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.