Help make the University coal-free

by Sarah Gray - University student

As a green-mind student, it is both encouraging and disheartening to read about the $16.5-million grant toward finding fossil fuel alternatives in The Minnesota DailyâÄôs Sept. 28 article, âÄúGrant aids in biomass solutions.âÄù It is encouraging that within a five-year time frame, Professors Jason Hill and Tracy Twine hope to discover the effects of biomass production on the Mississippi Watershed and a biomass solution. But this commitment toward finding an alternative energy source is incomplete.
The grant fails to address the problem of our dirty coal. The University of Minnesota uses 38-thousand tons of coal every year. Burning coal causes mercury to pollute our waterways and our air. The change toward an earth-friendly resource would not require an expensive overhaul. The University is equipped to use many different energy sources. We only need to make a commitment.
The UniversityâÄôs Sustainability Committee will create a Climate Action Plan this December. It is important that burning coal be removed from consideration. Five-thousand students have already signed the petition. Hundreds will rally at the 10-10-10 event for climate change. The student groups Campus Beyond Coal, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and Do It Green! urge us to raise our voices.