5/04/2007

Coal Plant Cheerleader

Most of us were not surprised to hear that Great Falls ranked so high in air quality (4th). We are really fortunate to live in such a clean environment with incredible views most days of the year.

Coleen Balzarini, city fiscal officer and eternal optimist, had this to say regarding the possible effect of coal plant pollution: (Tribune)

"Much of the particulate generated by the project, such as coal particles from coal piles and dust kicked up by trucks on the site, will be localized just to the facility."

"Because it's localized, it's possible that our (pollution) ranking wouldn't change at all," Balzarini said.

Why is the city FISCAL officer commenting on the impact of coal pollution on our air quality? She has no expertise in this area. She says that 'much' of the particulate pollution from the coal plant would just be near the facility from trucks coming and going. She has no basis to support her claim regarding the proportion of pollution that will be localized to air around the plant and pollution in the air the rest of us will be breathing. She is just spouting into her cheerleading megaphone with this BS. Here is what the environmental impact statement actually said on pollution:

  • HGS operations would result in long-term minor to moderate degradation of local air quality.
  • Annual mercury emissions from the HGS would be approximately 36.4 lbs. (16.5 kg) initially, constituting a minor incremental contribution to cumulative state, national, and global mercury emissions.
  • Heavy equipment tailpipe emissions and fugitive dust would probably entail short-term, minor to moderate degradation of local air quality during construction of the HGS and wind turbines.

Let's put down the pom poms. Instead of the persuasive cheers coming from city employees, I would like to hear the opinions of the commissioners who are responsible for this speculative coal plant investment. Why are you allowing your fiscal officer to publicly comment on environmental issues? The majority of residents in Great Falls appreciate our clean air and great views. Regardless of whether it changes our air ranking, please explain to the citizens why you are risking Great Falls best assets in exchange for a coal plant.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure they're doing it so the residents can have cheap, cost based power...

Oh. Wait. You mean the resident's can't buy the power from the plant?

free thought said...

Nice to have you back, Hawkeye. I was going to print up some milk cartons pretty soon.

big sky husker said...

She embarrasses herself everytime she opens her mouth. Surprised she doesn't work for the embarrassment that calls itself a newspaper (any of you folks who work on the Trib echo chamber who happen across this... that'd be you).