This is an open letter with a few questions for the Industrial Authority on the proposed biomass incinerator. Simple answers will do, as we have heard enough confusing verbiage by now:
1. Isn’t it correct that annually the proposed biomass incinerator will emit 247 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), 247 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 247 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), 135 tons of particulate matter (PM), 113 tons of PM10, 87 tons of PM2.5, 60 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and 14 tons of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs)?
2. Isn’t it true that the American Lung Association states that pollutants such as NOx, SO2, and PM can have “severe impacts on the health of children, older adults, and people with lung disease”?
3. Isn’t it correct that the “baghouse filtration technology” in connection with the proposed incinerator cannot capture PM10 (particulate matter smaller than 10 microns) much less PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns)?
4. Isn’t it true that the American Cancer Society specifically warns of the dangers of air pollutants like PM10 and PM2.5, as they lead to increases in lung cancer?
5. Isn’t it correct that studies by medical associations throughout the country (e.g. the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians) and “Children’s Health Study” (which included more than 6000 schools!) have shown that exposure to air pollutants, such as those emitted by the proposed biomass incinerator, will result in “increased school absences, asthma exacerbation, and new-onset asthma”?
Unless you are misinformed you will find that the answer to all my questions is: “yes”. The good news is, I have two more questions which can also be answered with “yes”:
6. Isn’t it true that Governor Perdue made energy conservation a priority, so that we reduce our energy consumption by 15% within the next decade?
7. Isn’t it true that Georgia Power states that “insolation values in Georgia are significant enough to support solar energy systems in our state”?
Once you carefully reflect on all of this, you can only come to one conclusion:
The resulting misery and health risks associated with the air pollution of the proposed biomass incinerator makes spending $110 million for the creation of a mere 24 jobs in our region not worth it. This is particularly true when you have alternatives available which can create just as many jobs (solar power, retrofitting for energy conservation, etc.) and will lead us into a sustainable future.
We owe it to our children, neighbors, and friends … and we owe it to ourselves.
Michael G. Noll.