SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 31, 2013

Column: They got their wish ... and now they don’t want it

Way too often, people trying to tackle grand issues have to rely on many disparate elements to come into play, as well as for the stars to align in order to keep hoping and hoping that someday their wish will come true. And then, like spoiled children, when it is about to happen for them, they change their mind.

We all would love to live in a dream world, but we don’t. You would think that removing Salem’s coal/oil fired power plant might seem a dream come true for some who have advocated for nearly 20 years to get this 512-foot-tall smoke belcher replaced, cleaned up and reutilized in a manner compatible with its location, assets and newer allowed uses. But in the alternate universe we continually find ourselves living in these days, that doesn’t seem to be the case. So, what is the hold-up? Someone forgot to include zoning for a Unicorn Park?

I have followed this issue for some time and am writing to address some of the hypocrisy, false statements, acts of omission and just plan tomfoolery on the part of supposedly serious adults.

For instance, newer semantics are now thrown about, like "climate change" instead of the Al Gore-era standby "global warming," because too many were, inconveniently, unable to drink frozen Kool-Aid. In our local case, coal- and oil-powered is now being morphed into the new catch-all, "fossil fuels," so that natural gas can be conveniently included and demonized as an enemy on equal footing with the other two. ...

Solving this problem at the Salem power plant wasn’t beanbag. It all started with a panic over the claimed health issues, then it was soot on the patio, then it was the coal pile, then much less pollution. ...Paying attention and trying to create awareness were some local women. Back in 2000, HealthLink members protested at a PG&E annual meeting being held in Boston. I’m sure the usual cast of characters showed up — Lori, Jane, Lynne, Gail and others, the same individuals involved today. Susan Livingstone and her fancy billboards was yet to come on the scene.

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