The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 22, 2014

Dirty and destructive

In his letter bemoaning the closure of the Sunbury power plant, David Morgan fails to mention a few things about the plants operation. While he focused on the economic benefits of the plants operation, there was no mention of its negative effects.

There was not a word about all the children who had to suffer from its pollution with asthma attacks or the people who died prematurely. There was not word one about the medical bills families had to pay because of the plant’s pollution. Power plant pollution cost $100 billion in medical costs every year in this country. How much land destruction and water pollution has been caused in the production of the coal the plant has burned? How much destruction of everyone’s environment has been the result of the toxic coal ash produced? Everything about coal is dirty and destructive.

All the defenders of coal like to talk about jobs. I agree that jobs are important, but we must create jobs that don’t result in environmental destruction. Can we produce energy without destroying our environment and health? The answer to that question is yes. We can product energy without burning fossil fuels and clean energy produces three times the jobs that dirty energy creates for same measure of energy.

Mr. Morgan mentions that the Sunbury plant is to be converted to a natural gas facility. Despite all the lies told in the gas industries massive advertising campaign, the burning natural gas is not clean energy. Yes, it burns cleaner than coal and produces only about half the CO2, but being cleaner than coal is hardly a recommendation. Its production produces both water, air, and land pollution. All of which have been intensified as a result of fracking. Because of fugitive leaks of methane along the production and delivery routes, the use of natural gas does not reduce natural gas’s contribution to climate change. The simple fact remains that we must drastically reduce the burning of fossil fuels. How many people want to live near major gas pipeline or near a compressor station? How many want a gas well fracked near their home?

We as a nation have a real choice as we look to the future. Will the choice be health over corporate profits? With one major political party a totally owned subsidiary of the corporations and the other always available to be rented, I fear that the choice will be corporate profits as has the case been so far. The issue is not jobs. We can and must product jobs without destroying the very planet we are dependent upon. The corporations will always lay off workers anytime they can to increase the bottom line. 

Jack D. Miller, Center Township, Snyder County

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