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Archive for Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Air quality

January 14, 2009

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To the editor:

I applaud Governor Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Environment Rod Bremby and legislators in the House and Senate for resisting the immense pressure to build two 700-megawatt coal-fired power plants near Holcomb, Kan., in 2008. As a citizen of Kansas I am grateful for this courageous and lifesaving action.

Having recently spent time in Beijing, China, I experienced first-hand the result of the widespread use of coal-fired power plants. The quality of the air in the city was such that buildings just a couple of blocks away were shrouded in a kind of smoggy haze, and one’s eyes watered constantly, irritated by pollutants in the air. This personal experience, coupled with recent reports of coal-ash sludge, the residue of coal-fired power plants, causing alarming pollution problems in Tennessee, made me appreciate the actions of Bremby and Sebelius even more.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, the coal-ash pond that ruptured in Tennessee “is only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States, most of them unmonitored and unregulated.” The Times and several other news sources report that most of these dumps contain heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, which leach into the land and water supplies and are a threat to human health.

If I understand it correctly, the greatest portion of energy supplied by the power plants in Holcomb would go to Colorado and elsewhere, while we Kansans would be invited to swallow its polluting effects.

Muriel Cohan,
Lawrence

Comments

gr 5 years, 2 months ago

GM: try reading my last comment a little more slowly and think through it while seeking understanding.

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devobrun 5 years, 2 months ago

jafs: Trees, tall grasses, and small plants by the uncountable number have descended upon the grounds of the EPA in protest. Live-Eye cam at ten o'clock.Oh, wait, they don't have eyes, so they don't count. Never mind, CO2 isn't needed for plant life. Increased CO2 will stimulate plants, but it doesn't fit into the IPCC model, so ignore it.Oxygen is seriously corrosive, but CO2, hmm, not so much. Perspective is a funny thing.Perspective is one of the things that science is trying to describe and account for in its quest for rational thought.But perspective is related to people's feelings. Exactly.Grow up and develop a rational mind, detached from motivation. Feel, think, do.

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GardenMomma 5 years, 3 months ago

The electricity power plant in Lawrence doesn't burn coal? How does it produce electricity then? Where does Lawrence get it's electricity? Surely Bowersock doesn't provide all the electrical needs for Lawrence. I didn't know the river ran over the falls there so fast!

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jafs 5 years, 3 months ago

The EPA has recently classified CO2 as pollution, if I remember correctly.

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gr 5 years, 3 months ago

"When coal burns, it releases carbon dioxide "Carbon dioxide is not pollution. No matter how you spin it. Unless you have a very broad definition and think everything, including water vapor, is pollution.GardenMomma and logicsound: As has been stated in the past, there is no coal plant in North Lawrence. Therefore there would be 0 pollution from the non-existent coal plant in North Lawrence.

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XD40 5 years, 3 months ago

Sebelius and Bremby ape their political masters in the left wing of the Democrat party. Its about power and control and they manipulate the fascist environmental movement to achieve their ends.

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logicsound04 5 years, 3 months ago

jason2007,Please tell me your kidding with that absurd claim that Lawrence's coal plant produces no pollution.There is no such thing as "clean" coal, only clean-ER coal.

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GardenMomma 5 years, 3 months ago

What do you think is in the steam? Pure water vapor?"Electric companies and businesses with power plants burn coal to make the steam that turns turbines and generates electricity. When coal burns, it releases carbon dioxide and other emissions in flue gas, the billowing clouds you see pouring out of smoke stacks."http://science.howstuffworks.com/clean-coal.htm

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Matt Toplikar 5 years, 3 months ago

Coal is the past.Clean coal is a pipe dream.Oil is only going to get more expensiveSolar and wind are the future, but they ain't gonna be cheap either.We (the U.S.) is probably going to have to learn to live more efficiently.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 3 months ago

@GardenMomma: White clouds? That's called steam. Last time I checked, not a pollutant. Wanna try again?

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jonas_opines 5 years, 3 months ago

VTHawk: That explains why it is a little worse in Beijing, but the pollution problems are not limited to the capital. Certainly it's not all coal plants, it is foolish to suggest that is so, but being the largest producer and consumer of coal doesn't help.

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GardenMomma 5 years, 3 months ago

You mean the one that spews out huge plumes of white clouds that you can see from miles away? Or are you thinking of some other power plant in Lawrence?

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 3 months ago

In addition: Hey, Muriel...there's a coal-fired power plant in N. Lawrence. Zero pollution.Why don't you research what in the world you're talking about before looking like a complete idiot.

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deskboy04 5 years, 3 months ago

The city commission told those people out in Western Kansas what they thought about global warming!

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 3 months ago

Translation of the LTE:"I applaud the Governor and her crony for not caring about cheap energy for Kansans. The fact that I know absolutely nothing about engineering brings me to the realization that coal-fired plants in China equal coal-fired plants in America -- and man, was it really, really dirty over there in China when I flew there to attend a conference on the crisis of Panda bear infertility.In closing, I really like the New York Times because they say what I think is right; not based on any sort of reality but rather a driving love for Mother Earth. Flying Spaghetti Monster bless Obama and Mother America."

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gr 5 years, 3 months ago

Hey,MurielMerrill Merrill was the first to respond. In support.?

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VTHawk 5 years, 3 months ago

Oops, I meant to write "Muriel"

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gr 5 years, 3 months ago

Hawk, I believe you are mistaken as to what I was saying.

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VTHawk 5 years, 3 months ago

GR;With all due respect, you are mistaken as to the source of Beijing's polluted air. During the Great Leap Forward, the Chinese razed the surrounding flora to fuel the furnaces used to make iron, resulting in desertification. To this day, large amounts of particulate pollution (especially sandstorms) are blown in for this reason. The communists also wanted all the heavy industry in the national capital, so Beijing has long had large steel mills within the city limits. Finally, it is not the coal POWER PLANTS that are the problem, it is INDIVIDUALS burning coal for power and heat, because consumption has outpaced supply of electrical power. I stayed at a hotel that burned its own coal for power! Suffice to say that it was not a clean-coal plant.

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gr 5 years, 3 months ago

"I applaud Governor Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Environment Rod Bremby and legislators in the House and Senate for resisting the immense pressure to build two 700-megawatt coal-fired power plants near Holcomb, Kan., in 2008.Having recently spent time in Beijing, China, I experienced first-hand the result of the widespread use of coal-fired power plants. The quality of the air in the city was such that buildings just a couple of blocks away were shrouded in a kind of smoggy haze, and one’s eyes watered constantly, irritated by pollutants in the air."Wow. Is Cohan saying if we built those two power plants, that would entail widespread use, create a shroud of haze, make one's eyes water constantly?Don't want that. It's better to let a reliable source of energy be our children's problem.

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devobrun 5 years, 3 months ago

The problems listed by Ms. Cohen are engineering problems. The system of coal and nuclear electrical power generation should be tackled by engineers.The solutions to these problems given by Ms. Cohen and merrill above are political and scientific. As an electrical engineer, I choose engineering to solve engineering problems. Politics, big science, and demonizing of free-market solutions will not generate electricity.Both of you are mistaken in your view that government and government sponsored "science" will solve a problem which is fundamentally an engineering task. Windmills and solar panels are not energy efficient. They don't produce more energy than it takes to built and run them. You are being taken for a ride and you don't question authority. Demand an energy budget for alternative energy technologies so that the corn-based ethanol fiasco doesn't repeat itself.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

The US gov't backed out of a clean coal plant constructionproject due to the cost of construction which was soaring above estimates. Why use tax dollars to promote pollution?Coal fired power and nuke power are two of the most expensive sources so why use tax dollars irresponsibly?Why blow susbidy dollars on dirty expensive energy?Yes there are several substantional environmental reasons to not continue coal fired plants supported by substantial economic reasons not to move forward with coal fired plants.The new energy sources would provide new long term employment for more of the population plus benefit many farming families.http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/technology_and_impacts/energy_technologies/how-wind-energy-works.htmlhttp://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/faces/faces.html

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