Monday, May 17, 2010

Berry opposes coal-fired plant on Kentucky River

The coal-fired power plant the East Kentucky Power Cooperative wants to build on the Kentucky River in Clark County, Ky., would further damage an already polluted river by dumping coal ash in the river's floodplain, writes internationally known Kentucky author and farmer Wendell Berry, left, who lives near the river. "As a native and longtime resident of the Kentucky River watershed, as a rural electric cooperative member and rate-payer, and as a conservationist, I am writing to oppose the granting of this permit," Berry writes in The Courier-Journal of Louisville.

The plant would have "a working life of only 33 years, whereas the wastes stored on the site will remain toxic and continue to pollute ground water and the river virtually forever," Berry writes. "We are not talking here about organic wastes that would eventually degrade into harmlessness. We are talking about permanent poisons such as lead, mercury, cadmium, zinc, selenium, arsenic, thallium, molybdenum, and boron — neurotoxins and carcinogens."

Berry continues, "One must ask why the permitting process, which ought already to have given way to further study and thought, is going ahead as if there were nothing to worry about," then answers his own question: "It is going ahead, I assume, out of habit or inertia — because it is what we've done before." He argues against repeating old mistakes: "In Kentucky as elsewhere we need to answer the questions that are answerable, and to confront honestly the questions that we cannot answer. We need to stop and think — if the holders of our trust are any longer capable of thinking, or even of stopping." (Read more)

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