Friday, August 12, 2005

Power Plant a Dirty Neighbor

A letter to the editor submitted by me was printed in the August 11 edition of the Fort Scott Tribune, a small daily newspaper published in Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas. The topic of the letter is a new coal-fired power plant proposed by Westar Energy, the utility that provides electrical power to much of Kansas. Westar recently announced its desire to build the plant, and suggested that communities interested in providing a site should make their interest known to the company. A petition in favor of the plant was circulated in Bourbon County, and in a short time three thousand residents--a significant fraction of the county's population--had signed it. The county's application was hand delivered to Westar. There seems to be much enthusiasm in the county for the plant on the assumption that it will create jobs and spur economic development. Here's the text of my letter:

To the Editor,

I was somewhat surprised and very dismayed by the residents of Bourbon County who are chasing after Westar's proposed new power plant. Do they understand what they're asking for? A coal fired power plant is one of the most foul, vile, polluting industries imaginable. It's hard to understand how so many people would enthusiastically request to have one located nearby.

That the plant will be an obvious eyesore is the least of its problems. Do you really want coal ash raining down on your laundry, your car, your house? More important, do you want all the chronic health problems that come from breathing fine particulates deep into your lungs?

In a recent article in the Pittsburg Morning Sun, one person described what it's like to live near the Asbury power plant: "Some mornings there is a film from the plant on the fields. The white roofs of some of my barns are black with the film." I have heard similar stories of the LaCygne plant.

Residents near the Asbury plant report increased levels of allergies and asthma. I would suggest that we can also expect more sinus infections, bronchitis, and lung diseases. If you're exposed to enough fine particulates you may even have emphysema or lung cancer in your future. Is it worth it?

Bourbon County should tell Westar thanks, but no thanks. Take your filthy plant to a place where people value their clean air less than we do here.

Copyright (C) 2005 James Michael Brennan, All Rights Reserved


At Wed Aug 17, 11:28:00 PM, Blogger slithy said...

Hey Mike, I linked to your blog on my blog, so yours would rise higher in the google listings! -Joel (junior as you like to call me!)

My blog, if you care to take a gander!
slithy's blog

At Fri Aug 19, 03:01:00 PM, Anonymous bert said...

Google's main problem is quantity not quality. I prefer quality. I liked your first one about silence the best but it seems to have disappeared. Do they cut you off after a certain period. Good luck with Google. Do you have a suggestion for Bourbon county (and Kansas)electricity?

At Fri Aug 19, 03:05:00 PM, Anonymous bert said...

Nevermind. I found the archives. Here's another one for Google.

At Fri Aug 19, 03:10:00 PM, Anonymous bert said...

Somehow I neglected to leave a comment. Basically I wanted to tell you I appreciated your poetic skills. They made me want to be there.


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