As an Earth Care congregation, we have a Task Force composed of Kathy Poynor, Jim Garrett, and Steve Crane. Our concern about coal and the environment is supported by the Union of Concerned Scientists. This Union notes that coal-fired electric power plants create the fine powdery particles sent into the environment.
The Environmental Protection agency cautions that living near a coal disposal site or using water from domestic wells near unlined wet ash ponds, can increase the risk of health problems. The risks from ash disposal increase when wet surface impoundments are used instead of dry landfills. Some surface wet ash ponds are little more than pits in the earth, totally lacking in protective liners to prevent leaking and leaching, and susceptible to overflow into streams, impacting fish and drinking water.
The Physicians for Social Responsibility work to protect the public from changes in the environment that impact health. Depending on where the coal is mined, coal ash can contain dangerous metals, which if eaten, drunk or inhaled, can cause a variety of acute and chronic health ailments in all ages, decreasing quality of life, increasing stress on families and driving up health care costs for everyone.
Since we are concerned with deceasing the use of coal we are for developing alternative energy sources. We can educate ourselves and about the liabilities and advantages of gas-fired power plants, nuclear options, hydroelectric sources, wind turbines and solar panels for homes, churches and office buildings. Gradually, electric, gas, and solar-powered cars will be an affordable option.
In addition to helping the economy by increasing job options, developing these resources can help decrease health problems as they impact quality of life, financial stress on individuals, and decrease health care costs resulting from coal ash. Coupling education with changes in life style and pressure on changing and developing sensible local, state and federal policies can positively impact the environment.