Penn State Considers Using Natural Gas

New EPA regulations prompt massive state school to reconsider its energy sources.

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Natural gas commercials have flooded the airwaves in recent years. And after recent disasters in the coal and oil industries, natural gas is starting to look pretty good to some. Plus, proponents say, it's an energy source that's safer for the environment, and it's cheaper.

With some new regulations on coal plants on the way from the Environmental Protection Agency, Penn State is considering a switch to natural gas as the school's energy source, the Daily Collegian reports. The EPA regulations will "monitor the amount of air pollutants released by coal plants" and force the cost of burning coal to rise, the report says. Penn State has already started increasing the use of natural gas on one end of campus, and school officials say they are planning to switch to natural gas for the whole campus within five years.

The price tag for the switch is a cool $2 million. Installing a gas pipe for the plant would also force the closing of a major road at Penn State, the report says. Over time, however, the change in energy sources will save the school money.

"The price of coal is going to be significantly higher," Penn State Beyond Coal President Rose Monahan, a sophomore, tells the Daily Collegian. "It just seems like the best option."

The school is trying to cover all of its bases in the process. A university spokesman said Penn State wants to meet regulations and do something that's good for the environment. Either way, it's a pretty timely debate at Penn State as energy issues fill headlines across the country.

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