the process).

*Florida released nearly 50 million pounds of toxic air pollutants in 2009, with 33.4 million pounds from the electricity sector (68%)."

*According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, Florida is one of the most heavily dependent states on importing coal.

Wouldn't it be more prudent to focus our money and energy on creating a solar/renewable clean energy industry throughout Florida?

We have a free resource that can be harvested, and we're barely using it.

By engaging in a dialogue about these issues with our elected officials and electric cooperative board, voting, and becoming informed, we empower ourselves.

Florida has a bright future if we choose to embrace it. For example, FGCU has a new solar field. There are innovative and clean technologies that we can use here. It is critical to elect bold people that will; support innovation & clean energy. The Sierra Club has been working to address these issues, visit them at:

For a virtual flyover of a mountain removal site go to:

C.A. Hughes

Cape Coral



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