Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Here's Why

LS Power/Dynegy are not here to help us. They will pay the taxes that they have to – and they will hire a handful of locals, IF they have a need. But they are here for only one reason; to turn our natural wealth into money for themselves. They are here because we have the cleanest air that they can pollute.

During its 50 years of planned operations, this White Pine Energy “Associates” coal fired power plant will burn approximately 350 million tons of coal. That is literally a mountain of coal. None of the chemical byproducts from burning this mountain of coal will just disappear. That which does not end up discarded in a 1500 acre toxic sludge landfill is still far more than our community and our environment can handle.

Some of the chemicals that the LS Power coal fired power plant will emit into our air during its 50 years of operation are:

Carbon Monoxide – 35 parts per million can cause headaches and dizziness within 8 hours

400 parts per million can be fatal

LS Power intends to release 500,000 tons of Carbon Monoxide into our air.

Sulfuric Acid – One of the primary components of acid rain. Acid rain has been shown to have adverse impacts on forests, freshwaters, and soils. In some cases, whole areas of forest have died from acid rain. Acid rain kills off insect and aquatic lifeforms (including fish). Acid rain depletes minerals from the soil. Acid rain causes damage to buildings. And although the coal industry has been able to cast doubt on the obvious fact that pumping acid into our environment is bad for our health, chemicals related to acid rain have been shown to cause illness and premature deaths in humans.

LS Power intends to release 11,000 tons of Sulfuric Acid into our air.

They also intend to release 300,000 tons of Sulfur Oxides

and 240,000 tons of Nitrogen Oxides

Particulates – These are those chemicals associated with acid rain that cause illness and premature deaths.

LS Power intends to release 135,000 tons of particulates into our air.

Mercury – Many of the ocean's fish are laced with unsafe levels of mercury. We all know where that mercury is coming from. Just one drop of mercury in a large lake can make all of the fish there unsafe to eat. Infinitesimal amounts of mercury can cause learning, language, and motor skills damage. Mercury can also permanently damage the nervous, cardiovascular, immune, and reproductive systems.

LS Power intends to release 7.5 tons of mercury into our air.

Lead – Lead is a known poison. Lead has been known to cause mental retardation, schizophrenia, reproductive problems, physical illness, and death. Consumption of lead is dangerous in the milligrams.

LS Power intends to release 40 tons of lead into our air.

Arsenic – Arsenic is a notorious poison that leads to death from multi-system organ failure. Arsenic is a category 1 carcinogen. The World Health Organization considers water unsafe at anything over 10 parts per billion.

LS Power intends to release 95 tons of arsenic into our air.

Benzene – Breathing benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness. Eating or drinking foods containing high levels of benzene can cause vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, convulsions, rapid heart rate, and death. Benzene is a human carcinogen. The EPA has set the maximum level of benzene in drinking water at 5 micro grams per liter.

LS Power intends to release 300 tons of benzene into our air.

Benzyl Chloride – This dangerous gas has been use as a weapon in war.

LS Power intends to release 165 tons of benzyl chloride into our air.

Hydrogen Fluoride – Hydrogen Fluoride is toxic even in small amounts when ingested or absorbed through the skin. Exposure to hydrogen fluoride can lead to extreme throbbing pain, metabolic changes, and even death.

LS Power intends to release 2,300 tons of hydrogen fluoride into our air.

Acetaldehyde – Acetaldehyde is toxic, an irritant, and a probable carcinogen.

LS Power intends to release 135 tons of acetaldehyde into our air.

Methyl Chloride – Chronic exposure to methyl chloride has been linked to birth defects in mice. In humans, exposure to methyl chloride during pregnancy may cause the fetus' lower spinal column, pelvis, and legs to form incorrectly.

LS Power intends to release 125 tons of methyl chloride into our air.

Acrolein – Acrolein is such a severe pulmonary irritant that it has been used as a chemical weapon during World War I. Acrolein is a suspected human carcinogen. Acrolein concentrations of 2 parts per million are immediately dangerous to life.

LS Power intends to release 70 tons of acrolein into our air.

Carbon Dioxide – Although carbon dioxide is not toxic, it is very dangerous to the balance of our environment. The massive amounts of carbon dioxide that humanity has been pumping into our atmosphere is resulting in:

  • The intensity and duration of hurricanes doubling since the 1970's.

  • 400,000 square miles of Arctic sea ice has melted in the last 30 years.

  • There isn't a glacier on the planet that isn't significantly smaller than it was a hundred years ago. And the meltwater from some of these glaciers feed rivers that millions depend on.

  • The National Center for Atmospheric Research has found that the density of the outer atmosphere is predicted to reduce by 3% by 2017 due to carbon dioxide emissions.

  • The Center for Health and the Global Environment has reported that mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria, have spread to once cooler climates.

  • The National Center for Atmospheric Research has found that the percentage of the Earth's land area stricken by serious drought more than doubled from the 1970's to the early 2000's.

  • The El Nino has caused a drought for two years in the Amazon rain forest. Rivers have dried up, and wildfires have burned large areas. If this continues this year, an unstoppable cycle of deforestation may begin.

  • In 2002 and 2006, the Western US experienced some of the worst wildfires in the last 50 years. The National Academy of Sciences have published data that show that Western wildfires have been linked to North Atlantic temperatures. Nature magazine has published evidence that this is happening on other locations on the planet also.

  • The National Oceanography Centre found a 30% reduction in the currents that carry water from the Gulf Stream, which raises fears that Western Europe might plunge into a mini ice age.

  • Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have found clear evidence that the top half-mile of the ocean has warmed dramatically in the past forty years. Nature magazine has published an article that points out that the Oceans' phytoplankton are in decline, and that the productivity of the Global oceans is tightly linked to climate change. Phytoplankton absorb carbon dioxide.

  • The National Academy of Sciences published a report that Global warming was responsible for permanently killing off of 90% of the coral in a part of the Indian Ocean. The World Conservation Union warns that 20% of the Earth's coral reefs have already effectively been destroyed and that half of the world's coral reefs may die within the next 40 years.

  • The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory has found that the world's oceans are 30% more acidic from more carbonic acid (due to the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere). This acid is accumulating 100 times faster than at any time in a million years. At this rate, within the next 50 to 100 years seawater will dissolve sea shells.

  • Divers from the University of California, Santa Barbara have already observed methane blowouts from the sea floor. They warn that if Global warming continues, we may reach a tipping point wherein frozen hydrocarbons will release tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases that could accelerate Global warming out of control.

  • The Institute of Arctic Biology has found that frozen bubbles in Siberian lakes are releasing methane at rates five times higher than previously estimated. As permafrost continues to thaw, tens of thousands of teragrams of methane could be released into the atmosphere, accelerating Global warming.

  • The Association of British Insurers has estimated that global warming will lead to $27 billion worth of storm damage annually by 2080.

  • Nature magazine and National Geographic have published articles that predict that by 2050 a million species may go extinct due to human emitted greenhouse gases.

  • An internal Pentagon report has warned that Global climate change will soon lead to drought, famine, and widespread warfare as countries begin to fight over scarce water, food, and energy resources. The report argues that climate change, “should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to US national security concern.”

LS Power intends to emit over 500 million tons of carbon dioxide into our air.

That's right. This is about more than poisoning a few miners, Mormons, and Indians out here in the middle of nowhere. This is about the future of America, our civilization, and even humanity. We can do the right thing, and generate electricity using safe and sustainable technology – or we can allow these modern day carpetbaggers to ruin our lives.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

That Went Over Like a Lead Balloon!

Sierra Pacific held a public meeting today in Ely and invited everyone. There was a big ad in the local paper, the Ely Times. The attendance was impressive, but not overwhelming.

NOTICE: We really need to get out to the next one. This will be the most important Public Hearing held this year. This next meeting is the final regulatory hoop LS Power/Dynegy has to jump through. Speak up now for our fresh air, or live with smog for the next 50 years.

Thursday, March 8, 6:00 pm, the Bristlecone Convention Center, Ely, NV.

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection – air pollution hearing.

For those of you who couldn't make it to today's meeting; there appeared to by about an 80/20 percent ratio of those who were against the coal fired power plant and those who seemed to be for it. The reason I use the term “seemed” is because of something strange that happened early on in the group presentation. Dennis Sims (from Sierra Pacific) was well into his speech about how grateful we should be to have this coal fired power plant, when he showed us a picture of what the plant would look like. It was an artist's rendition. Quite attractive, if you're into big industrial buildings. But something was missing. Sure, the sky was as blue... as it is now. But we knew they would leave out the smog. That's the beauty of an artist”s rendition. No... Something else was missing. Oh, yeah! The toxic sludge landfill was missing! Being a stickler for detail, I asked Mr. Sims where the landfill was in the picture. He tried to brush me off, as I expected. But what I didn't expect, was a chorus of about four or five voices saying pretty much the same thing. “How rude.” It seemed like an over reaction. Yes, I was a little rude. But the comments from the audience sounded so staged. Maybe it was just me. But I knew that I would never see this picture again. This was my only chance to help out Mr. Sims, and point out his missing landfill. So, I said; “The landfill is the biggest thing on your (technical) drawings. Where is it? He finally conceded that it was in back, where the artist had drawn open range. A 1500 acre oversight? I think not.

Later on I couldn't help but point out that they had no idea of what to do with the carbon dioxide – if they ever separate it out... How rude of me.

As the meeting dragged on... The lady in the chair next to me remarked that they were trying to bore us into submission... Oh. I almost fell asleep there. Which is just where they wanted us – so that they could drop the bombshell – and we might miss it. But we didn't. During the question and answer period, someone asked just how much coal were they going to burn? The first answer was; Oh about one, one and a half train loads a day. What? What was that? Did he say TRAINLOADS? A lady asked; “How many train car loads is that?” A few numbers were tossed about until an average of 220 TRAIN CAR LOADS A DAY! And then a guy asked how many tons that was. They're going to burn EIGHT MILLION TONS OF COAL A YEAR! There was an audible gasp from the crowd... as if they had, all of a sudden, been enlightened.