, Salem, MA

December 21, 2013

Letter: Footprint plant should be built

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

The current debate about the power plant has had me going back and forth for some time now. It has underlined a number of truisms and led me to a conclusion.

Among the truisms:

Most Americans are not as well prepared to discuss scientific issues as we should be.

The cost of something is only important to those who pay the price.

It is always a good idea to trust knowledgeable people who are also honest people.

The scientific knowledge deficit is a huge part of the problem here. In the absence of knowledge we fall back on beliefs. Either global climate change is happening or it is not. It is either human activity-enhanced or it is not. I tend to believe that climate change is happening, is human-enhanced and is important. This would put me in the “clean energy” camp.

The “downwinders” of Marblehead and Swampscott are concerned about particulates — but they are not particularly concerned about the loss of tax revenue to Salem. This “downwinder” (South Salem) is concerned about both issues.

The economic health of Salem is of crucial importance to me. I know good people who would lose good jobs. I see no way to replace the tax revenue should there be a shutdown. The cost of a clean up for other uses is scary as well. This would put me in the “generate power” camp.

The two state representatives involved are both knowledgeable and honest people sincere in their beliefs. There is a tendency to lean toward what John, who I know better, says. This is somewhat offset by my tendency to look at industry claims with a jaundiced eye. What to do?

The third truism cited above becomes the crucial one. I have the benefit of knowing Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell rather well. I know him to be (a) highly intelligent, (b) an environmentalist very well educated and informed on the scientific aspects of the issue, (c) unafraid of speaking truth to power (in the unintended double entendre).

Thus I came to my conclusion that the Footprint plant should be built ASAP.

Thank you Jeff.

Brendan Walsh