"We have to cure ourselves of fossil fuels"

On May 22nd, Dr. Mark Vossler and Dr. Annemarie Dooley spoke to Puget Sound Energy executives at their listening session in Bellevue. Both urged the utility to rapidly move away from fossil fuels , given the scale and health impacts of our climate crisis and the dangers posed by dirty energy. Watch their testimonies, and see Dr. Vossler’s letter below.

Addressed to David Mills, Sr. Vice President of Puget Sound Energy

            Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Puget Sound Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan.  As a PSE rate payer, practicing physician, public health advocate, and representative of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, I have serious concerns. 

            First and foremost is the planned continued reliance upon natural gas even as coal based electricity generation is phased out.  The LNG plant in Tacoma and the pipeline expansion plans in Snohomish county reveal that rather than transition to renewable energy as quickly as possible you intend to extend our societal dependence on dangerous, dirty, unhealthy energy sources for as long as possible.  Given that methane is 86 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 in the twenty-year time frame any leakage between the well and generating station is dangerous to the health of the entire global population. Furthermore the serious health risks posed to surrounding communities by fracking operations need to be considered.  It is immoral for us to keep our lights on at the expense of the health of people living proximal to frack sites. 

            We are pleased that you plan to comply with state law and not charge rate payers for coal generated electricity after 2025 but your stated plans for the Colstrip plant seem quite nebulous.   The climate impacts and the waste disposal issues of coal would mandate that nobody is getting their electricity from Colstrip after 2025.

            PSE’s planned infrastructure developments, including Energize Eastside, seem to be geared toward centralized power generation inherent in the old model of burning fossil fuels rather than the new model of distributed generation and clean energy.

            We therefore request that your IRP be revised to include no expansion of the use of fracked gas, including the Tacoma LNG project, a more rapid transition to 100% renewable sources, and a revision of the infrastructure build out paid for by your ratepayers to more accurately reflect the needs of a modern renewable energy grid.


Mark Vossler, MD

President, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility