Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Independence Coal Burning Plants to Be Shut Down   1 comment

I am a long-time resident of the city of Independence (since 1962) and am concerned about the health and welfare of residents. I am a hospital pharmacist and have over 40 years experience in health care sectors – my primary personal and professional concern is public health. It is because of this concern that I am writing this letter: I feel compelled to speak out about the health impacts and “externalized” costs of burning coal.

I live within a mile of IPL and am concerned about the public health risks associated with the toxic gases and the slurry pond that IPL produces. There is a small creek that runs in close proximity of the plant. The creek runs from west to east, under the new bridge on Bly Road, and empties into the Little Blue River. There are also a number of crop fields very near the plant. As I live near this area I have a personal interest in the environmental impact that the plant may have locally and therefore the health of all the residents near there. But I am just as concerned about the environmental impact for the entire city and beyond as the public health of all of us is at risk.

Coal is often described as the most affordable source of electrical power we have. This is only true when you ignore the public and environmental health issues that surround burning coal. Who pays for the people that develop chronic bronchitis from breathing in coal dust? The taxpayer. Who pays for the premature deaths that are caused by coal-related toxins? The taxpayer. The source of the graphic below is The Clean Air Task Force. The numbers speak for themselves.

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Blue Valley Power PlantType of Impact
Annual Incidence
Valuation
Deaths 11 $79,000,000
Heart attacks 17 $1,900,000Asthma attacks 200 $10,000
Hospital admissions 8 $180,000
Chronic bronchitis 7 $3,100,000
Asthma ER visits 13 $5,000

At the end of the agenda of a city council meeting I read the question, “Is it good for the children?” My answer is that clean energy is good for the children. I will just close by saying, in summary, that when health and environmental costs are included the cost of clean energy is less costly than any fossil fuel. The use of clean energy will also make our city more livable and cleaner.

This is why I fully support the city council’s well-informed step in passing Councilman Scott Roberson’s resolution calling for the closure of the two Independence coal plants. This resolution also calls for a rate study that, for the first time in six years, will ask Independence Power & Light why we have some of the highest electrical rates in the state and will critically reassess why we pay so much for electricity that is making us ill.

Thank you, Independence City Council and IP&L, for making bold moves in the right direction. I sincerely hope that the resolution does everything that it can and should to protect Independence citizens and future generations.

Posted August 16, 2014 by terryflowersblog in Environment

Letter to Lake City Army Ammunition Plant   3 comments

Bly Road

Independence, Missouri 64056

July 30, 2010

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Delbridge-Keough

Lake City Army Ammunition Plant

Independence, Missouri

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Delbridge-Keough,

Congratulations on recent appointment as commander at the Lake City Ammunition Plant in eastern Independence.   I wish you well as you undertake this new challenge.

 In the past month I have been reading some interesting books by Dr Helen Caldicott. In her books she documents the use of depleted uranium (DU) in the manufacturing of ammunition shells and reinforced armor in some of our armored vehicles.   For more on that please see my web blog at www.terryflowersblog.wordpress.com, the article dated July 24, 2010, Depleted Uranium (DU) in Munitions.

 My question to you is does the manufacturing or processing of munitions at lake city utilize DU or any other radioactive material?   I have emailed Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Representative Clair McCaskill but have received no answer.   I suppose that this could be a classified matter, but I live within two miles of the facility and am quite interested.

 Thank you for your time and attention to my concern,

 Sincerely,

Terry Flowers

www.terryflowersblog.wordpress.com

Posted July 30, 2010 by terryflowersblog in Environment

Green Technology…A Moral and Spiritual Imperative   Leave a comment

 

Green Technology…A Moral and Spiritual Imperative

 We are all aware of the statistics of how the western cultures consume a large disproportionate percentage of the world’s resources.   It could even be described as gluttonous.   The rest of the world, because of the communications technology, have become more and more aware of the injustice caused by the lifestyle of the western nations, particularly the United States (US).  In many ways they emulate the life style that they perceive we enjoy. Even the poorest of our citizens are much better off than a very large portion of the world’s population.   While the rest of the world may wish for such a life style they also see the devastation that is being perpetrated on the planet.

 The life style of the US has been built over the last 60 or so years on readily available cheap energy.  In recent years it has become evident that the readily available cheap energy is not assured.   All the raw materials that are necessary for the traditional energy sources, coal, oil, uranium, natural gas are finite in quantity.   As humankind, and particularly the western world, continues to consume, these resources become less and less available.   Not only does the extraction of the raw materials wreck havoc on the planet, but as the supplies dwindle, there is greater stress between the competing nations as they vie for access and control over them.

 As I sit here writing I am reminded of the recent counsel in the Doctrine and Covenants 163:4, particularly 4b, “The earth, lovingly created as an environment for life to flourish, shudders in distress because creation’s natural and living systems are becoming exhausted from carrying the burden of human greed and conflict.  Humankind must awaken from its illusion of independence and unrestrained consumption without lasting consequences.”   Do we hear what is being said here? Do we really comprehend the implications of this passage?

 As the raw materials for our rising need for energy continues to become more scarce, the relationships between the nations of the world become more and more strained.  Most, if not all wars, when critically analyzed, have been fought over the access and control of natural resources.   Those resources have been water, food, wood, oil, and just about any other non-sustainable or non-renewable raw material.   This is why it is imperative that we begin to shift our investments from traditional energy sources to those that are sustainable and renewable.   Energy sources that will be equally available to all the world’s nations.   Otherwise there will be constant strife and conflict between the nations as they compete for the raw materials for the traditional energy sources.   The natural consequence would be war, unless the “have” nations are willing to share what scarce resources are available with the “have-not” nations.   This, unfortunately, has not been the history of mankind. It is just this situation that the US finds itself in today as it attempts to maintain control and access to the world’s oil supply.   It’s time for a new direction.

 Some advocate for nuclear energy.   Uranium is a raw material that must be mined.   It is also a very dangerous material. The mining, processing, enrichment, use and disposal processes all pose risk of contaminating the world with radioactive material that lasts for centuries.   We simply do not have the technology to safely handle radioactive material.   If that were not enough, it too, is in finite quantity and would cause competition between the nations for access and control.   Again, it’s time for a new paradigm, a new direction.

 If we love God, if we love our planet, if we love one another, we will make this change.   Yes, there will be some difficulty in our economy as we make the shift, but the life of our planet and all life on it, is at stake.   Much of what I have written has come to me from reading Dr Helen Caldicott’s books, from the scriptures, from what I hear in the media and from family and friends.   It is my hope that humankind will awaken to its greed, for short term benefit, and realize the consequences of continuing down this path to self destruction and, indeed, to the destruction of all life on Earth.   May we seek reconciliation with God’s creation and with all the people of the world.

Posted July 29, 2010 by terryflowersblog in Environment

Depleted Uranium (DU) in Munitions   2 comments

Depleted Uranium (DU) in Munitions 

Recently I have read Dr Helen Caldicott’s books, Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer, War In Heaven, The New Nuclear Danger, and If You Love This Planet.  In her books she documents the fact that the United States military has used, and possibly continues to use, ammunition shells which have casings made using depleted uranium (DU).  Also documented in her books is the fact that many of the tanks and armored vehicles that the U.S. uses have reinforced armor using DU.  The DU makes it more difficult for enemy shells to penetrate the vehicles’ armor.

 Using DU in these ways leaves the battlefield contaminated with radioactive material for centuries to come.  This exposes the inhabitants of these regions of the world to great health risks for generations to come.  The DU in the armor of the military vehicles also exposes the occupants (our own military personnel) of said vehicles to radiation.  For more information on this I would recommend the reading of Dr Caldicott’s books.  You can find her on the web through a web search.

 I live within two miles of the Lake City Ammunition plant here in Independence, Missouri.  I have emailed my representatives in Washington inquiring if they know if DU is used in the processing or manufacturing of ammunition at this facility.  To this date I have not had a response to my inquiry.

If DU is utilized at this plant it may be a classified matter, I’m not sure.  However, if there are risks to the environment and the public, I would think that there would be a “right to know” in this case.

 I am concerned for the workers who may be required to handle the radioactive material.  Are they aware of the danger that they face?  Do they take the necessary precautions to protect themselves?  What are they told by their superiors?

 I am also concerned for the environment surrounding the plant.  Are soil, water and air samples taken at regular intervals?  What risks are residents, plants and wildlife being exposed to?  If there are environmental concerns, how far from the plant do they extend?  Are contaminates being carried by the Little Blue River or ground water to the Missouri River and, eventually, to the gulf?  As if the gulf doesn’t have enough to worry about already.

 If anyone has an knowledge of this matter, your reply would be most welcome.

Posted July 24, 2010 by terryflowersblog in Environment