CWT - Letter to the Editor
Thu, 10/31/2013 - 11:00pm admin
TO THE EDITOR:
Self-determination --- a founding principle of the United States. After a bucolic bike ride in our Clearwater countryside I was surprised to read the recent editorial from a member of “Beyond Coal,” a nationally funded organization whose goal is to shut down coal plants in the United States.
I did not see a blighted sky of smoke to the east in Becker. My sky was clear and blue and I experienced no respiratory issues. In fact, I have lived due west of the Sherco Coal Plant for 21 years, am an avid runner and cyclist, and have no respiratory concerns.
I do, however, have a concern with Beyond Coal and its parent organization, The Sierra Club, pushing their over-reaching agenda (riddled with faulty junk science) to the economic and life-altering consequences for Central Minnesota.
Sherco produces 37% of the total electricity use and heating needs for Minnesota; can you imagine how high your electric bill would rise if Sherco shut down? Also, Sherco is a major employer in Central Minnesota. Sherco provides employment to 300 families in Becker alone, an additional 1,750 jobs support Sherco operations.
For example, a container company who employs over 200 people harnesses steam from Sherco at absolutely no cost to assist in their production process. An estimated 5000 jobs could be lost in Central Minnesota if Sherco is closed. Further, Sherco is a conscientious company who has done a lot for the community and, with the positive words of Beyond Coal advocate Curtis Winer extolling how clean Sherco is compared to other coal plants, it produces energy while still maintaining emissions output below EPA requirements.
Finally, with regard to any increase in health concerns like cancer (as previously purported in another letter to the editor), these “increased rates” are developed via computer models just like those touted for Global Warming due to CO2 elevations; next year is 2014 and the polar ice caps are still here though that was their touted date of demise. The health concern data does not exclude variables like cigarette smoking, an increasing genetic rate to asthma, and other environmental factors causing cancer. If Sherco’s production of energy caused statistically higher health concerns then why hasn’t there been a prospective study done by the Minnesota Department of Health to track would or should be an alarming trend?
Why, then, is Sherco and we in Central Minnesota being targeted?
I believe that the economic powers of organizations like the National Sierra Club and its subsidiary Beyond Coal, coupled with Michael Bloomberg (mayor of New York and a $50 million Beyond Coal contributor) should not determine our future energy policies. We, in fly-over land, are tired of being hostage to the whims of the elites on this country’s coasts.
It costs us our economic future, jobs, and a voice in self-determination. Let Central Minnesotans be their own voice rather than the mayor of New York or Hollywood producers as millionaire donors to the Sierra Club.
Michael S. Williams