citizens of the Cedar Valley address the proposal for a coal burning power plant

Waterloo, Iowa

City Council meeting

May 7, 2007

 

 

 

c e d a r v a l l e y s p e a k s

Group 1

2. N. E. Thornsberry, 704 Sheridan Road , Waterloo, Iowa 50701

Yesterday’s Courier has it right, “More coal plant details are needed to make an informed decision.” No other application for annexation to come before any Waterloo council has held the potential for such long-term and devastating consequences for the citizens of Waterloo and the Cedar Valley.

Both the economic promises as advertised by LS Power and the Cedar Valley Alliance and the argument that some other local government will garner the opportunity for economic gain if Waterloo does not act to acquire the land under consideration, are specious and transparent attempts to appeal to the greedier nature of man. The economic gain offered the city by LS Power constitutes a Devil’s bargain for it does not factor in the hidden, long-term, and detrimental costs to the environment and to humans. Coal kills. Other governments will do what they will, but Waterloo must protect its citizens from harm no matter the appeal of economic gain. Is there a non-harmful way to improve economic vitality? Yes. How? By acquiring “green” companies such as the VGM Group, which built its corporate headquarters recently on city land. Turbines generating electricity require large volumes of water to cool them. Waterloo has the water in the form of wastewater. LS Power wants it. So the question arises, is the water, in exchange for the harmful effects of burned coal and a relative paltry amount of economic relief, a benefit rather than a detriment? I think not!

The rush to hold these annexation and zoning hearings, it is stated, is predicated upon a request by the Iowa Utilities Board. That is fiction. The IUB has told me that it has made no such request, nor do they intend to. Do not feel pressured to act in haste. The time for a decision to be made should only be after unknowns have been changed to knowns and only after the benefits versus the detriments have been considered.

When voting, council members have three options: First, the citizens trust city officials to be familiar with all aspects of an issue, including the technical ones. This is especially true concerning this issue. If you are not, abstain on voting until you are. No decision is preferred over an uninformed one. Second, is to approve annexation. However, once done, in this instance, the issue of land use becomes one for the state to make. Justifying a vote to approve, by taking the position that environmental and health issues, which include emission release and water quality, to name but two, are not relevant to annexation and zoning, is to ignore reality. They are as integral to the process as those of flood control, traffic management, and noise levels. Justifying a vote by use of this rationale of non-relevance is to avoid responsibility. Doing so is not leadership. It is abdication wrapped in ignorance, coupled with timidity. The third option is to “just vote no.” That simple vote puts the power plant controversy to rest. No annexation, no power plant.

If you hear my words then you must, in all good conscience, exercise your third option and vote no to annexation. The right of the people to be heard is a hallmark of representative democracy. Do not vote, as tonight’s agenda suggests, to “suspend the rules” if such suspension applies to readings 2 and 3 of this annexation request. New information may come to light between readings, which may cause a change in your position.