Dark clouds billow across the town. The smell of sulphur permeates the air. Eyes begin to water and people begin to sneeze. The cold weather has arrived and in responlse, the many landlords and homeowners across town have turned on the coal-burning furnaces. If the smell hadn’t already warned me that coal season had begun, the sights outside my window would have confirmed it. Yesterday was supposed to be a warm and sunny day. Yet, as I opened my curtains I saw nothing but low, hanging smog. Because we sit up on the hill, I could see the bright blue sky above these clouds. But, the people down in the center of town wouldn’t be able to see the blue. For the rest of winter, it will be gray in our city.

For many of you who regularly read the mabBlab, your skies are going to be grayer in the future as well. Texas is planning 18 new power plants over the next 4 years to meet increasing energy demands. They have chosen to build these plants to be coal-burning. Four of these plants are in McClennan county. Seven of them surround Waco. I’m sure that the news and the papers are full of articles on these plants and the controversy that surrounds them, so I won’t reiterate that. Let me tell you instead what you will have to look forward to if these plants are built: air pollution, smog, a terrible stink (worse than a paper mill), terrible effects on the environment, and a definite drop in your quality of life. Sure, your city won’t be completely covered over like mine is, unless you live right next to one of these plants. (Or if you’re surrounded by seven of them.) These plants will affect the entire state in ways you won’t see: sulpher dioxide, air-borne mercury, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide levels will skyrocket.

Please protect your air! Please speak out against these plants! There are other technologies available that burn coal at a much safer and less-polluting rate, but for various reasons, the government won’t listen. (That’s mostly because there’s about $132,000 in reasons lining the pockets of Rick Perry right now.) They claim that Texas must build these plants quickly and cheaply to meet demands. The wise and prudent move would be to spend a bit more now to build safer, better plants for the future. Your energy needs are not worth the damage these plants would cause.

If you’re not familiar with this battle for your clean air that is going on around you, here are some links that you can follow to learn more. Then, choose to act. Otherwise, you too can expect the smell of sulpher in your gray skies. I’ve selected articles from a variety of local and national sources. If you want to find more, search for “Texas Coal Plants” on any search engine and you’ll find a wide variety of articles to provide any answers you need. Then, act.
Inside my house at this moment I can smell the coal burning outside. I never want to encounter that in Texas. Trust me, neither do you.

Articles:

U.S. Coal Plant Boom Poses Big Questions — Fox News

Critics Blast Texas Plans for New “Dirty” Coal Plants — National Public Radio

Is Coal Golden? — From TIME.com

Guest Column: Coal, Nuclear Not Worth Wattage — From Waco Tribune-Herald

Harmful Effects of Coal Burning — From Wikipedia

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