cliff1066The GenOn plant in happier, more pollute-y times.

Here’s your “war on coal.”

For two generations, the electricity generated [at the GenOn power plant in Alexandria, Va.] helped power the post-World War II economic boom across the land. It provided a good living for thousands of employees and good profits for shareholders.

An unmistakable landmark, the plant’s five short smokestacks identified the Alexandria riverfront as much as the George Washington Masonic Memorial does from a hill near the King Street Metro station.

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Those stacks also pushed untold tons of air pollution into the skies over the District, Maryland and Virginia, marking the plant as the largest single source of air pollution in the Washington region.

That’s it, in summary. It provided cheap power and polluted like hell; now it’s dead. The end.

Who does GenOn blame for the closure? Not Obama, unless “Obama” is a brand name of natural gas.

GenOn says it wasn’t activism but the changing economics of running a 482-megawatt coal-fired plant that caused the closure. …

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The closure is “a market-driven decision,” said Misty Allen, vice president of asset management for GenOn. The changing price of fuel, particularly natural gas, coming changes in federal environmental law and the cost of updating the aged structure all played a role in last year’s decision to close the plant, she said.

What’s finally doing dirty coal plants in? Economics. The war on coal: Waged and won by the free market.