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When I read the climate-change guest column by Steven Running (Feb. 16), it was so far off-base I wanted to barf. Forgive me, I still suffer from AGS, or Al Gore Syndrome. A strong rebuttal to his opinion piece is warranted, with some inconvenient realities.

Running thinks we should not mine coal in Montana. He is wrong. Montana sits on a huge gold mine of coal. To not mine it for our energy needs is absolutely insane. The thousands of jobs it would create, and the ongoing boosts to our economies, cannot be ignored. For every chunk of coal we use, it’s that much oil we do not have to import from countries who absolutely hate our guts.

In the 1960s, the main environmental issue was over-population, we were all going to starve. In the 1970s it was global cooling; we were all going to freeze to death. Now it is global warming. Good grief. Do we indeed have global warming? Of course we do. Is it really man-caused? Hardly.

Climate is cyclic; always has been, always will be. Mother Nature sets the thermostat on this good earth; man has very little to do with it. No matter what the temperature is, this planet, mankind and polar bears will easily adapt. Carbon dioxide is not an acid. It is no more a pollutant than water vapor. It is an important part of nature. Plants need it to survive and produce oxygen.

I happen to like global warming. Why? It cuts down on my heat bill. Is that arrogant? Yes, it is. So is the issue of environmentalists continuing to shove this man-made global warming theory down my throat, expecting me to swallow it, just because they think it is good for me. Their theory can not be proven any more than a preacher can prove life after death. When the likes of Running and Gore continue to spew out their doomsday propaganda, I get very concerned; especially when it could drastically affect our taxes, overall economy, and way of life.

Running claimed that the Otter Creek coal mine would produce 1.3 billion tons of coal. Then he stated that the combustion of this coal would result in 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions. So, let me see if I got this straight. One pound of coal will yield 2 pounds of carbon dioxide? Wow. A good scientist should know better. Are we really supposed to be dumb enough to actually believe this mendacious rhetoric? That’s bad math pushing a very slanted, distorted agenda. And people are getting very rich from it. I challenge Running to show his math on paper and prove exactly how he came up with his numbers.

I don’t care about Running’s temperature predictions and I cannot trust what he or any other climate scientist claims about man-caused global warming. I find his and Al Gore’s kind of reasoning and distorted truths totally disgusting. Fortunately, environmentalists are beginning to lose their credibility; folks aren’t buying it any more.

I’m sure Running is very intelligent. But instead of being an absolute obstructionist, and trying to block coal mining completely, without providing viable options to our energy crisis, he should use his intellect to figure out how to capture the carbon dioxide emissions and turn it into oxygen. If plants can do it, perhaps people can too. Running would then be a real hero.

Coal is cool, it is packed with energy, and it can be mined and burned in an environmentally friendly manner. So let’s mine our coal and use it, always with the environment in mind, and reap the benefits accordingly. However, we should get on it right away so we can continue to flip on the lights and heat our homes, before the next global cooling cycle comes roaring back on us again.

If you agree with the above, please send copies to our representatives in Helena. Otherwise, if you are a tree-hugging, global-warming alarmist, please breathe less to reduce your own carbon dioxide emissions, and don’t worry about mine. Instead of telling us what not to do, how about being creative and coming up with something more constructive for a change?

Marshall Cromwell is a retired civil engineer who resides in Missoula.

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