‘Bravo Zulu’ for Troy’s hospitality last week

Published 11:00 pm Friday, November 16, 2012

My wife and I attended the Navy Troy game in your beautiful city last weekend. I am a graduate of the Naval Academy and currently live in Ocean Springs, Miss. I wanted to pass on my most heartfelt Bravo Zulu for a spectacular weekend. The hospitality shown by everyone we came into contact with made us feel more than welcome. The festivities associated with Veteran’s Day was extremely well done! The only negative was Navy’s inability to stop Troy’s prolific offense. Again, thanks to all and I hope Navy returns to Troy in the future – Lord willing we will be there.

William Williston

Ocean Springs, Miss.

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Thanks for acknowledging academy challenges

I hope that all Naval Academy alumni and friends read Wes Johnson’s piece in last week’s Gameday wherein he acknowledged that midshipmen athletes have a lot more on their plates than football. I am a native of Troy (THS ‘54) and graduate of USNA (‘58) so I found myself in the odd situation of rooting against a team that I had followed for all my years. The very strict discipline and hazing (plebe class) are other factors which make Naval Academy life uniquely more difficult for all.

I do not recall ever having read an acknowledgement of the non-football hardships and expectations of the team members. Other than the final score, thank you again and all the wonderful folks of my hometown for making Veterans’ Day very special for all of us.

Warm regards,

Jack L. Giddens


Beaulier commentary ignores important facts

In his recent commentary “More red tape only good for bureaucrats” Troy University’s Johnson Center Director Dr. Scott Beaulier found it convenient to leave out a number of significant but apparently inconvenient facts. The title of his diatribe is simply not true. The MATS Rule will save the U.S. economy 300 to 900 percent more than it will cost the coal industry to implement.

Emissions from coal-fired power plants contain 80 of the 187 toxic pollutants listed under the Clean Air Act. They are responsible for 50 percent of all mercury emissions, 75 percent of acid gas emissions and about 25 percent of toxic metal emissions in the United States. The MATS Rule, when fully implemented, will deliver a 91 percent reduction in mercury from the oldest, dirtiest power plants – for a 75 percent overall reduction within the coal-fired utility industry.

For persons who fish and consume their catch mercury emissions reductions over time will make their catches safer to eat. The EPA National Listing of Fish Advisories (NLFA) database includes almost 4,600 mercury-related advisories that span all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two of the four U.S. Territories, and 5 Indian tribal areas. These advisories cover 42 percent of the Nation’s total lake acres (excluding the Great Lakes) or approximately 17.7 million lake acres, and 36 percent of the Nation’s total river miles, or approximately 1.4 million river miles. Locally the entire length of the Choctawhatchee and Pea Rivers is under a fish advisory for mercury.

Since the treatment mechanism for reducing mercury emissions includes reducing emissions of small particles upon the mercury and other pollutants are adsorbed, the MATS Rule creates many secondary benefits which on an annual basis will include prevention of up to 11,000 premature deaths, 130,000 asthma attacks, 5,700 hospital and emergency visits and many, many thousands of lost work days. These benefits create the 300 to 900 percent benefit to cost result for the MATS Rule. The new MATS Rule will save the Nation between $37 billion and $90 billion every year in healthcare costs alone. The industry says the MATS Rule will cost the country jobs but in reality the analysis indicates that it will create over 50,000 near-term construction jobs as well as long term utility jobs.

It should be clear to everyone that the MATS Rule is good for the folks and not the bureaucrats as Dr. Beaulier would like for you to believe. The Johnson Center was established in part with funds from the Koch brothers who are notorious for spending many millions of dollars to deny manmade climate change and to attack pollution control rules that would impact their industrial businesses including fossil fuel energy plants and paper mills. The Johnson Center continues to receive Koch funds indirectly from other shills for the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry such as the Institute for Energy Research that is mentioned in Dr. Beaulier’s commentary.

It doesn’t take a doctorate in economics to understand that an economy works at greater efficient when production costs are internalized. When the public bears the costs of production, such as they do with healthcare costs resulting from dirty coal-fired power plants, more than an optimum amount of energy is produced and consumed. In fact, if the coal-powered electric industry were required to internalize costs by applying the best available technology to control its emissions, electricity from coal would cost more than three times what wind energy costs and about as much as electricity from solar panels. If the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are factored in to the real cost of electricity from burning coal, those costs certainly exceed the costs of electricity from solar panels.

The facts, the real and true facts about the MATS Rule and the impacts of burning coal to produce electricity, are either lost upon Dr. Beaulier or simply too inconvenient to present in his analyses. Troy University and its leadership should be embarrassed about one of its centers shilling for the Koch brothers. It is a sad state of affairs when state support for our universities like Troy University, Florida State University and George Mason University is so low that their leaders feel compelled to take money from billionaires and to shill for them in return. All of the Johnson Center’s commentaries and all of their reports should clearly state that the Center is funded by the Koch bothers and other Koch brothers funded organizations

Michael William Mullen

Executive Director/Riverkeeper

Choctawhatchee Riverkeeper, Inc.