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 4

1.Juanita Williams, 6145 Kimball Avenue here in Waterloo.

I’m the mother of 2 children and I’ve been a nurse living and working in this area since 1992. My particular concerns that I wanted to talk about today are the health impacts of coal fired power plant emissions. I have spent the past months researching this topic and I submitted a paper (that I wrote) to the clerk for all of you to read later, I hope. Many of the things have been talked about.

My research comes from reputable sources like the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC, and the World Health Organization. I really worked hard to make sure that what I researched was from reputable sources (from peer reviewed journals that demonstrated statistically significant results). And it confers with what the environmental lawyer and Pam spoke about earlier so I won’t repeat those things. They are there for you to read but I will note a few of the things that didn’t get talked about yet.

I found in my research that particularly children absorb fine particulate in a deeper way than many others. They’re outside playing on the school playgrounds built near coal-fired power plants and they absorb the particulate into their lung tissue more deeply and they breathe in 50% more air than adults. So they are breathing it in and taking it in more deeply than and are therefore at more risk.

The same thing with women. I learned that women’s arteries are different than men in that they (we) absorb fine particulates into our coronary arteries and that develops atherosclerosis and we’re more at risk for heart attacks and cardiac deaths specifically tied to coal power plant emissions.

That was my study and I studied only journal articles that tied specifically in a statistically significant way the coal fired plant emissions to lung and heart disease. All these coal plants that were studied in my reports….all were meeting or exceeding local and regulatory guidelines for emissions. I know the plant proposed here is supposed to be cleaner and we have learned a little more tonight about what the emissions will really be but we know that there are no 0 emission plants and there will not be, so we will be dealing with some emissions.

And my major concern is about economic benefits. So much has been said about economic benefits and I don’t believe that with the cost of health care even today (and of course it’s going up) that we will really see economic benefits when we weigh the impacts of health concerns (that we are already seeing and will continue to see).

So I really urge you as parents and grandparents to think about the legacy that we will leave to our community for our children and our grandchildren. Do we want to leave a place better than we found it or in worse shape, and I think that’s the core of the decision.