citizens of the Cedar Valley address the proposal for a coal burning power plant
City Council meeting
May 7, 2007
5. Don Shatzer 6515 Newell ST. Waterloo
The proposed annexation of 345 acres of county land for a 750 megawatt coal plant took on a whole new light at the City Programming, Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in April.
Everyone in attendance listened to representatives of Elk Run Energy Associates, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, and other business oriented representatives talk about the economic impact this plant would have on the community.
We also heard the concerns of many citizens about the environmental impacts this plant would have on not only those living near this coal plant, but also the residents of Waterloo and surrounding communities.
When all speakers both for and against this plant were finished, the meeting was closed to any further public comments. At this point it was the responsibility of the commissioners to discuss and vote on their recommendation for or against annexation and rezoning. When the debate shifted to the economic impact with some voicing concerns of the amount of money the city would receive, Mayor Hurley intervened and made the statement “800,000 dollars is a gold mine”.
Mayor Hurley set a precedent by interrupting a closed session decision making process to emphasize what an economic boon this would be for the city. By doing so, he also opened the door for needed public discussion of health and environmental concerns of citizens because as we all know when you enter a gold mine you are taking risks.
The risks associated with this gold mine are many but one example is small particulates. According to the EPA, these are particles one thirtieth the size of a pinhead. How many mothers know that if this plant is built, it will likely emit over one million pounds yearly of these small particles and they, along with their children, and their elderly parents if living in the Cedar Valley could be breathing air that puts them at the same risk as living with a regular smoker?
During my 30 years with John Deere, I had many opportunities. One was working with Tim Hurley, now Mayor Tim Hurley of Waterloo, on a committee to inform “all” employees of their RIGHT TO KNOW about the chemicals they worked with on a daily basis and the health risks associated with these chemicals.
Are you going to focus your decision for annexation on money? Or will you focus your decision based on the fact that “all” citizens have the RIGHT TO KNOW not just the benefits, but also the many hazards associated with this gold mine?
Please delay voting for annexation until the rest of the story is heard. Your decision today may well be the defining moment of your public service career.