Dec. 3 2017 Letters-to-the-Editor by Judith Peascoe, Vienna, WV
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
At the time the implementation of the Clean Power Plan is being debated and comments are being taken in Charleston, W.Va., regulators are debating the purchase of the Pleasants County coal-fired power plant.
In his News and Sentinel Letter to the Editor on Sept. 10, Jody Murphy, Executive Director of the Pleasants Area Chamber of Commerce, expresses his willingness to subsidize the purchase and operation of the Pleasants County power plant financially by paying an extra $5 a month to preserve the power-plant jobs.
Unfortunately, the plant’s technology is obsolete. It does not have the latest technology to prevent pollutants from spewing into the air–pollutants which cause susceptible people, especially children, to have asthma attacks. It produces waste contaminated with heavy metals that may not be properly and permanently contained.
Governor Justice has acknowledged that coal-fired plants are not competitive economically by asking for a federal subsidy for power plants purchasing coal. In addition, the West Virginia legislature and the federal government have weakened the Clean Water Acts to allow more toxic waste to be discharged into water flows. This is an open acknowledgment that coal-fired power plants should be phased out. In addition the Mid-Ohio Valley is noted for its health-damaging air quality.
Difficult times require novel solutions. My husband grew up in Los Angelos. Thirty-five years ago, California was faced with limited water supplies, horrible air quality and the need for more power. Rather than build new power plants the utilities and the state offered consumers inducements to conserve energy. The reduction in energy use meant that the utilities didn’t have to build new power plants. California is actively supporting renewable energy installations such as roof-top solar installations, wind farms, and solar farms, biomass, and hydro. This work provided jobs. Pollution was reduced. The air became cleaner. Recent reports tell us that solar and wind technology is now competitive in price with nuclear and coal power plants.
I would rather pay that extra five dollars on my utility bill to subsidize a plan of energy conservation, job retraining, reduced pollution and renewable energy generation than to subsidize an obsolete coal fired plant that First Energy wants to get rid of. That plant is no bargain for West Virginians.