Power plant concern

Published 2:18 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The recent reports on Alabama Power’s Gaston Plant in Wilsonville are not encouraging for environmentalists or for those living and breathing in close proximity to the plant.

In December, a study by the Environmental Integrity Project ranked the plant as the eighth worst source of mercury pollution for U.S. power plants.

This month, the same agency released a report ranking the Gaston Plant No. 2 among coal-fired plants for high levels of arsenic and chromium.

Efforts by Alabama Power to lessen the environmental impact of its Gaston Plant are significant and are well known to readers of this newspaper.

We as a community must recognize our role in the environmental impact of the Gaston Plant. Are we willing to pay the increased cost of more environmentally friendly power generation? Are the efforts by Alabama Power to make Gaston Plant cleaner enough or should officials do more?

Both are difficult but inextricably connected questions.

We urge officials at Alabama Power to make certain they are doing everything possible right now to make operations at the Wilsonville facility less damaging to our environment. And we, as residents of Shelby County, should look at our own energy usage with an eye to its direct impact on why environmentalists are spending so much time talking about the Gaston Plant.