Environmental Group to Meet Monday
Published: November 11, 2006 01:18 am

Special to the Review

East Texas Environmental Concerns Organization sponsored an informational meeting, “Are Coal Plants Clean?” on Oct. 25.

The group listened to speakers at the meeting who said coal plants are not clean enough, as they emit dangerous amounts of pollution that threatens the air and environment of all East Texas residents.

The purpose of the meeting was to raise the consciousness of the community. This is not a partisan issue. Organizers say all people have to breathe and believe the people of Henderson County and all of East Texas what is best for themselves, their children and grandchildren.

“We recognize the need for electricity, and as we learned at the meeting, there is technology available which can use coal for electricity without endangering our health,” said Carolyn Brinkman, ECO’s vice president. “If we can just take a collective deep breath and look at all the options, we will be doing ourselves and future generations a huge favor.”

The group cites several statistics in its argument:

• 17 of 124 coal-fired plants planned in the U.S. propose to use gasification (none in Texas);

• In Texas, power plants emit more pollution than chemical and refining plants combined;

• Texas power plants contribute a full 10 percent of the total mercury admissions in the U.S. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal which can cause neurological damage, particularly in developing fetuses, infants and children.

The group’s goal is to influence the permitting process to reduce the allowable level of pollution from new power plants. ECO has planned a follow-up meeting for Monday, Nov. 13, to be held at the Women’s Building at the East Texas Arboretum, 1601 Patterson Road, in Athens. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Information will be provided about steps each person can take to affect the power plant permit process.

“Your help will make a difference,” Brinkman said. “ ... We need and value your input.”