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Examiner
  • Coal power plants hurt human health

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      Comment
  • Terry Flowers
    Independence
    To the editor:
    In last Saturday’s Examiner on the opinion page there was a guest column by Bruce VanCompernolle with the headline “Council moves too quickly on energy.” I have no doubt that Mr. VanCompernolle has a vast amount of knowledge in regard to his work and career.
    I too am a longtime resident of Independence (since 1962) and am concerned about the health and welfare of all of the residents. I am a hospital pharmacist and have over 40 years experience health care. My primary concern is public health. I live within a mile of IPL and am concerned about the public health risks associated with the toxic gases and the slurry pond that IPL produces.
    A small creek runs in close proximity to the plant. The creek runs from west to east, under the new bridge on Bly Road, and empties into the Little Blue River. There are also a number of crop fields very near the plant. As I live near this area I have a personal interest in the environmental impact that the plant may have locally and therefore the health of all the residents near there. But I am just as concerned about the environmental impact for the entire city and beyond as the public health of all of us is at risk.
    I question some of his remarks in regard to the cost differential between green energy sources and coal, but I am not an expert in this area and will defer to others who are more knowledgable and have more experience in this area. I will just say that when health and environmental costs are factored in, green energy is less costly than any fossil fuel. The use of green energy will also make our city more livable and cleaner.
    The Clean Air Task Force has provides figures on annual deaths and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Blue Valley Power Plant:
    • 11 deaths, with a valuation of $79 million.
    • 17 heart attacks, with a valuation of $1.9 millon.
    • 200 asthma attacks, with a valuation of $10,000.
    • 13 asthma ER visits, with a valuation of $5,000.
    • Eight hospital admisisons, with a valuation of $180,000.
    • Seven instances of chronic bronchitis, with a valuation of $3.1 million.
    At the end of the agenda of a City Council meeting I read the question, “Is it good for the children?” My answer is that green energy is good for the children.

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