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In reference to Steven Running’s guest column against mining Montana coal (Feb. 16), and my response questioning his math (guest column, March 1), I would like to address those who promptly raked me over the coals (pun intended) in his defense. God forbid we should ever challenge a global-warming scientist. However, I stand by my statements, including the assertion that burning one pound of coal will not yield two pounds of CO2 pollutants. There is much more to it than that. Yes, I know the chemistry. Burning coal is complicated. Your math looks good on paper, but I do believe it is incomplete.

Where is the rest of the equation? The huge amount of cinder (ashes) that settle to the bottom? The water vapor given off with the exothermic reaction? All the energy (heat) generated in the process? Were these factors forgotten? Or just conveniently ignored? Presenting simple math from a chemistry book to support your cause is easy; but does it tell the whole story? I don’t think so.

You want facts? Only strictly controlled field tests will yield the correct answers, not simplified chemistry equations. Until that happens, man-caused global warming shall remain a theory, perhaps a hoax. Nothing more, nothing less. It cannot be proven by science, or by castigating and tying opinionated civil engineers to railroad tracks for challenging a scientist.

Let’s get practical. We need the coal to create jobs, stimulate our economy, and provide much-needed energy for hundreds of years to come. If massive pollution is indeed the issue, help fix the problem. Preventing coal from being mined, just to satisfy certain environmentalists who wish to control our lives, is not a solution. Finally, we should all maintain the right to challenge. But again, that’s just my humble opinion.

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Marshall Cromwell, Missoula

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