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We’re already on the hook for Plant Washington
Washington Timberland LLC —Dean Alford’s corporation — occupied some prime real estate in the legals section of last week’s Sandersville Progress for unpaid property taxes. Over six years ago Dean Alford announced that Plant Washington would almost double Washington County’s tax base, as Washington EMC, Industrial Development Authority, and business leaders nodded in agreement.
That’s not how is has worked out at all.
Alford’s company doesn’t seem to have the cash on-hand to cover less than $10,000 in property taxes it owes Washington County. If you believe Power4Georgians’ estimates that the plant will cost $2.1 billion, this means the developer already can’t cover .00048 percent of the costs.
Alford has promised over and over again that Washington County won’t be on the hook if his coal plant goes belly up. Washington Timberland’s tax situation puts us a lot closer to dangling on Plant Washington’s string.
We’ve got roads to maintain, children to educate, and law enforcement officers to pay. The coal plant developer who came in from out of town wearing a really nice suit made big promises to us. The note has come due and he’s not holding up his part of the deal.
We’re learning an expensive lesson from Plant Washington. Shame on us if we throw good money after bad. It is time to cut our losses and walk away from Dean Alford’s coal plant.
This letter to the editors was sent to the Sandersville Progress and WaCo Spotlight.
School officials in North Carolina’s Brunswick County have closed a baseball field after learning coal ash waste was just beneath the surface. Cogentrix, a coal-fired power plant, spread the toxin filled waste over the field.Frank Holleman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center (which also represents FACE), told the StarNews that utility companies were “very liberal” in allowing coal ash waste to be moved off power plant sites.
School officials decided independently that student health would be compromised on the field. A pile of coal ash waste sits next to the field too.
FACE President to EPA: Kids deserve clean air
Yesterday four FACE leaders spoke at the EPA’s public comment session on control carbon pollution. Hundred of citizens, including elected officials, faith leaders, physicians, retired military personnel, fire fighters, and children spoke and rallied for limits on carbon emissions from power plants and other industrial sites.
Today’s Macon Telegraph quotes FACE President Larry Warthen urging the EPA to adopt strong carbon limits because children deserve cleaners air. Warthen told the EPA panel, “No child should have limited access to enjoy the great outdoors and do the normal things that kids do without an inhaler.” Carbon pollution contributes to poor air quality, which impacts anyone with asthma and respiratory illnesses.
Lyle Lansdell told the EPA that she and other farmers are struggling to grow the food we need because carbon is contributing to extreme weather conditions. Record high temperatures in May last year followed by almost seven times the normal rainfall in June wrecked havoc on both her crops and livestock. Lansdell said we have been “short-sighted” in regards to climate impacting emissions.
At last count almost 6 Million people have submitted comments asking the EPA to require strong carbon emission standards. Tell the EPA you want the proposed carbon pollution standards to be adopted.
FACE members speaking up today for clean air!
Larry Warthen (left) spoke to the EPA in Atlanta today urging for strong carbon control standards for existing power plants. The man to his right is a retired Marine Lt. Colonel who said climate change threatens national security.
FACE partner Amelia Shenstone of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (left), FACE Secretary Paula Swint, Jennette Gayer of Environment Georgia, and FACE member John Swint, right, have worked together for clean air for over six years.
Lyle Lansdell attended the very first meeting of concerned citizens who soon became FACE. She now runs a small organic farm in Sandersville which is on the National Historic Register. Lyle was a public health researcher before retiring.
The man seated to her left is the Alabama Attorney General, “Big Luther” Strange. He was there to argue against the proposed carbon rule and in favor of dirty air and climate change.
EPA Clean Air Hearing next Tuesday! Don’t miss the fun!
The Environmental Protection Agency will listen to citizens during a public comment session next Tuesday, July 29 and Wednesday, July 30. The meeting has been moved to the Omni Hotel across from Centennial Olympic Park.
If you want to submit comments electronically (and easily) use this link. Please share this link and share with your friends, family (commenting is a great way to teach children and grandchildren about participating in the democratic process), and neighbors.
Support our road trip to speak up for clean air!
This Tuesday FACE members and supporters 18 children and adults from Swainsboro and Washington County will van-pool together to ask the EPA to adopt the proposed carbon rule for existing sources of pollution. We have raised half of the costs of our gas and parking expenses, but would appreciate your support. We still to need to raise $120 dollars by Tuesday.
Your support in any amount helps FACE continue to work for clean air and water and health families. FACE is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit and donations are tax deductible.
Donation via Paypal
Georgia has 4th highest power rates in the country
An article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Georgia ranks fourth in the country for high energy costs. Electric power rates for Georgia Power customers must be approved by the state’s Public Service Commission. Customers have an opportunity to share their ideas and concerns with the Commission before rates are set. The Commission also approves Power Purchase Agreements for Georgia Southern.
Members of Washington EMC (and the majority of EMCS in our state) are not allowed to comment on power rates before they are set. If co-op member/owners raise objections to the rates they only place to voice those is with the EMC Boar which set the rates. The Public Service Commission has no oversight on our power bills. The Washington EMC Board does not require competitive bids for Power Purchase Contracts even though those contracts can span 15-30 years.
“The Most Costly Thing We Can Do Is Nothing”
Environmental Protection Agency Director Gina McCarthy announced proposed rules to reduce carbon pollution in the United States by 30 percent in 2030, saying, “The most costly thing we can do is nothing.” McCathy pointed out that 1 in 10 children have asthma, and reducing carbon emissions we will improve the health of our nation’s children.
The proposed rules are built on comments sent in from industries, business owners, and thousands of citizens. The rules will require states to “chart their path” to reducing carbon emissioins by 30 percent, based on 2005 emissions. That level is equivalent to eliminating 2/3 of the current car and truck emissions, and is twice the amount of carbon released by coal plants in 2012.
McCarthy went on to note that states can work together, as some are already, or create new partnerships to meet the proposed levels. She said “the plan doesn’t prescribe, it propels a mix and match” design created by the states. She added this plan will allow entrepeneurs and investors more options to be involved in the future of power generation of our country.
McCarthy said, “Our clean energy revolution is already unfolding in front of us.” To those who say energy bills will soar as a result of reigning in carbon emissions, the EPA Director said, “They are wrong. I’ll say it again, they are wrong.”
Electric co-ops were recognized during today’s announcement. McCarthy said that many are already investing in and using renewable energy resources to better serve their customers. McCarthy said “You know who you are.”
Under the proposed rules the average power bill will go down eight percent (8%) by 2030. She said skeptics will use “the sky is falling” in response to the new rules, adding that many will point to the polar vortex as a reason not to act. Jobs will be created across the country in all types of energy production and related fields, jobs that “can’t be shipped overseas,” McCarthy said. “We are making a downpayment on a more efficient energy system.”
The EPA will hold public comment sessions across the country in the coming weeks. There will be a session in Atlanta on July 29. You may comment in writing now. FACE will be making plans and sharing them here and on our Facebook page about how you can attend the July 29 comment session, share your concerns, and help protect the health and pocketbooks of our community from Plant Washington and other carbon polluters.
Local citizens learn more about the risks of Plant Washington
County Commissioners Horace Daniel and Edward Burton joined approximately 75 citizens for a community meeting at New Light Fellowship Church in Warthen hosted by GreenLaw and the Fall-line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE) last week. Greenlaw attorneys MaKara Rumley and Ashten Bailey shared information from national organizations like the American Lung Association, NAACP, and census records to help local citizens understand more about how Plant Washington was proposed for our community, the health impacts of coal, and the alternatives to generating electricity by burning coal. Citizens learned that:
“Plant Washington won’t be good for the health of Washington County families, water and air, or wallets,” said MaKara Rumley, GreenLaw attorney, ”Let’s learn from other states’ mistakes, who got in over their heads with coal plants, rather than make such expensive –and unneeded – mistakes ourselves.”
Local citizens learned that ratepayers in Ohio are going to ask their state Attorney General to investigate the contracts that their community leaders committed them to for power from Prairie State Energy Campus (PSEC). According to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, The building of the coal-fired PSEC saw cost overruns pushing the final price tag to $5Billion, and the cost to produce electricity is 40 to 100 percent higher than on the open market.
“We don’t want to follow in the footsteps of North Dakota, where citizens are paying for a new coal plant that has been built, but has never been able to afford to operate.” FACE Executive Director Katherine Cummings said, “We should be telling our elected officials and EMC board members to avoid a similar financial burden here in Washington County. There are cleaner – and cheaper – options on the table today.”
Last Tuesday, the state Public Service Commission approved a Georgia Power deal to buy electricity from an Oklahoma wind-powered facility. Georgia Power will buy enough electricity generated by wind in Oklahoma to light 50,000 homes in our state, at a price that puts downward pressure on rates.
GreenLaw attorneys said that Plant Washington won’t be good for the health of our families, our water and air, or our wallets. They encouraged everyone there to tell their elected officials and EMC Board members that Plant Washington isn’t good for Washington County. It isn’t too late to Say No to Plant Washington.
|In the News
Sign, send, and share for strong carbon pollution standards
Union of Concerned Scientists issue Power Failure report