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Cleaning up retired coal power plants

Federal and state officials have another question to answer, as communities across the country — but particularly in parts of our very region — face the realities of a changing economic and energy landscape. What happens to the shuttered coal-fired power plants once they are no longer needed?

Unfortunately, the folks in Clermont County, Ohio, are getting a first-hand look, as pieces of the retired Walter C. Beckjord power plant toppled into the Ohio River … and stayed there this winter. Metal, bricks, mortar and more created enough of a problem that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has ordered contractors to clean it up.

According to the Sierra Club, Ohio has more coal plant closures and retirements announced than any other state. Who, then, will be responsible for making sure those closings don’t leave dangerous and unmonitored sites to create bigger problems down the road?

It is yet another piece of the puzzle that will require careful planning as we forge ahead with the diversification of our economy and energy portfolio. Federal and state officials must be sure the work they are doing does not leave behind a mess.

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