Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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April 30, 2013

SHADES OF GREEN: Hoosiers are smart enough to have energy options

I’ve been honored to join the executive committee of the Hoosier Sierra Club. Their mission is to: Explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth, practice and promote responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources, and educate humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.

Currently Indiana’s electricity is created primarily from coal. According to the National Mining Association, coal provides 95.2 percent of Indiana’s electricity. One of Sierra Club’s goals is to end our dependence on coal. Why?

Greenenergyhelpfiles.com says, “Statistics alone should tell us all how bad coal is. Producing about 23 percent of the world’s energy needs, coal is now sold cheaply. However, the impact of this fossil fuel on our health and our atmosphere is one dirty, expensive proposition. Coal emits more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and 80 percent more than natural gas. It accounts for 43 percent of global emissions (2.7 billion tons of it every year).”

Scarily they continue, “The two main ingredients of coal are particulate and sulphur dioxide. In addition to causing millions of new cases of respiratory disease every year, it causes 500,000 cases of premature death.”

Maybe we in Goshen can’t see that affect but go to Michigan City or go down in southern Indiana to Rockport, where there is currently a coal-fired power plant, and plans to create a new one, and you hear about sickness.

We as good Goshen News readers/citizens cannot say NIMBY (Not In Your Back Yard)! We are not an anarchy where we can only think about ourselves. We are told in the Bible to think about our neighbors, which also means their air quality!

SourceWatch.org tells us “Leucadia National Corp. is developing plans for a facility that would convert 3 million tons per year of Indiana coal into substitute natural gas (SNG). Leucadia is a New York city-based holding company with subsidiaries in energy, telecommunications, health care services, manufacturing, banking and lending, real estate activities, winery operations, mining and property and casualty reinsurance.”

The state chair of the Hoosier Sierra Club, Steve Francis, says the Leucadia Project is “All risk, no reward. That’s the only way you can describe what Hoosier ratepayers and families across our state currently face from the proposed coal gasification plant and financing scheme in southern Indiana unless our elected leaders act to protect us from this bad deal before the end of the month.”

He goes on to say “A few years ago, Leucadia Corp. — an out-of-state Wall Street stock and hedge fund — decided that it wanted to construct a coal gasification plant in Rockport. Unlike the massive coal-fired power plant that currently operates in Rockport, coal gasification is a virtually untested technology that converts coal into a synthetic natural gas. Essentially, it takes one dirty and expensive fossil fuel and converts it into a dirty and even more expensive fuel.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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