It seems the number of Penn State graduates who are upset at recent actions of their alma mater grows by the day. Today 11 of them, who are employed by CONSOL Energy, take the University to task in The Daily Collegian for its failure to properly investigate Climategate “hockey stick” scientist Michael Mann, but also to criticize Penn State’s attitude towards coal — a huge part of CONSOL’s business:
…causing us great concern was to learn that the university decided to transition away from the last coal-fired steam production system on campus.
What a counterproductive message to send to the students and the public by abandoning coal-fueled energy in favor of what Al Horvath, vice president for finance and business, characterizes as more “sustainable energy” sources.
How ironic that a university in the heart of coal country, that houses an advanced coal utilization lab, that operates a Coal and Coke Heritage Center, in our nation’s fourth largest coal producing state, decided to send this message at a time when energy procurement couldn’t be more critical….
In reality, thanks to more than $90 billion invested in advanced technologies, regulated emissions from coal-based generation (that is, real pollutants, not invisible carbon dioxide gas) have been significantly reduced. CONSOL Energy, and other energy companies, has worked with the Department of Energy and various universities to develop, demonstrate and deploy the next generation of advanced technologies that will make it possible to reduce regulated emissions even further (to near-zero levels) and capture and store greenhouse gases.
If PSU wants to be consistent, they would abandon all associations with the coal industry, dump the Heritage Center, etc. But my guess is that this isn’t a moral stand, but just pandering to the environoiac Left in the academic community. I doubt PSU can afford to be truly principled, if indeed they believe at their core that coal is “unsustainable” or worse, or else they might lose some serious fossil-fueled donors. Looks like 11 of them are on the fence.