Monday, February 18, 2008

How Many Will Die?

So, how many people in our county are going to die from breathing coal-fired pollution? It isn't that hard to calculate. The EPA has stated that 24,000 Americans die every year from breathing coal-fired pollution. Go ahead and ask the coal people. They won't deny it. Of course, they'll try to make this very frightening statistic sound irrelevant – but you'd be a sucker to believe them.

There are approximately 300 million people in the United States and 10 thousand in White Pine County. And the projected life of the coal-fired power plants is from 30 to 60 years. That calculates out to 0.8 deaths per year – or a total of 24 to 48 deaths in White Pine County.

24 to 48 deaths in this small a population... pretty much assures that we're all going to know somebody who will die from coal-fired pollution.

My numbers are far from cast in stone, but they're my best estimate for now. If you know of more accurate statistics, please let me know.

But I'm not through yet. If we follow the dangerous course, people will not only die, they will get sick.

For every person that dies, dozens will likely get acutely ill. We're talking about respiratory illnesses, pulmonary illnesses, cancer, mental retardation, and mental illnesses. I don't have any statistics for this; so let's conservatively estimate a 10 to 1 ratio of the sick to the dead. That would be 240 to 480 really sick friends, family, and loved ones.

Of course for every acutely ill victim of “clean coal,” there will likely be dozens of chronic coughs, sinus problems, and lower IQs. Again, lets conservatively estimate a 10 to 1 ratio. That would be 2400 to 4800 people who won't feel well much of the time.

And also, there will be occasional days when temperature inversions concentrate the coal-fired pollution in this valley until everyone has an irritated throats and eyes.

In some way, someday, the pollution from these coal-fired power plants will detrimentally effect your life – and all of the lives of those you care for. Don't expect the coal industry to tell us this – they stand to make billions playing down the risk.

Yes, I'm only estimating. But statistically, it is inevitable that people we know are going to die from this. Do you really want the illnesses and deaths of people you care for on your conscience? I guarantee that you will someday regret ever allowing these Limited Liability Corporations to poison every breath you take – possibly for the rest of your (abbreviated) life.

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