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

5. Pam Echeverria, 4213 Cherrywood Drive, Cedar Falls

Good evening,
I have taught in the Waterloo Schools for 32 years in the areas which would be most affected by the proposed LS Power merchant coal plant.

I have witnessed first hand the high incidence of asthma and respiratory problems in the children and families in these neighborhoods. Pollution rates in Black Hawk County are ALREADY 5 times the state average. One in four African American children in our community suffers from asthma or other respiratory illness. And these are just the reported cases.

What is the largest contributor nationally to these illnesses? Particulate matter from coal fired power plants.

And why our minority populations? Because ventures such as these are typically located in areas least cared about and where promoters feel there will be little resistance. This is fact, not conjecture.
How can we look at compounding an already unjust and alarming situation.

Touted are the profits for the Cedar Valley, but have officials investigated, in depth, the devastating long term financial effects coal plants have had on communities throughout the country? At what profit point does the health and safety of our citizens and our environment become expendable? $100, $500 $1,000 dollars.

It¨‚'s disturbing that some elected officials have dismissed thousands of citizens in the Cedar Valley who opposes the merchant coal plant by refusing to engage in dialogue. How can some one represent the community and choose to speak only with those who share their views?

Behind the chairs you (City Council Members) sit in hang the Six Pillars of Character from the nationwide Character Counts initiative. These six pillars are incorporated into every lesson I teach.

Respect:Listen to Others
Responsibility: Think Before you Act
Trustworthiness: Truth, Courage to do the right thing
Caring and Fairness: Don¨‚'t take advantage of others
Citizenship: Make your community better, Stay informed and Protect your Citizens and their Environment

I teach my students that the wealth of a society lies not in dollars, but in the development of its human resources through a commitment to equity and social responsibility. The Pillars and standards of conduct that arise out of these values constitute the ground rules of ethical decision making.

Dialogue comes before endorsement in a democracy. Open public discussion must proceed action.