Don't Want Coal Plant? Tell Council
To the Editors:
For more evidence of coal’s dominance in this area, one need only observe the feculent air, the blackened well water or the medical records of local citizens. Many Oberlin students have met Meigs County Resident Elisa Young. After already surviving a melanoma, she now is battling two pre-cancerous conditions, all of which she attributes to the tremendous pollution in her community. She works intensely and tirelessly against Big Coal, inspiring awe and sympathy among everyone she meets. And yet, she is fighting a losing battle. Five more coal plants are planned to be erected in her county within the coming years. One of the plants is AMP-OH’s — yes the one we are currently signed on to buy 10 MW from.
We should blame industries such as Coal for taking advantage of economically isolated and marginalized regions such as Meigs. But we can only do so hypocritically unless we admit that it is our approval of projects such as AMP OH’s which makes this exploitation possible.
Those who looked away last November must begin to pay attention now.
This coming Tuesday, Feb. 19, Oberlin City Council will deliberate for the last time over the authorization of a 40-year contract with AMP-OH’s proposed coal plant. Alarmingly, it is likely the authorization will be finalized. If it is, Oberlin will only be able to get out of the contract by selling off its share. Selling it will be difficult by the time it’s finally dawned on us that coal is not the most advantageous option. Moreover, this clause is of little comfort to Meigs residents and those who are threatened by the accelerating risks of global warming.
As the authorization deadline draws near, AMP-OH is increasingly indirect with the public. Recently Ohio Citizen Action revealed a half billion dollar increase in the plant’s projected construction costs, which AMP-OH intended to keep under wraps. In the past two years, these costs have increased at a rate of 2 million dollars per day. For an in-depth understanding of the contract’s financial risks, see Scott Balice Strategies’ Review and Quantification of Certain Financial Risks of AMP Generation Station, Feb. 1, 2008 at www.ohiocitizen.com.
THERE IS STILL HOPE TO TURN THIS AROUND!
Last November, the campus and the community demonstrated their opposition to the coal plant by electing Baumann, Ashenhurst, Peterson and Sonner the majority of Council — four men who ran as a ticket and openly opposed the plant. Meanwhile, only one of the three incumbents who supported the plant was re-elected. The community’s stance was made loud and clear.
Baumann should have heard it. He was elected even though he spent all of campaign time in Italy. The last Council meeting he attended before boarding the plane was flooded with community members, every single one in opposition to the plant.
So why he is now leaning in favor of the plant?
I urge all readers to contact Councilman Baumann and insist that we no longer supply our energy at the devastation of Ohio’s communities and the environment. Oberlin has built its legacy upon doing the right thing, even when unpopular. We must continue to do this legacy justice.