Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

August 3, 2013

We hide behind their excuses

There have recently been several articles in the Times-News concerning coal and coal fired energy plants.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (“Manchin: Here are the facts about coal,” July 29 Times-News) and Adrienne Ottaviani of the Maryland Coal Association (“Coal fighting back against Obama proposals,” July 28 Times-News, Page 1A) would guide the conversation to patriot grounds.

That energy independence is our goal. That we should rally around the flag in our support of, wait for it, pollution! They also seemingly condone, “in the name of jobs,” we should ingest a little mercury with our fish fry.

 On the home page of the group Clean Water Action it is reported, “Maryland’s seven coal-fired power plants dump tens of millions of pounds of toxic metals into the state’s waterways each year, according to a report released today by a coalition of environmental and clean water groups.

None are currently required to limit the amounts of arsenic, mercury, lead and selenium they discharge into Maryland’s rivers and streams.”

In response the manager of our local coal-fired power plant, Peter Bajc, doesn’t dispute the findings but as quoted in the Times-News says, “The health and safety of our communities is very important and therefore Warrior Run meets all current environmental regulations.” (“Aes Warrior Run responds to report critical of its operations,” July 28, Page 1A)

Thank you, Mr. Bajc! I’m sure the people who drink the water and eat the fish down stream will sleep better tonight.

 Let’s not kid ourselves. This war is not a war on coal as portrayed by the picture on the front page of the Times-News. This war is with ourselves. It’s not Mr Bajc, Sen. Manchin or Ms. Ottaviani who turn on our light switch or drive our car giving no concern to how it affects the air we breathe or water we drink.

However, we are more than willing to hide behind their obvious self-serving excuses. Our war is with our own instincts that want us to hide our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not us with whom the problem lies.

If we can convince ourselves that somehow they are right, we can absolve ourselves of the damage we cause our children, others and the environment. With the U.S. Congress standing paralyzed protecting the status quo, is it any wonder the president is moving ahead unilaterally through the EPA?

We’re a pathetic lot, allowing modern media to distort the reality of any subject and keep us crazed.  We act like children, pointing our finger at Obama and declaring him the source of our woes. But as has been said before, “he is the only adult in the room,” and we hate him for it. Not because of his policy but because he is calling us out and we can’t stand it.

Sen. Manchin is correct in that coal, “fired the industrial revolution,” and will do so for some time to come. We need not lose current jobs, but there is a new energy revolution in the making.

Without leadership that is willing to move in that direction our current energy jobs will be pushed up against a technological cliff and our future jobs will be lost to the likes of China who’s investments and foresight already far outweigh ours. Solar panel technology is a prime example.

As long as we support, condone and “go along” with people, like those mentioned above, that refuse environmental culpability, push one-sided arguments and succeed in convincing us that living in the past is where we need to be, that is indeed, where we will wind up!

W.C. Ingram II

Cumberland

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