Letters to the Editor: Response to Lansing, Gas, and Money

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In his comments to the Weekly about "Lansing, Gas, and Money," Supervisor Ed LaVigne makes three statements to which I am responding.

"If natural gas isn’t the renewable energy that should be used, he said he would like to hear what should be used instead." Natural gas is NOT renewable, at least not for another 350 million years. What should be used are true renewables: more solar energy on the site of the plant and elsewhere, and wind energy throughout the state. These also bear no fuel cost.

"My concern is we’re going too fast and we’re going to hurt too many people along the way and then who’s going to clean up that mess?" No, we are going too slowly. Science shows that the effects of climate change are accelerating because we are not reducing greenhouse gas emissions, like those from the current and proposed operation of the plant, fast enough. The mess we need to clean up is the fossil fuel mess, abandoned ash pits, gas and oil wells, and polluted lakes, streams and air.

“But when you look at the unfairness of this, if the other municipalities really want to have this thing go away, then I would be happy to accept any of their monetary donations to make up for it." Unfairness? For decades, the folks in Lansing got lower taxes while the plant was polluting everybody outside of Lansing who were shouldering the resulting health and climate change costs: carbon dioxide and methane in the air, particulate matter in the air, mercury in the lake. Such costs to everybody, including Lansing residents, will largely continue if the plant is re-fired as he proposes. The only beneficiaries then will be the owners and employees. The latter should recognize that those jobs are dead ends and harmful to their family and friends. There are better paying, healthier jobs available in the renewable energy industry.

Anthony Ingraffea

Professor of Engineering, Cornell University

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