GREAT BEND, Kan. - The Holcomb Power Plant has been a source of debate in the State as of late. We already know the basics of this plant, an average of 10 % of the energy would be used in the State of Kansas, with the rest going out of State (Colorado, ect). Which means, we would benefit little and be stuck with the clean up cost.
The Kingston Plant in Tennessee is an example of worst case scenario coming to life. People who live in the area are still suffering complications. Family's are unable to sell their homes because of a toxic sludge that overtook the area when the plant exploded, children are unable to play in their backyards without protective suits because of the complications. View Picture's and Video's here
ABC News also did a special on it about a year ago, the information was overwhelming.
After attending a meeting of the Grassroots Environmental Action Team (GREAT) last week and receiving the following print out from the group, I found it important to share. The information is in depth and to be honest, alarming. Please read on for more information. The following is the letter in its entirety...
Kansas legislators' approval for Sunflower Electric to construct a new coal-fired generator plant at Holcomb threatens the health of all Kansans, especially the young and very old. Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) documents show that the plant will spew a combined total of approximately eight thousand tons of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid mists, dangerous particulates, lead and mercury every year for the next half century.
Children's lungs are much more susceptible to injury from coal plant emissions... thought to be the major cause of asthma rates doubling over the last 20 years. (Fact Sheet) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns Kansas officials that proposed limits on emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide from this new plant are too lax and is seeking further review. The American Lung Association (ALA) states, "Power plant pollution kills people... pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides... make breathing difficult, causes asthma attacks and increases the risk of emergency room and hospital visits. But particulate matter is an even more threatening pollutant, as these microscopic particles can cause cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, and can cause premature death...increased risks to older adults." KDHE already detected unhealthy levels of ozone, a product of nitrogen oxides produced from burning coal and other fossil fuels, from unidentified sources with their air quality monitoring station in Cedar Bluff State Park in Trego County, Kansas... which is about 80 miles northeast of Holcomb.
Physicians for Social Responsibility advise, "Coal-fired power plants are ... the single largest source of mercury emissions in the U.S." KDHE records show similar findings for Kansas. The CDC reports that "one of every 10 to 17 women of childbearing age has mercury levels unsafe for her unborn baby. Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of mercury... As many as 600,000 children are born each year with dangerous levels of mercury in their bodies, putting them at heightened risk for developmental disabilities. This is particularly concerning given the increasing incidence of autism and other neurological problems among U.S. children." The ALA says that coal plant pollution "threatens the brains and nervous system of children." A study by the National Academies of Science estimates that 60,000 children of all those born with neurological problems every year in the U.S. are caused by "mercury exposure in the womb." It doesn't take much... Only one teaspoon of mercury in a 1,700 acre lake can make fish unsafe to eat. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks already identifies two counties where consuming fish should be restricted because of mercury contamination.
There is no doubt that, if built, the Sunflower plant will sicken generations of children and shorten lives of senior citizens. Legislators must commit themselves to every child's right to begin life healthy. We ask that you join us in demanding that our legislators protect our children and elders by stopping this poisonous development now.
Submitted by Felix Revello on behalf of the Grassroots Environmental Action Team (GREAT)
GREAT is a grassroots environmental advocacy relying on ethics and science for guidance in keeping our planet clean and healthy to benefit all people. Members in Pawnee, Rush and Barton Counties.
Additional Reading - EPA is working to change standards and discusses benefits of new standards.