Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Last Public Hearing On Proposed Coal-Fired Power-plant

As many Arkansas Residents may already be aware, a lot of controversy has been generated by the proposal to construct two new coal-fired power-plants in Arkansas and a third in eastern Oklahoma. Two of these plants are the focus of current attention; these include the proposed Turk power-plant, which would be situated in Hempstead County Arkansas and the Oklahoma Plant.

On Thursday September 18, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will be holding its last public meeting for comments in Hope. The OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology is planning a trip to Hope in order to get as many comments in opposition to the plant registered with Arkansas' environmental- regulation agency. If you cannot ride down or otherwise attend the meeting, comments can be made by e-mail. Contact information will be included at the end of this article.

Since this writer is not able to attend, a letter was written and sent via e-mail to the ADEQ. I am including it below, not because it is better than anyone Else's; but rather, because some talking points were included that may not be a part of those mentioned by others. It is important however, that as many citizens get their comments registered with the regulatory agency as coal-fired power plants, among other things, emit toxic mercury - a threat to both human health and the health of the environment in general. My letter follows:

"To whom it may concern,

"I am sending you this e-mail in order to voice my strong opposition to a coal-fired plant, which is being considered in Hempstead County.

"The environmental effects of burning coal are well known. In addition to releasing vast amounts of toxic mercury, coal is a leading cause of CO2 and other particulates pollution. The use of more coal will cause the escalation of cases of asthma and other respiratory problems. Have you ever watched a child suffer an asthma attack? Why would anyone want to take action that would cause an increase in such suffering?

"Additionally, I want to state emphatically, that there is no such thing as clean coal. Sure, it may burn cleaner, but the process used in order to create so-called clean coal is extremely toxic. Further, our reliance upon coal is the leading cause of the desecration of the once beautiful Appalachian Mountain range under a process called "mountain-top removal. Under this process, the tops of mountains are literally pushed down into the valleys and streams below. The process is sometimes being conducted close to communities and even schools where residents and even school children are forced to breath coal dust into their lungs. Toxic slurry ponds and chemicals are the legacy of mountain-top removal coal mining; this, in areas that used to be beautiful and pristine. We simply must end our addiction to coal.

"Not being one to simply oppose something without offering a solution, I am hoping that the electrical industry will consider the following suggestion:

"Solar and wind technology have come a long way lately therefore, I would like to suggest that electric companies and cooperatives begin offering these alternatives to their customers. Solar panels and/or small wind generators could be leased to electrical customers with an option to buy or simply sold to these customers. These, after having been installed upon the customer's rooftops, could be used to offset the demand that would otherwise, be met by building more polluting power plants. Those desiring these devices could pay a certain amount each month to the company, and after the passage of an agreed-upon period of time, the customer would own these energy devices.

"Under the above-mentioned scenario, the electrical companies would have made a profit, new jobs would have been created by the manufacture of these devices, no further pollution would threaten the public health, and some of the Appalachian Mountain range could retain its natural beauty and wealth of wildlife. It would be a win/win situation for all involved.

"Please take my comments under consideration."

If you are able and willing to take the trip to Hope with the OMNI people you can contact Maggie Baily at

Ms. Baily's group plans to leave from the Walton Arts Center Parking lot at 11:00 a.m.

In order to contact the ADEQ by e-mail send your message to: .

Let's wish the OMNI people luck in their attempts to persuade the regulatory agency that it should not approve any permit for more coal-fired electrical power-plants.

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