A press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Carmel Public Library gave voice to concerned citizens in opposition to Duke Energy's proposed $2.1 billion coal facility in Knox County, Ind.
The event was organized by Citizens Action Coalition (www.citact.org) and was covered by all of Indy's major media outlets.
Opening statements were made by Dave Menzer, a veteran environmentalist who spoke with confidence to the questioning media panel: "This seems to be a case of Duke shareholders profiting at the expense of Duke rate payers."
Following Menzer, Leslie Webb delivered a speech concerning global warming. Webb is a concerned mother, editor of Green Revolution Indiana (www.greenrevolutionindiana.com) and a trained speaker for The Climate Project (www.theclimateproject.org): "Eight out of 11 proposed coal plants in Texas have been canceled in the last year and 28 states have adopted renewable energy goals. Indiana should do the same."
Debbie Spratt, a concerned mother from Fishers, spoke about health dangers like plumbism (lead poisoning), mercury toxicity, respiratory pathology and distress related to poor air quality. Though the new plant would decrease mercury emissions by 20 percent, it would increase airborne particulate matter by 297 percent and increase airborne lead by 14,555 percent.
Indiana has more carbon emissions per capita than any other state. According to the American Lung Association, research shows that 900 Hoosiers will have shortened lives each year as a result of particulate matter pollution from power plants.
Duke spokeswoman Angelina Protégé, who stated that Duke is the largest investor in wind energy in the state, went on to say, "But the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine."
The Department of Energy estimates that Indiana has enough wind capacity to produce two and a half times more electricity than we currently produce by burning coal. With no fuel costs, wind energy is cheaper per kilowatt hour. Wind would produce zero carbon emissions, the principal cause of global warming, while the proposed coal plant would increase carbon emissions by 785 percent.
Dr. Arjun Makhijani outlines a detailed plan to attain a zero-carbon energy system in his article “A Road Map for U.S. Energy Policy” (www.ieer.org/sdafiles/15-1.pdf).